There are over 4500 species of cockroaches and at our next Nerd Nite we won’t be discussing any of them. Our presenters will however regale you with amazing tidbits about our planets and the folks who live here. So, escape the cockroaches in your basement and join us for a tantalizing slice of knowledge pie (note: there will be no food) and beer.
When: May 8, 2014 (doors @ 7:30pm, show @ 8pm)
Where: The Club (Citadel Theatre, 9828-101A Avenue Edmonton)
$15 in advance
(Tickets Available Here) SOLD OUT
$18 at the door
[Children 17 & Under Will Not Be Admitted]
Math: Inspiring madness for almost 5000 years
Allow me to introduce you to my good friend, Mathematics. I think you’re really going to like her. Like most people worth knowing, she is quirky, mysterious, seductive, and altogether just not what she seems. Forget the horrifying recurring nightmares you have of fractions and long division and meet the sparkling wonder that has captivated men and women for millennia. But why does she have such a hold on us? Why has she inspired madness, murder and self-mutilation? I’ll throw some deep, philosophical questions at you and I won’t expect you to answer them.
Bio: Samantha Marion has a master’s degree in pure mathematics from the University of Alberta. For two years, she ran the U of A math department’s outreach team, tirelessly advocating math to unsuspecting grade school students. Currently, Sam is a Staff Scientist at the TELUS World of Science in Edmonton where she is constantly pestering her co-workers and visitors with statements like “math is fun!” and “deep down, we’re all mathematicians”. One day, her bosses at the science centre broke down and allowed her to organize a MathFest. It was the greatest day.
Life and Death and Death and Death in Virtual Worlds
In February 1962 a starship exploded across the screen of a PDP-1 computer. In that moment, Steve Russel, creator of Spacewar!, became the first person to kill a digital being; today the digital body count is in the billions. Are these deaths meaningless just because they occur in a game? There are millions of players engaged in massive virtual worlds. Many of the players interact socially through in-game characters, often over many years. In the 52 years since Spacewar!, it has become possible to witness the death of our [digital] selves. When the time comes for our characters to pass into the Great Backup in the Cloud, how do we remember and memorialize them?
Bio: Aaron is Technical Team Lead at RED the Agency and an independent game developer. He has been playing video games since Pong and has experienced every kind of digital demise available. He has bartered his love of video games into a career in interactive experiences. He has worked on electronic learning software for NATO Flight Training of Canada, wireless controllers for the original PlayStation, and Raspberry Pi controlled radar guns for Partners in Road Construction Safety. He has a 5-year-old son and two, 3-year-old daughters who he hopes will follow in his nerdy footsteps — but will love even if they end up hockey players. He loves cycling, social media, photographing insects, and the amazing sound of his wife, Carolyn, singing.
How on Earth Did We Get Here: Chemical Thoughts on the Origin of Life
With all of the recent (well-deserved no doubt) hype about the first few moments of the universe, one might think that our understanding is so great that the big questions about life on our planet are pretty well understood. The truth, however, is that what we don’t know much about the origin of life on earth. How did the prebiotic soup made up of tiny molecular building blocks lead to highly organized assemblies of molecules that make up cells, which are enormous in comparison? (Molecules are to bricks what cells are to cities.) I will present the big questions that we still don’t understand about how life on earth began and how the simple molecules present on early earth could have evolved to form the complex machinery of life.
Bio: Juli originally hails from Northern Arizona. After completing a B.A. in chemistry at Arizona State University, she attended Northwestern University for her Ph.D. and postdoc in materials and surface chemistry (where she met fellow Nerd Nite Presenter John Davis). She is currently an assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Alberta working on developing DNA self-replicating systems that shed light on origin of life questions and have potential in disease diagnostics. Her group also uses lasers to study the chemistry of environmental surfaces.