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 it’s up to you to do it!


By Roadtrip Nation

Jorge Cham


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, Piled Higher and Deeper (PHD Comics).
PHD Comics has been adapted into two feature-length films: "The PHD Movie" and "The PHD Movie 2: Still in Grad School"; screened at over 500 locations across all seven continents.
He also co-wrote and illustrated—along with physicist Daniel Whiteson—the book "We Have No Idea: A Guide to the Unknown Universe".
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


High School
Mechanical Engineering
Georgia Institute of Technology-Main Campus
Mechanical Engineering
Stanford University
Robotics Technology/Technician
Stanford University


Cartoonist / Roboticist

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

Career Roadmap

My work combines:
My work combines:
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.

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:


The Noise I Shed

From Peers:

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

Challenges I Overcame

First-Generation Immigrant
Learning Issues