Jorge Cham

Jorge Cham

Cartoonist / Roboticist


PHD Comics

Pasadena, CA USA


As a Ph.D. student, you are given a very open problem that no one in the history of humanity as far as we know has figured out or even thought about...now it’s up to you to do it!

Videos

Videos

By Roadtrip Nation

Jorge Cham

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Jorge Cham HighlightInterview Highlight
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InterviewThe Interview
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Definition Of SuccessWeb Exclusive
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Favorite Thing About This JobWeb Exclusive
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A Search For TruthWeb Exclusive
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Pick One ThingWeb Exclusive
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00:57
My Parents Were ConcernedWeb Exclusive
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01:44
I Don't Have A PlanInterview Excerpt
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Going Against ExpectationsInterview Excerpt
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I Wanted To Be An EngineerInterview Excerpt
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I Hit That Wall Of The EgoInterview Excerpt
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Milestones

Milestones

My road in life took a while to figure out.
Was born and raised in Panama.
Both of his parents were engineers—he grew up seeing first-hand the joy of solving problems and being “on the cutting edge...devoting your life to something new no one has ever done before.”
Attended Georgia Institute of Technology for his undergraduate studies and went on to receive his Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from Stanford University.
He has worked as an instructor and researcher developing neural prosthetics at Caltech, and has also worked on a project developing robotic “cockroaches” that can explore areas humans can’t.
In response to the common anxieties students face going through grad school, he created his popular newspaper and web comic strip, <i>Piled Higher and Deeper (PHD Comics)</i>.
<i>PHD Comics</i> has been adapted into two feature-length films: <i>The PHD Movie</i> and <i>The PHD Movie 2: Still in Grad School</i>; screened at over 500 locations across all seven continents.
He also co-wrote and illustrated—along with physicist Daniel Whiteson—the book <i>We Have No Idea: A Guide to the Unknown Universe</i>.
Says he sees similarities between his scientific/academic work and his creative art—both embody the search for truth and an expansion of knowledge.
Keep following my journey
Education

Education

highschool
High School
undergrad
Bachelor
Mechanical Engineering
Georgia Institute of Technology-Main Campus
graduate
Graduate
Mechanical Engineering
Stanford University
doctorate
Doctorate
Robotics Technology/Technician
Stanford University
Career

Career

Cartoonist / Roboticist

I am a cartoonist & roboticist best known for my popular web comic, Piled Higher and Deeper.

Career Roadmap

Roadmap
My work combines:
My work combines:
Art
Art
Engineering
Engineering
Communicating / Sharing Stories
Communicating / Sharing Stories

Day to Day

I come up with ideas for storylines, draft the comic strip, illustrate it, and publish it online. I also do some writing for other projects that I am working on.

Skills & Qualities Beyond School

You always have to search for the truth in what you do. Be constantly expanding your knowledge base and your perspective.

Advice for Getting Started

Here's the first step for everyone

If you'd like to be a writer, I think it helps to live a life that is not often written about.

Recommended Education

My career is not related to what I studied. I'd recommend this path instead:

undergrad
Bachelor
Art/Art Studies, General
Hurdles

Hurdles

The Noise I Shed

From Peers:

"I thought you were going to be a professor, why would you quit to be a cartoonist?"

Sometimes we pursue things not because we enjoy it, but because we have an idea of ourselves doing it. I had to realize that being a professor was not something I was truly passionate about. If I had to pick a career out of things that make me happy, then making my comic is it.

Challenges I Overcame

First-Generation Immigrant
First-Generation Immigrant

I was born in Panama and my parents were engineers working in the Panama Canal Zone. Coming to the U.S. was a bit of a culture shock.

Learning Issues
Learning Issues

I have always been a procrastinator, but in many instances I have found that to be my motivator and can actually be a good thing.