Comics about mathematics, science, and the student life.

Clarity

In the first panel, the equation is written in order to make sense. In the second, the expression is given a common denominator, making things unclear.

We teach students to always simplify in mathematics, but the truth is that this can hide the more natural interpretation of results.

Academic Silos

In the first panel, the various academic fields are interconnected. In the second, the connections have been severed between almost all of them, leading to more isolation.

Of course, Science can’t afford to sever the connection with Math, so they’ve made sure to keep the relationship strong.

Average

A student sits in front of a researcher, who says that their research group has no average day. The student can't help but point out that there *is*.

“We’re like the extreme outliers of the academic world!

In a good way, of course.”

Basic Definitions

A physicist tells a biologist that their field is ridiculous in that it can't even properly define "life". The biologist fires back by asking the physicist what time is, and other important open questions.

I love biology. Perhaps in another life I would be working within mathematical biology, since I think there is some important work being done there.

Arithmetic Skills

A teacher works on a problem on the board. They apologize for their bad arithmetic skills, but they turn out to be quite good.

Seriously, teachers are the epitome of self-deprecation.

Arbitrary Memorization

A student asks if they can have an equation sheet for the final exam. The professor says no, and that they must be memorized. The student says that they could just memorize them in the two minutes before the test and the professor replies that this is exactly what they want.

I understand the need to remember some things, but this tends to come from using the equations, not cramming them into your head right before an exam. I’ve literally made sure I can remember the equations before I enter the room, so that I can write them down immediately. Should students be punished if they can’t do this?

Brevity

A student presents a slide on Dirac matrices, which look like 2x2 matrices but are actually 4x4 matrices.

Sometimes it gets so bad that the general public might be fooled into thinking the work we do is easy!

Edge Effects

A student presents the data from their experiment. Someone asks why the data doesn't seem to fit the curve, and the student dismisses the error as "edge effects".

“Edge effects” is one of the quintessential examples of handwaving in physics students.

Academic Grunt

A researcher finishes a calculation at their desk and hands it off to their student assistant to make sure there aren't any mistakes.

I actually like going through calculations, but there’s no doubt that this can definitely be classified as “grunt work”.

Delicate Balance

In the first panel, a student presents their data and comments on how it's almost perfect. In the second, they talk about how even the Big Bang might have contributed some error.

I love how a student’s job in the class is to convince the professor that they got really accurate results while also finding a bunch of sources of error that actually contribute in a significant way.