Hi, I’m Stephanne1 Taylor! I’m currently finishing my PhD in oceanography side of the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Science at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec. I also hold an MSc and a BSc in physics from the University of Guelph, in Guelph, Ontario.

Science-minded kids can roughly be split into the dinosaur kids and the space kids, and I was definitely a space kid. When I was little, I read every space book I could get my hands on. I tried in vain to teach the boy across the street about the structure of the solar system with rocks and chalk. I grew up within driving distance of the David Dunlap Observatory, and when my parents took me to an open house, all I could do was stare in awe at the telescope in the bright blue rigging, impossibly huge to my small eyes. I loved learning about all the strange things in the deep corners of the universe.

As I grew up, I thought I'd be everything from a journalist to a pilot to a landscape architect, but I kept circling back to science and physics. Physics was a way of making sense of the world that felt profound, and I was drawn to the clarity and concreteness of it. It's not enormously surprising that I eventually got a degree in gravitational physics. But as I was working on my MSc, I realized that while I enjoyed doing abstract work, I wanted to work on something more tangible. I took a year between finishing my MSc and starting my PhD to step away from writing exams and earning grades, and then started a PhD in physical oceanography. I've been studying and researching geophysical fluid dynamics for several years now, and I am nearly finished my thesis. I will still talk about space at the drop of a hat, but my curiosity goes far beyond just physics: the world is vast and fascinating.

I write here primarily about physics, environmental science, Canadian politics, and (occasionally) weird invertebrates.

1. Pronounced just like Stephanie, but spelled with enough added confusion for telemarketers to expect a francophone man to answer the phone.

The Phrase "Eight Crayon Science"

When I was nearly finished my MSc, my Dad handed me a pocket notebook and a package of eight Crayola crayons in the middle of dinner and asked me to explain my thesis work to him. I'd been explaning my thesis to him every few months when he asked, and so I'd refined the spiel substantially, but it's hard to explain abstract physics over the phone. So I found a blank page, thought for a minute, and started drawing. Most of the pictures ended up squished in a corner of the eventually crowded page, and much of it ended up being multicoloured squiggles around a black circle, but the squiggles seemed to clarify it for him. Since then, whenever he asks me to explain something complicated, whether it's about science or not he adds "I've got some crayons waiting for you!" Questions of all sorts require crayons, it seems.