Title text: Replace the pendulums with history students and you'll qualify for a grant!
Here the comic lampoons the concept of 'Interdisciplinary Programs' by envisioning an oddball exercise involving both physics majors and psychology students. Strictly speaking, this event could be categorized as an interdisciplinary program, because it is a plan involving students from different disciplines. The study of pendulums is common in physics courses, and the concept of fear arises in psychology, thus the joint effort unifies both subjects. In addition, pendulum-like motion (from objects such as a gold pocketwatch on a chain) is stereotypically used in portals of Psychology as a device for hypnotism.
The image text suggests that replacing the pendulums with history students would guarantee funding of a grant, perhaps because of the increased number of disciplines involved.
This is another theme in xkcd. The ripping of Psychology, History, and English majors is very common in various comics.
- [2 men and 1 woman stand in the foreground, while in the background, a woman stands on a platform and releases a pendulum hanging from the ceiling toward a man who is running away.]
- Cueball: This is an interdisciplinary program in which Physics students try to hit Psychology students with pedulums.
- Megan: Promising!
- Background man: AAAAAAA!
- My professors had an ongoing competition to get the weirdest thing taken seriously under the label "interdisciplinary program."