Title text: On the other hand, physicists like to say physics is to math as sex is to masturbation.
Mathematics is the abstract study of topics encompassing quantity, structure, space, change, and others. Physics is a natural science that involves the study of matter and its motion through space and time, along with related concepts such as energy and force. They do this using mathematics. Chemistry is the science of matter, especially its chemical reactions, but also its composition, structure and properties. That is, they study a subset of physics, using a subset of physics. Biology is the subset of chemistry that is concerned with the study of life and living organisms, including their structure, function, growth, origin, evolution, distribution, and taxonomy. Psychology is the study of mental functions and behaviors, why living things do what they do individually, which makes it a subset of Biology. Sociology is the study of society, or, the study of groups of people and their interactions, which sounds an awful lot like taking the skills of Psychology and applying them.
People on this scale often look down on members of "less pure" fields. Most of time the accusation is that the "less pure" field is just a small subcategory of the snob's field. This Strip refers to that, but also refers to the fact that the "purist" field, mathematics, is considered to be quite impractical and a little "out there". The physicist is asserting his superiority, but he is outclassed by the mathematician, who isn't aware of this hierarchy.
The title text jokes about mathematicians, the real joy at this real world is just physics.
- Fields arranged by purity
- [An arrow is shown pointing right with the text 'more pure'. Six people are shown representing six scientific fields. They stand on a scale of purity with the left end representing less purity and the right representing more purity. They appear in this order, from left to right: Sociology, Psychology, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics. The mathematician stands much further to the right than any other field.]
- Psychologist: Sociology is just applied Psychology.
- Biologist: Psychology is just applied Biology.
- Chemist: Biology is just applied Chemistry
- Physicist: Which is just applied Physics. It's nice to be on top.
- Mathematician: Oh, hey, I didn't see you guys all the way over there.