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Top Rated Math Comics

End of Proof Stickers
February 20, 2013 (4.8/5 - 60 ratings)

• The idea for today's comic is inspired by SOTI's latest comic Little Black Box. Hmm, all those little squares are making me see spots.
• New video posted on the youtube channel: The Pinocchio Paradox
• Also, a very big thanks to Shira for letting me share the two images below of some first order logic blocks she made for a friend for the holidays. There are 18 blocks in total based on a comic I created a year ago: Alphabet Blocks. Super awesome! You can check out her blog (http://buildingfriends.blogspot.ca/) for other projects she's worked on, like Magnetic Tessellating Escher Fish.

Public Perception
September 26, 2012 (4.8/5 - 96 ratings)

A mathematician's dream
August 30, 2012 (4.9/5 - 109 ratings)

Number Theory Exam
August 29, 2012 (4.8/5 - 80 ratings)

See if you can solve Question 3 without using the Intermediate Value Theorem.

Don't worry, you'll learn it later
July 23, 2012 (4.9/5 - 153 ratings)

Tired of adding C?
April 28, 2012 (4.8/5 - 170 ratings)

Warning: You may lose marks depending on the teacher!

April 18, 2012 (4.9/5 - 81 ratings)

I did a google search for "gradients can't curl" and came up with Qiaochu Yuan's comment, so credit to him!

Is math beautiful?
April 12, 2012 (4.8/5 - 68 ratings)

So, is math beautiful?

Lower case xi?
April 9, 2012 (4.8/5 - 154 ratings)

Fun fact: My xi looks exactly the same as my right curly bracket } (and coincidentally, my left curly bracket too!).

BONUS: My first experience with xi: http://img.spikedmath.com/comics/498-xi2.png

The Math Genie
April 4, 2012 (4.9/5 - 78 ratings)

It's your turn now!

1. Name a wish.
2. Describe how the "Math Genie" will grant that wish!

Who ever comes up with the most clever Math Genie wish & response will win an email from Mike saying "Congrats!" (Note: The email may be traded in for one creepy hug instead).

MPF - Morpion Solitaire
March 16, 2012 (4.9/5 - 22 ratings)

You can try the game out in Java by visiting the following links (using the 5T setting, if applicable):
Try the game out on your own and see if you can last for more than 178 moves or even 200 moves! Otherwise, here are some references and hints:

Infinite Graduate Student Theorem
March 8, 2012 (4.9/5 - 97 ratings)

Remark 1.1: This is a play on the "Infinite Monkey Theorem" and the fact that graduate students tend to have trouble finishing their thesis.

[Note that the phrase "almost surely" is mathematically defined.]

(Note: If you can't see the above image then let me know. I changed all the comic images to a new server).

The Awkward Function
March 7, 2012 (4.8/5 - 79 ratings)

Bonus Ending (it might not be clear but the girl is supposed to be initiating the conversation):

P.S. Sorry I missed yesterday's update. I might miss a few more updates in the coming weeks, so to compensate I donated \$100 to the Dept. of Math & Stats (at McMaster U.) for scholarship use. :-)

The Mathematician's Lottery
March 1, 2012 (4.8/5 - 39 ratings)

Nothing original from me today, but a comic based on a well known joke!

For those who haven't learned about the harmonic series yet, this is the summation:

This well known series diverges to infinity and thus, after a finite number of terms will have a sum of 750 trillion.

Problem 1: Determine how many years it will take for the "losers" to get their money back (50 euro). [[Is it 50 euro or 50 euros?]]

Problem 2: Determine how many years it will take for the lottery to pay out in entirety, i.e., 750 trillion!

MPF - Triangles
February 24, 2012 (4.8/5 - 58 ratings)

Today is Math Puzzle Friday (MPF), Yay!

If I ever make an IQ test the following question will be going on it.

Be mathy!

MPF - Hats
February 17, 2012 (4.8/5 - 47 ratings)

Today is Math Puzzle Friday (MPF), Yay! Every Friday I'll describe a riddle, game, logic puzzle, etc., that I find interesting and want to share with you. Some of you will surely have heard of the puzzles discussed and may already know the solutions, but to those who haven't, I hope you find them enjoyable!

Today's puzzle: Try to make sense of the above comic. Why did they all say damn at the same time? What ARE the odds? Why? How? What? Who? When? Where?

Context: Okay fine! I'll provide some context. This is the hats puzzle for three people:

"Three people enter the room, each with a hat on their head. There are two colors of hats: red and blue; they are assigned randomly. Each person can see the hats of the two other people, but they can't see their own hats. Each person can either try to guess the color of their own hat or pass. All three do it simultaneously, so there is no way to base their guesses on the guesses of others. If nobody guesses incorrectly and at least one person guesses correctly, they all share a big prize. Otherwise they all lose.

One more thing: before the contest, the three people have a meeting during which they decide their strategy. What is the best strategy?" (Text source: http://www.relisoft.com/science/hats.html)

Problem 1 (medium):
Solve the hats puzzle for three people (i.e., maximize their chance of winning).

Problem 2 (hard): Solve the hats puzzle for 2^N - 1 people.

Recently, hat problems have become a hot topic in mathematics, ever since it was discovered that Hamming codes can be applied to the puzzle (this is a hint for a possible solution to Problem 2).

Problem 3 (easier): The following puzzle (submitted by Florian) might be more manageable:

"Four dwarfs are buried to the head in sand by some sadistic and cruel man, but he gives them a chance to escape the otherwise inescapable death, if one of them can find out the color of his hat. They are positioned as follows:

A || B C D

Above, A looks towards the wall ||, as do B, C and D. The wall is neither mirrored nor transparent, A sees exactly the wall and nothing else. Each dwarf has a hat on his head, there are 2 white hats and 2 black ones. The dwarfs cannot see their own hats, nor are they allowed to get it down from their head. Speaking, signaling with hands etc is not allowed, and punishable by instant death for everyone.

Assuming that every dwarf thinks logically and every dwarf knows that the others think logically, who would know the color of his hat?"

The Publishing Process
February 15, 2012 (4.8/5 - 46 ratings)

Since Wednesday is miscellaneous update day according to my new schedule, I thought I would provide some (simplified) background information on how the publishing process works in mathematics (in preparation for tomorrow's comic about the topic). Now of course, in the flow chart below I'm referring to big name commercial publishers (e.g., Elsevier, Springer, Wiley, etc). For more information and criticisms regarding commercial publishers and information on the current Elsevier boycott, check out the following:

*Note: The above is quite simplified and doesn't take into account mathematicians working outside of academia (who may also publish), as well as open access journals that don't have the same restrictions and costs (and copyrights quite often stay with the authors).

Game Theory
February 9, 2012 (4.8/5 - 122 ratings)

True story!

Coloring Book
February 6, 2012 (4.8/5 - 45 ratings)

The last problem is known as the Hadwiger-Nelson problem. The chromatic number of the plane is currently an open problem but it is known to be between 4 and 7. For the upper bound, one must (simply) construct a coloring using 7 colors.  Lower bounds are a bit harder to get!

Budding Mathematician
November 22, 2011 (4.8/5 - 123 ratings)

If only this worked on teachers!

(Perhaps this comic should have been about how mathematicians reproduce asexually?)

The top 9.999(repeated) signs you are a mathematician
October 19, 2011 (4.8/5 - 122 ratings)

How to insult a mathematician
October 17, 2011 (4.8/5 - 154 ratings)

ZOMG - it's like 3 comics in one!!!

Okay, not all of them are insults... see if you can come up with any additional ones.

Online Dating
September 30, 2011 (4.8/5 - 154 ratings)

My primary reason for studying maths
September 29, 2011 (4.9/5 - 131 ratings)

Man, it's been almost two weeks since I was called a super genius!! :-(

World of Mathcraft
September 20, 2011 (4.8/5 - 138 ratings)

mathbook
September 9, 2011 (4.8/5 - 138 ratings)

Pay it Forward
September 8, 2011 (4.8/5 - 124 ratings)

Plus C
September 7, 2011 (4.8/5 - 147 ratings)

July 22, 2011 (4.8/5 - 179 ratings)

Edit (July 23, 2011): Thanks Andrew Z for letting me know that I inadvertently took the idea for the above comic from Abstruse Goose (and it was better executed by Mr Goose also!).

Summer Vacation
May 9, 2011 (4.8/5 - 194 ratings)

Freak out your students
April 15, 2011 (4.8/5 - 197 ratings)

The More You Know
March 3, 2011 (4.8/5 - 194 ratings)

Marriage and the Fibonaughty Sexquence
February 10, 2011 (4.8/5 - 192 ratings)

News: Spiked Math now has a Forum! Currently, I'm the only member (and I have two accounts on it), but feel free to join if you get bored easily :P

Magic the Gathering
January 23, 2011 (4.8/5 - 138 ratings)

lolproof
January 19, 2011 (4.8/5 - 142 ratings)

If I submit a paper translated to lolcat do you think it'll get accepted? Hmm...

How Professors Think
December 27, 2010 (4.9/5 - 168 ratings)

Numerical Integration
December 17, 2010 (4.9/5 - 172 ratings)

I thought this was pretty neat:

The source for the text above is by anonymous_28657 from Reddit, who heard it from a Hungarian colleague, who heard it from someone else... It also shows up as a way to annoy your Physics prof (see #14), and the technique is described in this book. If you can afford it, you can get yourself a planimeter to help with your definite integrals.

The life of zero
December 2, 2010 (4.8/5 - 192 ratings)

Teaching Evaluations
December 1, 2010 (4.9/5 - 135 ratings)

For realsy!

Is that a tangent in your pocket
November 29, 2010 (4.8/5 - 150 ratings)

The Joke Book
November 28, 2010 (4.9/5 - 280 ratings)

Rise Against the Machine
October 30, 2010 (4.8/5 - 124 ratings)

Teacher Tricks
September 28, 2010 (4.8/5 - 153 ratings)

The closest I had was a midterm with the answer "C" about 10 times in a row.

It's my advisor, I should say hi
September 13, 2010 (4.9/5 - 196 ratings)

The Date Graph
August 21, 2010 (4.9/5 - 206 ratings)

Friends
August 13, 2010 (4.8/5 - 202 ratings)

Mathematics
August 11, 2010 (4.9/5 - 188 ratings)

The six bridges of Konigsberg
August 10, 2010 (4.8/5 - 149 ratings)

Patch Notes
July 21, 2010 (4.8/5 - 210 ratings)

July 19, 2010 (4.8/5 - 169 ratings)

A big thanks to Jason Dyer (The Number Warrior) for allowing me to use the 'Paradox Day' idea!

The Button
April 30, 2010 (4.8/5 - 95 ratings)

Choosing a major
April 8, 2010 (4.8/5 - 80 ratings)

Q.E.D.
March 31, 2010 (4.8/5 - 66 ratings)

Guide to Acting Like a Math Geek
March 29, 2010 (4.9/5 - 127 ratings)

j
March 25, 2010 (4.8/5 - 62 ratings)

Geeky Revenge
March 24, 2010 (4.8/5 - 68 ratings)

Plotting My Revenge
March 23, 2010 (4.9/5 - 99 ratings)

Mathkind
March 18, 2010 (4.8/5 - 55 ratings)

It's official.

Please, Think of the Kittens!
March 16, 2010 (4.8/5 - 76 ratings)

Memorizing Pi
March 15, 2010 (4.9/5 - 155 ratings)

This is a win for math!
March 1, 2010 (4.9/5 - 59 ratings)

Professor's Nightmare
February 25, 2010 (4.8/5 - 87 ratings)

World Annihilation
February 22, 2010 (4.9/5 - 249 ratings)

Presidential Debate
February 15, 2010 (4.8/5 - 54 ratings)

Meeting Girls
February 6, 2010 (4.9/5 - 88 ratings)

But I don't feel like it!
January 23, 2010 (4.8/5 - 67 ratings)

Hey You
January 22, 2010 (4.8/5 - 68 ratings)

How To Make A Mathematician Angry
January 16, 2010 (4.8/5 - 105 ratings)

Pi For Sale
January 11, 2010 (4.8/5 - 61 ratings)

I Like My Women Like I Like My Math
January 8, 2010 (4.8/5 - 96 ratings)

Imagine if I drew professors having this discussion instead :-O

In other news, Courtney Gibbons, creator of the popular math comic Brown Sharpie, officially kinda quits today :-(

Bus Stop Physicists
January 5, 2010 (4.9/5 - 62 ratings)

Nothing
January 3, 2010 (4.8/5 - 66 ratings)

Goldmine
December 27, 2009 (4.8/5 - 58 ratings)

12 Days of Christmas
December 20, 2009 (4.8/5 - 68 ratings)

Airplane
December 18, 2009 (4.8/5 - 77 ratings)

My Two Girls
December 16, 2009 (4.8/5 - 89 ratings)

My "real" life story...

Summer
December 15, 2009 (4.8/5 - 74 ratings)

x
December 12, 2009 (4.9/5 - 100 ratings)

Right
December 8, 2009 (4.8/5 - 68 ratings)

Not Normal
November 28, 2009 (4.8/5 - 52 ratings)

Happy Mathgiving
November 26, 2009 (4.8/5 - 83 ratings)

Happy (American) Mathgiving!!

In Canada Thanksgiving was on October 12, so this comic is a tad late for them ^_^

How To Email Your Prof
November 23, 2009 (5/5 - 124 ratings)

Don't Try This At Home
November 20, 2009 (4.8/5 - 108 ratings)

Have a good Friday. Some random links for ya:

Date
November 7, 2009 (4.9/5 - 112 ratings)

Happy Halloween
October 31, 2009 (4.9/5 - 132 ratings)

Happy Mathoween!

The IQ Test
October 24, 2009 (4.8/5 - 122 ratings)

The second question is "the odd one out".

New Bike
September 21, 2009 (4.8/5 - 173 ratings)

This one comes from a joke I read that I thought would look great in comic form.
In case you haven't read it before, here it is ^_^:

So You're a Mathematician?
September 19, 2009 (4.8/5 - 159 ratings)

Daydreaming
August 31, 2009 (4.8/5 - 208 ratings)