One time several years ago, when I was nearly finished my MSc, my parents took me out for dinner. In the middle of it, my Dad, a propos of seemingly nothing, handed me a pocket notebook and a package of eight Crayola crayons and asked me to explain my thesis work to him. I found a blank page, thought for a minute, and tried to put my very abstract thesis into pictures, to moderate success — art is not something I’m talented at, and most of the pictures ended up squished in a corner of the eventually crowded page. It made quite an impression on my Dad, though, whenever my Dad has asked about what I’m working on, he’s made a quip about having a package of crayons waiting for me. Questions require crayons, it seems, and complicated questions require larger packages of crayons.
My parents are both very smart people, but neither of them have much of a formal background in science beyond high school. Science is often communicated in technical language, which is often very discipline-specific and can be very obscure, or through popular media, which frequently obscures or inadvertently misrepresents the findings. However, I believe that having a grasp of solid, evidence based science is becoming increasingly important, regardless of what level or kind of formal education a person has. This blog is my attempt to lay a plank over the gap between the technical language of science and the lay language of people like my parents.
While curiosity by definition knows no bounds, Eight Crayon Science focuses mostly (but not exclusively) on physics, environmental science, the intersection between science and Canadian politics, and weird invertebrates.