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Ph.D. Comics goes to Hollywood

04/25/2011
Priya Sabu

The cinematic adaptation of the popular academic comic strip has started filming.

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Piled Higher and Deeper: The Movie will be coming to a campus near you next fall. Based on the popular Sunday-funnies style newspaper and web comic strip drawn by Jorge Cham, the movie promises a lighter-hearted look at the slings and arrows of graduate student life in academia. Filming began last month at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech).

“I’ve been talking to Hollywood agents for a while,” Cham told The Chronicle of Higher Education. But he instead decided to collaborate on the film project with the theater community at Caltech, where he was once an instructor. Cham and his team hope the film will help to chip away at the erroneous stereotype that scientists and engineers are nothing more than “soulless, one-dimensional caricatures.”

Piled Higher and Deeper: The Movie will be coming to a campus near you next fall. Source: PhD comics

Piled Higher and Deeper, also known as Ph.D. Comics, explores the many sources of frustration and anxiety for graduate students, not the least of which includes procrastination, PI hostility, and the availability of free refreshments at seminars. With a seemingly infinite pool of humorous and ridiculous situations to draw from, it was just a matter a time before this popular comic strip made its way to the big screen.

Cham started the comic in 1997 while pursuing a PhD in mechanical engineering at Stanford University. Ph.D. Comics has appeared in The Stanford Daily for the past nine years, as well as in the MIT, Carnegie Mellon University, and Caltech newspapers, among others. The strip has also been featured in Nature, the Chronicle of Higher Education, IEEE Potentials, Math Horizons, Stanford Magazine, and Canada's The Peer Review among others.

Keywords:  PhD comics movie