Nerd Nite #28: Nerds in a new lair


Nerd Nite Edmonton is back for another season, and we need you to help us break in a new roster of speakers, and our new location. This year, Nerd Nite will be hosted at the Needle Vinyl Tavern. Stories will be shared, beer will flow, and learning will happening. You won’t want to miss our star-studded kick-off to the fifth season!

Be there AND be square!

When: Wednesday, September 21, 2016 (show @ 8pm)
Where: The Needle Vinyl Tavern (10524 Jasper Avenue)
$20 in advance — >>TICKETS ON SALE NOW!<<
$25 at the door (depending on advance sales)
[Must be 18 years or older)

Our line-up of speakers includes:

Smart polymers & you: better sensors, stronger muscles, and more effective drugs
Dr. Michael Serpe

Wondering what a polymer is? Want to know how polymers will make us better, smarter, and stronger? The work I’m doing focuses on the development of new polymer-based materials for solving environmental and health-related problems. In my work, my team and I focus on “smart/intelligent” polymers that react in defined ways to changes in their local environment. While there are many uses for such materials, this Nerd Nite talk will highlight smart polymers’ ability to detect species of interest, act as muscles that are pound-for-pound stronger than humans, and deliver therapeutics in a controlled and triggered fashion to improve drug efficacy, and maybe even cure your hangover.

Dr. Michael Serpe is an Associate Professor in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Alberta and the Associate Scientific Director and Theme Lead for the Canadian Networks of Centres of Excellence (NCE) IC-IMPACTS. He is also Chair of the local section of the Chemical Institute of Canada, and a member of the executive committees for the Analytical and Materials Chemistry Divisions of the Chemical Institute of Canada

Culture, body mods, and the stories we inscribe into our flesh
Dr. Katie Biittner

Attend any festival in Edmonton and you may observe that the tattooed often outnumber those who have not modified their bodies. While most are familiar with the reasons why as individuals we get tattoos or piercings, this presentation will examine more broadly how our bodies serve as cultural texts and how anthropologists “read” these texts. Through a cross-cultural examination and using Margo DeMello’s “bodies of inscription” construct, Dr. Katie Biittner will examine the antiquity of tattooing, the connection between body modification and rites of passage, and the influence of popular culture on how we (re)shape our bodies. She’ll also challenge our ideas of what body modification is and what it may look like in the future.

Dr. Katie Biittner is the Anthropology Lab Instructor at MacEwan University. Katie’s passion for archaeology has led her to excavations in Alberta, British Columbia, Ontario, Idaho, and Tanzania. Her current research focuses on the African Stone Age, the origins of our species, and Cultural Heritage in Tanzania. When not corrupting undergrads with the anthropological perspective, Katie can be found wrangling her three year old, tweeting about adventures in 3D printing, rolling dice, ranting about movies and comics (why is there no Squirrel Girl movie yet?), and brainstorming ideas for her next tattoo.

‘Don’t be nervous, but the whole country is watching…’ Confessions of an Olympic Broadcaster
Mark Connolly

What happens when the national broadcaster makes your dreams come true and sends you to the Olympic games? They tell you’ll be a reporter and then 5 days in, assign you to do play by play of tennis — a sport you have a very casual interest in and no expertise. Thus begins my Olympic career which has included rye and cokes in the bobsleigh parking lot in Nagano to celebrate Olympic gold, a private concert with the Tragically Hip, getting tear gassed in Athens, and becoming famous in Sochi because of a tweet about coat hangers. Fresh from Rio, this is the behind the scenes story of the Olympic games.

Mark Connolly is the host of Edmonton AM, CBC’s local radio morning show. He has also been a sports commentator for CBC for the last 20 years. That has given him the chance to broadcast at 9 Olympic Games, summer and winter. It might not be the best job in the world but it’s a living.

The first ever Nerd Nite wedding

When two nerds meet and fall in love, there are many things you can attribute that to: chemistry, biology, pheromones, and maybe even physics. For Nerd Nite Edmonton Alumnerds, Amanda Kelley and Scott Persons, the explanation may not be that simple, nor that scientific.

Regardless of why, we’re so very pleased to help these two lovebirds get married at the first ever Nerd Nite Wedding! This special event will feature two world-renowned dinosaur experts and a talk from the happy couple.

Be there AND be square!

When: Monday, July 25, 2016 (doors @ 7pm, show @ 7:30pm)
Where: The Old Timers Cabin (9430 Scona Road)
$20 in advance (includes fees and GST) — on sale Monday, June 27 at 9:30am
Cash bar (CASH ONLY)
Dress code: Semi-formal; hey, it’s a wedding, after all!
[Children 17 & Under Will Not Be Admitted]

Following the formal program, Nerd Niters will be invited to join nerd bosses Lauren and Adam at the Empress Ale House (just up the road) for drinks, while the happy couple enjoys time with their close friends and family.

Our line-up of speakers includes:

A Romantic World View of Dinosaurs
Phil Currie

The lives of T. rex and Triceratops were more than violent monster-on-monster clashes. Darwinian success means not just survival but the prosperous passing of genes from one generation to the next. Enduring for over 160 million years, dinosaurs evolved a lot of tricks to get the job done. From seductive crests to flamboyant feathers, many of the strangest dinosaur adaptations only make sense through the eyes of a romantic. Professor Philp J. Currie is a world renowned paleontologist, who has spent a lifetime traveling the globe and uncovering the secrets to a softer and sweeter side of dinosaurs. Join him as he shares the stories and the science from expeditions to the frozen mountains of Antarctica, the Flaming Cliffs of Mongolia, and the dragon-filled islands of Komodo..

Dr. Philip J. Currie is a professor at the University of Alberta, where he holds the Canadian Research Chair in Dinosaur Palaeobiology. His primordial love affair began when, as a child, he excavated his first prehistoric beast . . . from a cereal box. Since then, he has written numerous books, dug for dinosaurs on every continent, starred in documentaries, helped to found the Royal Tyrell Museum, discovered new dinosaur species, and had several new species named in his honor. He is also an avid science-fiction fan and likes to measure skeletons and write papers while listening to Rush and ACDC.

Nerds United: courtship ritual and pair bonding in fledgling biologists
Amanda Kelley & Scott Persons

Science Fact: nerding is more fun with company. Although the cold objectivity of Science seems at odds with the emotional vagaries of Love, the two often go hand in hand. Nerd Nite Edmonton ‘alumnerds’ Amanda and Scott are two biologists in love. Together, they consider the science of romance, while recounting their explorations across Canada and beyond, from photographing African wildlife, to wrangling squirrels in the frozen forests of the Yukon, to discovering the horned skull and skeleton of a new dinosaur in the badlands of Alberta. Join the pair as they analyse their own courtship and embark together on their newest adventure.

Beginning their nerdy romance as grad students at the University of Alberta, Amanda and Scott discovered a shared passion for exploring the natural world. Amanda is a behavioural ecologist who is nuts about squirrels, and Scott is a paleontologist studying dinosaur tails. However, as partners in love and science, they find ways to bring their interests together. They’re crazy about their two dogs, and enjoy binging on sci-fi and home-baked pizza.

Stegos in Tutus & Jurassic Murder Victims
Robert Bakker

Clad in boney armour and wilding lance-tipped tails, the stegosaurs have been described as “dino knights”. Join the legendary Dr. Robert Bakker as works to solve a 145 million-year-old murder mystery and pieces together the clues to a titanic showdown between one Stegosaurs and the Jurassic’s apex predator. In the science of “Dinosaur CSI” shed teeth tell the tale of dinosaur dinner parties and scarred bones reveal epic battles won and lost. But this ancient record of death and carnage also exposes surprising signs of parental love.

Dr. Robert T. Bakker easily ranks as one of the most influential paleontologists of the last century. A one man scientific revolution, his theories and research brought on the “Dinosaur Renaissance” and forever morphed our view of dinosaurs from slow-moving swamp-bound reptiles into agile warm-blooded birdy ancestors. Bakker holds a bachelor’s degree from Yale and a PhD from Harvard. Currently, he is the Curator of Paleontology at the Houston Museum of Natural Science. His other notable life accomplishments include: designing dinosaur toys for Tyco, consulting on the film Jurassic Park, and staring in SEGA videogame commercials.

SOLD OUT: Nerd Nite #27: Another season finale

It’s the last Nerd Nite of the 2015/16 season, and we’re wrapping things up in typical Nerd Nite fashion: with amazing speakers, and fine adult beverages. We have three incredible speakers on topics ranging from opening a crowd-funded restaurant, to urogynecological health, and even building a satellite right here in Edmonton.

So put on your beer goggles and get ready to engage your brain before we take a break for the summer!

Be there AND be square!

When: Wednesday, April 13, 2016 (doors @ 7:30pm, show @ 8pm)
Where: The Club at the Citadel Theatre (9828 101A Avenue)
$20 in advance (includes fees and GST) — on sale Monday, March 28 at 9:30am
$25 at the door (depending on advance sales)
$15 peanut gallery seating (released on Monday, April 11, and only available in person or by phone)
[Children 17 & Under Will Not Be Admitted]

Our line-up of speakers includes:

Thinking outside the box: Advances in developing and measuring strength/relaxation in the levator ani
Julia-lin Ding

This presentation will focus on pelvic anatomy and assessing your pelvic floor health. New data (and opinion!) on emerging pelvic floor strengthening technologies will be discussed with the hope that Nerd Nite participants will be empowered to “squeeze and relax” themselves into better pelvic health. All participants are encouraged to come prepared to get their blood flowing.

Julia-lin Ding is a Nurse Practitioner in women’s health.  She rostered as a Nurse Practitioner in 2009, finished her Master’s in Nursing with a specialization in Aging in 2011, and did the Nurse Continence Advisor certification through McMaster University in 2013. Her four children and husband have repeatedly asked her to refrain from discussing clinic findings around the dinner table, so she is always excited to share what she’s learned with new audiences.

Racing for Space: AlbertaSat, the Ex-Alta 1 Satellite and the Birth of Alberta’s Space Industry
Chris Robson

The space industry affects us daily through satellite services, economic growth or technological/scientific development and yet it’s something we don’t think about often. Why would you? After all, space is far away, it’s the realm of Star Trek, NASA and a handful of billion dollar corporations who can afford to put up satellites. However, the space industry is rapidly growing, changing and expanding to all corners of the world, including the last place you would expect, Alberta. Join me tonight, as I show you the dawn of Alberta’s space industry. During this presentation, I will introduce you to AlbertaSat (a student group at the University of Alberta), we will discuss the need for space in Alberta, I will introduce you to Alberta’s first satellite launching this July, the Experimental Albertan #1 (Ex-Alta 1) Satellite (and it’s juicy, totally nerdy technical details). Finally, I will give you a glimpse of the future of space in Alberta and the world.

Chris Robson is a 5th year Mechanical Engineering Co-Op student at the University of Alberta, was the Project Manager of the Ex-Alta 1 Satellite project (designed and created by the AlbertaSat Student Group) for two years and is currently the Mechanical Lead for the Ex-Alta 1 Satellite. Chris enjoys boating in BC, fishing for salmon, throwing around the word swanky, anything related to space and rum (or cider, or beer, or… etc). Chris’s future plans include Graduate studies in Mechanical Engineering with a focus on spacecraft technology and creating a space industry start-up company for Earth observation from a CubeSat platform.

Your Kickstarter was Funded, Now What? The Chartier Story
Darren Cheverie

A Kickstarter campaign was launched in March 2015 with the goal of raising $95,000 to use as a down payment for Beaumont’s first rustic French-Canadian restaurant in the heart of downtown Beaumont, called Chartier. At the end of the 60 day campaign, just over $107,000 was contributed by 600 community members, friends, and family – the most successful restaurant Kickstarter in Canada and the first in Alberta. But that was just the beginning. A lot has happened in just 1 year to ensure that Chartier’s doors opened in March 2016.

After finding each other, falling madly in love, and supporting each other through the early years of their careers, Darren & Sylvia Cheverie moved back to Beaumont for the birth of their daughter. With a growing family, they began to think about how they could contribute to life in Beaumont. With entrepreneurial passion and experience as both a restaurant manager and marketing consultant, Darren & Sylvia embarked on the crazy adventure of opening a restaurant.