School’s back in, and so is Nerd Nite Edmonton! It’s our fourth season, and we wanted to kick things off with three juicy topics, and even juicier presenters. Join us for an evening reunion that will include geeky trivia, weird and possibly exciting prizes, and hopefully none of your Nerd Bosses in a onesie! An evening of politics, ancient foreskin, and chemistry!

Be there AND be square.

When: Thursday, September 17, 2015 (doors @ 7:30pm, show @ 8pm)
Where: The Club (Citadel Theatre, 9828-101A Avenue Edmonton)
$20 in advance, includes fees & GST (Tickets available August 31 at 9:30am)
$25 at the door, includes fees & GST
$15 for balcony tickets (on sale the week prior to the event)

[Children 17 & Under Will Not Be Admitted]

Our line-up includes…

I wanna be like you: Voltroning molecules to build enzyme mimics
Tendai Gadzikwa

Humans have been using enzymes to enable all sorts of reactions for thousands of years. In beer making for example, malt enzymes are used to break down the starch in barley to produce sugars, which are then converted to alcohol. So we like enzymes. They are very good at their jobs of converting molecules, and for a while now, chemists have been trying to steal some of their tricks and apply them to non-biological reactions. In my talk I will discuss why that is, and how we go about doing it. Specifically, I will talk about supramolecular chemistry – this is the Voltron part – and how we use it as a tool to construct enzyme mimics.

Tendai Gadzikwa is currently a visiting researcher in chemistry at the University of Alberta, but she’s in Edmonton mainly to break the record for greatest distance between 2 Nerd Nite talks given by the same speaker. Tendai was born and raised in Harare, Zimbabwe aka The Sunshine City, but, for some reason, decided to study chemistry in the American mid-west (ihavemadeahugemistake.gif). After earning her BA from Macalester College and PhD from Northwestern University, she escaped to Europe for a potdoc postdoc at the University of Amsterdam. Tendai moved back to Harare in 2012, where, until recently, she was a faculty member in chemistry at the University of Zimbabwe. She is also a co-boss for Nerd Nite Harare.

Is Orange really the new Blue? A look at what the heck is going on in Alberta politics in 2015
Dave Cournoyer

For forty-four years, politics in Alberta was dominated by one single conservative party. It was something that we had all become accustomed to and even six months ago it was almost hard to believe it would ever change. But the old system blew up in May 2015 when Albertans elected their first new government since 1971. Now politics in this province have been turned on its head. In my talk I will discuss the events that sparked the monumental shift in the 2015 provincial election, how Alberta politics has changed and how it could impact this year’s federal election.

Dave Cournoyer is a writer and union communications professional based in Edmonton. In his spare time publishes the popular politics blog He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of Alberta and in 2015 was honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Yeggies for his decade of political blogging in Alberta. He lives in northeast Edmonton with his beautiful wife Kyla and their dachshund, Max.

Strange medieval Christian relics
James White

Medieval Europe was full of relics. It was possible to see the arm of an apostle, a piece of the Cross, and the robes of your local saint, all in one day. And in at least twenty churches, you could pay homage to Christ’s foreskin. As a Jewish boy, Jesus was circumcised, and by the twelfth century, relics of his foreskin had appeared across western Europe. Although theologians thought the relics imperiled the coming Resurrection, female mystics revered them, as part of the emotional piety that developed in the late Middle Ages. Catherine of Siena claimed to wear Christ’s foreskin as a wedding ring, and Agnes Blannbekin did something with it too bizarre to post on the web (but I’ll talk about it anyway). Come think more about Jesus’s penis in twenty minutes than you (probably!) have in your entire life.

James White is a doctoral student in medieval history at the University of Alberta. He came to Edmonton in 2012 from the southern U.S. and still can’t get used to snow that doesn’t melt in 48 hours. He decided to focus his research on Christ’s genitalia after a schizophrenic academic past that includes degrees in biology, French, and German; and graduate work in microbiology. When not focusing on school, he reads 19th-century sensation novels and cross stitches while watching 1980s feminist comedies.