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Predicting ocean currents

Bertrand Delorme with ocean and sand in background
(Photo courtesy of Bertrand Delorme)

Bertrand Delorme

PhD ‘21
Earth System Science

“Growing up, we would spend a lot of time near the ocean with my family and I always had a very close relationship to it,” said Bertrand Delorme, PhD ’21. “It has been my passion since I was born, and I am so grateful that ocean research is my job today.”

Delorme works as a research scientist at Alphabet’s Tidal, an X division moonshot project that aims to pioneer technologies that can help us understand what is happening underwater. Their mission – to protect the ocean and preserve its ability to support life – aspires to create sustainable food systems and mitigate climate change.

In this effort, Delorme’s role is to understand and predict ocean currents using math and computer science. “The ocean is a big set of equations that I am trying to solve and a huge amount of data that I am trying to analyze,” Delorme said.

In addition to exposing him to much-needed technical skills, Delorme’s pursuit of a PhD in Earth system science provided a meaningful career direction that could have a positive impact on the world, he said. 

“At Stanford, I learned the mathematics and the physics behind everything I was able to witness in the ocean growing up: Why are the waves breaking on our beaches, where do they come from, why is the ocean colder or warmer, why do we have currents going in specific directions?” Delorme said. “I am using all this knowledge and passion in my job on a day-to-day basis.”

This science-to-ocean connection prepared him to conduct cutting-edge research that can potentially impact billions of people.

“While our objectives at Tidal are very audacious, they could have a tremendously positive impact on the world,” Delorme said.

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