Nerd Nite #17

What do bees, lasers and dinosaurs have in common? About as much as you’d think — although depending on your allergies, they might all be deadly. But if you want to know the buzz about these topics, and are looking for a roaring good time, then you need to come to the next Nerd Nite! Also, lasers. Be there and be square.

And remember, this is the last Nerd Nite of 2014 — but we’re back in January!

When: Thursday, November 20, 2014 (doors @ 7:30pm, show @ 8pm)
Where: The Club (Citadel Theatre, 9828-101A Avenue Edmonton)
$15 in advance (Tickets available NOW! — WE ARE SOLD OUT!)
$18 at the door
[Children 17 & Under Will Not Be Admitted]

“Apistemology”: On becoming an urban bee geek

Jocelyn Crocker

Apistemology is a made-up but impressive-sounding word that describes how your worldview changes once you learn about Apis mellifera, the European honeybee. In addition to using a plethora of bee puns, this talk will focus on the factors contributing to colony collapse disorder, how urban beekeeping can help bolster bee populations, Edmonton’s recent foray into urban beekeeping, and how you can bee-come an urban beekeeper.

Jocelyn Crocker (BSc, MEd) is an instructor with Biological Sciences at NAIT and one of the founding members of the foundling group, YEG Bees. Before taking a beekeeping certification course in January 2014, Jocelyn knew almost nothing about bees except that she liked to eat their tasty products on toast for breakfast. Now that she is taking part in the City of Edmonton’s urban beekeeping pilot project, Jocelyn regularly gets buzzed in her backyard apiary with her husband, young children, and neighbours.

The Coolest Little Cloud in Town

Lindsay LeBlanc

Lasers were one of those inventions that were initially just a novelty—the scientists that created them weren’t sure they’d ever be useful. In the fifty years since then, this technology has become so common that there are lasers in our supermarkets and computers. Back in the laboratory, we continue to find new uses for lasers: one of the more counterintuitive applications is in making things cold—colder, in fact, than anything else in the universe. Through this laser cooling process, we create clouds of about a million atoms that are only billionths of a degree above absolute zero. At these temperatures, quantum mechanics makes these atoms behave in ways that are a bit unexpected: like people in communities, the atoms find ways to act together that are better for the whole—and ultimately, better for us.

Lindsay grew up in various cities on the Canadian prairies, and first lived in Edmonton a decade ago when she completed her BSc in Engineering Physics. Seduced by the mysteries of quantum mechanics, she pursued her MSc and PhD in Physics at the University of Toronto before moving to Maryland for a few years as a postdoctoral fellow. Throughout her research career, she’s worked with lasers and atoms to study the fundamental behaviours of quantum mechanics, and recently moved back to Edmonton to do more of the same. When she’s not baking large batches of bread or learning to adapt her cycling habits to avoid potholes, Lindsay’s setting up Alberta’s first laser cooling and trapping lab at the University of Alberta’s Department of Physics, which will make Edmonton the coldest city with ultracold atoms.

The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaur Empire

Scott Persons

We mammals live in an evolutionary dark age. A little over 230 million years ago, a group of reptiles known as dinosaurs rose from low on the primordial food chain to achieve global ecological domination. The dinosaur empire reigned for well over one-and-a-half-million centuries, and although their empire fell to a cosmic intervention 65 million years ago, our world has not yet recovered from the dinosaur extinction. Join University of Alberta paleontologist Scott Persons as he explains how we still live our modern lives under strong dinosaur influence and why the likes of Velociraptor and Edmontosaurus explain everything from pink elephants to lawnmowers.

Walter Scott Persons, IV, has a MSc in Evolution and Systematics from the University of Alberta, where he is currently completing his PhD thesis. Scott became a dino-maniac at the age of 21/2. Since then, he has joined fossil hunting expeditions to Mongolia’s Gobi Desert, the volcanic ash beds of Liaoning China, Africa’s Olduvai Gorge, throughout the American West and, of course, to Alberta’s badlands. Scott’s research focuses on understanding dinosaur locomotion and dinosaur adaptive arms races between herbivores and carnivores. He is also the lead curator of the new “Discovering Dinosaurs” exhibition at Edmonton’s Bay Enterprise Square.


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2014-2015 SEASON

Thur. Sept. 18 (Club)
Wed. Oct 22 (Zeidler)
Thur. Nov 20 (Club)
Wed. Jan 21 (Club)
Mon. March 16 (Club)
Mon. April 27 (Club)
Tentative - Fri. May 15 (Club)
Tentative - Mon. June 29 (Club)