PhD Comics author brings his humorous take on academic life to Purdue

Jorge Cham, creator of the comic strip “Piled Higher and Deeper” (PhD), which has been characterized as the “Dilbert” of academia, will speak at 6 p.m. Friday. Sept. 30, in Fowler Hall of the Stewart Center.

The free event also will include a special screening of The PhD Movie, a new live-action film adaptation of Cham’s comics at 8 p.m.

“Piled Higher and Deeper” takes an amused look at the travails of academia, especially those faced by graduate students on the way to their own PhD.

Cham’s talk “The Power of Procrastination” is built on his experiences creating the comic strip and humorously explores such topics as graduate student anxiety, the guilt associated with procrastination and the idea that sometimes putting off until tomorrow what you could do today turns out to be a good thing.

Cham received his PhD in Mechanical Engineering at Stanford University and was a full-time instructor and researcher at the California Institute of Technology. “Piled Higher and Deeper” has appeared in the Stanford Daily for the past nine years, and in the MIT, Carnegie Mellon University and Caltech newspapers, among others. The comic strip also has been featured in the journal Nature, the Chronicle of Higher Education, IEEE Potentials magazine, Math Horizons magazine and Canada’s the Peer Review magazine and has been linked to by the USA Today, New York Times and Washington Post websites.

Cham’s talk is free and open to the public. The event is sponsored by the Network for Computational Nanotechnology (NCN) at Purdue. NCN has about 70 affiliated students, mostly engineering graduate students, and Cham’s visit is part of a structured professional development program held each semester for them.

“Typical events include meetings with visitors from industry and national labs as well as workshops on skills such as resume writing,” says NCN Technical Director Lynn Zentner, who runs the professional development program. “Events like Jorge Cham's visit give our students an opportunity to relax and have some fun while at the same time gaining some perspective on their time in graduate school. We thought other members of the Purdue community might enjoy hearing Jorge's talk as much as our students would, so we are happy to share this event with the general public.”

The Purdue Graduate Student Government will host a second screening of “The PhD Movie” at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 1, in Loeb Playhouse of the Stewart Center.

For questions contact Lynn Zentner at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..