Calvin and Hobbes Dad explains science

My second most favourite series from Calvin and Hobbes, where Dad teaches Calvin the wonders of science.

How do they know the load limit on bridges Dad? They drive bigger and bigger trucks over the bridge until it breaks. Then they weigh the last truck and rebuild the bridge. Oh. I should've guessed. Dear, if you don't know the answer. Just tell him!

Why does the sky turn red as the sun sets? That's all the oxygen in the atmosphere catching fire. Where does the sun go when it sets? The sun sets in the west. In Arizona actually, near flagstaff. Oh. That's why the rocks there are so red. Don't the people get burned up? No, the sun goes out as it sets. That's why it's dark at night. Doesn't the sun crush the whole state when it lands? Ha ha, of course not. Hold a quarter up. See, the sun's just about the same size. I thought I read that the sun was really big. You can't believe everything you read, I'm afraid. So how does the sun rise in the east if it lands in Arizona each night? Well, time for bed. I hope someday I'm as smart as Dad is. Why, what did he tell you now?

Dad, will you explain the theory of relativity to me? I don't understand why time goes slower at great speed. It's because you keep changing time zones. See, if you fly to California, you gain three hours on a five-hour flight, right? So if you go at the speed of light, you gain MORE time, because it doesn't take as long to get there. Of course, the theory of relativity works only if you're going west. Gee, that's not what Mom said at ALL! She must be totally off her rocker. Well, we men are better at abstract reasoning. Go tell her that.

How do bank machines work, Dad? Well, let's say you wwant 25 dollars. You punch in the amount... and behind the machine, there's a guy with a printing press who makes the money and sticks it out this slot. Sort of like the huy who lives up in our garage and opens the door? Exactly.

Why does ice float? Because it's cold. Ice wants to get warm, so it goes on top of liquids in order to be nearer to the sun. Is that true? Look it up and find out. I should just look stuff up in the first place. You can learn a lot, talking to me.

Wow, honey, you're missing a beautiful sunset out here. I'll count to 10, and then... POW! Dad, how come old photographs are always black and white? Didn't they have color film back then? Sure they did. In fact, those old photographs ARE in color. It's just that the WORLD was black and white then. Really? Yep. The world didn't turn color until sometime in the 1930s, and it was pretty grainy color for a while, too. That's really weird. Well, truth is stranger than fiction. But then why are old PAINTINGS in color?! If the world was black and white, wouldn't artists have painted it that way? Not necessarily. A lot of great artists were insane. But... but how could they have painted in color anyway? Wouldn't their paints have been shades of gray back then? Of course, but they turned colors like everything else did in the '30s. So why didn't old black and white photos turn color too? Because they were color pictures of black and white, remember? The world is a complicated place, Hobbes. Whenever it seems that way, I take a nap in a tree and wait for dinner.

  1. Joe says:


    I always love this strip!

  2. Elizabeth says:

    Dad’s know EVERYTHING. XD

  3. Josh says:

    ha ha – I love this strip. he should return!!

  4. Frankie says:

    Absolutely true! And I remember when you actually carried out the last frame of comic strip #3. Now…let’s go build some crazy snowmen!

  5. domenico says:

    I have always been a fan of this strip…

  6. domenico says:

    Sounds like me explaining stuff to my kids when they were growing up…I don’t know how they got so screwed up…

  7. RaGe says:

    Got the one about black and white photos and the world being black and white?


  8. Nethra says:


  9. […] able to do a lot of cool stuff with this, like statistically improbable phrases and some amusing posts as […]

  10. Blake says:

    You’re missing the one time Dad gets it right. He explains a fact about two points on a record and Calvin is scared out of his mind.

  11. Daren says:

    “Where does wind come from?”

    “Trees sneezing.”

  12. […] Calvin’s father explains science […]

  13. […] the canonical answers from the actual comic here. And then go make up some answers for the current questions at […]

  14. Dave says:

    I’ve got to say, I have based some of my parenting from what I learned in C*H. Unfortunately, I’ve also taught my daughter to question things that don’t seem right. And she does, she definitely does.

  15. Judy H says:

    I just remembered how I found your blog. I Googled “Calvin and Hobbes Bridge Load Limit”, this being my favorite C & H strip, and up popped your site. Lucky me! I pinned the strip to “Pinterest”, my newest favorite website, and that links me (and other folks who follow me on Pinterst) back to your site. Cool. I’m in California, BTW.


  16. Anjali says:

    Ha, brilliant!! My favourite strip of all time.

  17. Paddy says:

    Thanks, I’ve been looking for the B&W world strip for ages, and now not only did I find it here, you’ve collected strips from one of my favorite themes from C&H! Thank you!

    – A dad maybe a bit too much like Calvin’s

  18. Don Wood says:

    All four of my sons grew up with Calvin and Hobbs. That explains everything.

  19. […] je songe à écrire un livre qui se nommera « Etymologie et linguistique pour le papa de Calvin« ) copyright : […]

  20. […] of entertaining myself by warping his mind with made-up answers the way Calvin’s dad does (for examples, see this link), I tried to answer his questions as simply and logically as possible. However, reality is often […]

  21. I had completely forgotten that Calvin’s dad was a total asshole!

  22. […] I think about this, I am reminded of this Calvin and Hobbes strip: I live my life kind of like Calvin’s dad imagines civil engineers determine weight limits: I […]

  23. Samuel says:

    Confession time: when I was younger, I actually believed Calvin’s dad’s story about how the world used to be black-and-white.

  24. […] I like to call this the Calvin’s Dad School of Parenting. […]

  25. […] of explanations on children. Bill Watterson satirizes it with Calvin’s dad, and it’s hilarious. Enjoy. It wouldn’t bother me much, but Liam was not asking very complicated questions. He wanted to […]