Nerd Nite #7: Nerds on the Fringe[site]

Nerd Nite is back in a very special way. For the first time in Edmonton you can attend Nerd Nite for free and it’s an all ages show!

On August 22nd, gates to the ATB Community Patio (see map at end of post) open at 7:30 and the show starts at 8:00. The first 200 people get in (for free)! It’s recommended you get to the Fringe Site early to assure yourself a spot.

This is the description of the event that you’ll find in your Fringe Theatre Adventures program (see below for the line-up):

ATB Financial Community Patio, on the Fringe Site
8:00 pm – 10:15 pm, Thursday, August 22

Nerd Nite at the Fringe . . . a fun night of nerdery, knowledge and drinks. It starts with an introduction to the history of Nerd Nite and is followed by three presenters regaling you with their ‘nerdy knowledge’ on a wide range of topics. Presentations are each 20 minutes long followed by a question period and a 10-minute break to visit and socialize with fellow nerds before delving into the next topic.

Previous Nerd Nites have included presentations from a liquid-nitrogen-wielding quantum physicist, an award-winning opera composer, a forensic anthropologist, a globetrotting luthier and a toy collector, to name but a few. Currently presenting in over 50 cities around the world, Nerd Nite has been featured in illustrious publications like the Penn Gazette, the North Adams Transcript and  In fact, the Nerd Nite motto is: It’s like the Discovery Channel with beer!

Nerd Nite: be there and be square
Presented by Nerd Nite Edmonton

Here’s our line up:

The Northern Lights and Extreme Space Weather
Prof. Ian R. Mann

The largest space storms are triggered by explosions on the sun sending billions of tons of solar plasma hurtling towards the Earth at over 2 million miles per hour! Upon arriving at Earth they can trigger space storms and extreme space weather.  As recently as last July, the Earth was narrowly missed by a solar explosion which could have triggered the most extreme space weather we’ve witnessed in 150 years. Should you be afraid, or perhaps very afraid? Learn more about the dark side of the northern lights with Professor Ian Mann, as he reviews the physics of the Aurora Borealis, and the space storms associated with extreme space weather.

Bio: Prof. Ian R. Mann is a Professor in the Department of Physics at the University of Alberta, and was a Canada Research Chair in Space Physics from 2003-13. He is a Co-Investigator on the five satellite NASA Time History of Events and Macroscale Interactions during Substorms (THEMIS) mission to the northern lights launched in 2007, and is a Co-Investigator on the NASA Van Allen Probes mission to the Earth’s radiation belts launched in 2012. He was selected as one of Canada’s Top-40-under-40 in 2009 by the Globe and Mail and Caldwell Partners International, and currently serves as the United Nations Co-Chair of the international Expert Group on Space Weather, as part of the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) initiative on the long-term sustainability of outer space activities. He is also the Principal Investigator of the CARISMA magnetometer array ( and the real-time aurora alert project.  He is active in public understanding of science on TV, radio and in print, for example co-presenting with Jay Ingram in the Discovery Channel TV feature “Where Space Meets Earth: The Cosmic Shore,” appears regularly on CBC radio such as on CBC Quirks and Quarks and on CBC Radioactive in Edmonton, and his research was recently featured in a Canadian Geographic magazine article on solar maximum.

Supernatural Creatures on Contemporary Television
Kristen Hutchinson

There has been a plethora of supernatural creatures (vampires, werewolves, ghosts, demons, witches, fairies, shape shifters, and zombies) in television series in the last few years. Why is the supernatural such a prevalent topic in contemporary visual culture? Is our current fascination with the supernatural different than it has been in the past? Are these 21st century TV creatures sexier than their predecessors? Get your wooden stakes, pitchforks, and silver ready as we delve into the worlds of popular shows like True BloodTeen WolfSupernaturalHexLost Girl, and The Walking Dead.

Bio: Kristen Hutchinson is an art historian, artist, curator and art consultant. She received her PhD in the History of Art from University College London in 2007. She has taught courses about 21 different topics at universities and colleges in the US, Canada, and the UK. Kristen is the co-founder of fast & dirty, an Edmonton based rotating collective of artists and curators that creates exhibitions and art events for short durations in unusual environments and projects that challenge curatorial methods. She has participated in solo and group exhibitions and has published articles and reviews and given presentations on contemporary art in Canada, the UK and the US. Kristen established kh1 art consulting to help clients buy art for their homes and businesses, offer interior design services, and provide grant writing and exhibition location research for artists. She offers live online independent seminars about the supernatural, contemporary art, film, and television and also teaches weekly visual culture seminars in her Edmonton living room where she bakes delicious treats for each class. Check out her upcoming seminars:

Manufacturing the Miraculous
Ian Pidgeon

How are smart people fooled by a magic trick? Magician Ian Pidgeon will talk about the ways in which the mind can be manipulated to transform ordinary events into miracles. He will break down how, over hundreds of years, magicians have learned to capitalize on the glitches in the human brain in order to fabricate the impossible. Come watch, listen and discover how miracles are made.

Bio: Ian Pidgeon is an accomplished magician with an unusual background. With a degree in comparative religious studies, and a fascination with psychology, social theory, and illusion, Ian is both sceptic and believer. Believing that the mind chooses and creates its own reality, his performances explore the murky space between what is real and what is imagined. He most enjoys things that are both. His unique style is highly engaging, personal, and compelling. His performances are uniquely designed to draw you in, capture your imagination, and share with you a sense of mystery and excitement.

When he’s not performing as a magician, he can be found casting lots at Sense of Serenity. In addition to being a magician, Ian is also a professional tarot card reader. Like his magic, his tarot readings are about exploring myth and meaning in a way that is direct and personal. For further information check his website at


The location of the ATB Community Patio

The location of the ATB Community Patio

Even nerds need vacations

Dearest Edmonton Nerds,

On behalf of Wade and all of the volunteers who help make Nerd Nite Edmonton such a great event, I want to thank you for your support over the last year. When we introduced Nerd Nite to Edmonton in the Fall of 2012, we weren’t certain that it would be a hit. But after we sold out our first event and had to move to a larger venue, we knew we were on to something.

After a total of six Nerd Nites since that first one, Wade and I will be taking a break for the summer to relax and get things organized for a killer 2013/14 season. If you have any questions about Nerd Nite, or want to be a presenter, please email us (e-mail address is over in the right-hand sidebar). We’re always looking for presenters and new ways to make Nerd Nite Edmonton even more successful.

As they say in the song, see you in September!

Adam Rozenhart, Nerd Nite Edmonton Co-Boss.

SOLD OUT: Nerd Nite #6

Watch as our three presenters illuminate you with new knowledge that just mite make you smile. Also, puns. Our last two nights have sold out and Nerd Nite #6 has another fantastic line up. So don’t be left out, grab tickets before they’re gone!

When: May 23, 2013 (doors @ 7:30p, show @ 8)
Where: Haven Social Club – 15120 Stony Plain Road
$10 in advance + service charge (includes a free drink!)
Tickets on sale now!

$15 at the door (includes a free drink!)

#1 – The Walking (Nearly) Dead: Parasite Manipulation of Host Behaviour
Kaylee Byers

Though at times it may be refreshing to have decisions made for us, the ability to choose how we spend our days is something we non-parasitized may take for granted. From fungi, to nematodes, to wasps, some parasitic species have adapted the amazing ability to manipulate their host’s behaviour in a way that goes beyond the horror of any George A. Romero film. Join us while we explore the fascinating world of host-parasite interactions where the microscopic have tremendous influences. We will discuss the diversity of parasites that manipulate not only host behavior but also host appearance; all in an effort to complete their life cycle and start the process all over again.

Bio: Kaylee is currently an MSc student at the University of Alberta where she studies the reproductive morphologies of feather mites. While she specializes in acarology (the study of mites), she is particularly fascinated by the bizarre biology of parasites. In Fall 2013, Kaylee will be commencing a PhD at the University of British Columbia where she will be studying urban rat ectoparasites and their potential to transmit disease ( In her spare time, Kaylee enjoys travelling and acquiring her own parasites, all in the name of Science.

#2 – It’s About Time!
Dean Albrecht

Digital-savvy generations have developed a nostalgic interest in vintage technologies like vinyl records and pinball machines. Similarly, Mechanical wrist and pocket watches have stimulated a new wave of attention. It’s no wonder why, the best Swiss timepieces satisfy on many levels; complex engineering, precise construction, beautiful design, and flawless craftsmanship. Beyond these physical characteristics, the vintage watch answers a primeval need to touch history. With patience and curiosity, one can discover a portal into the past; the people and events that provide context to the physical object. To illustrate, I will present a few pieces from the 1860s to 1950s and share their stories. I promise that your inner nerd will find it fascinating, romantic, and even disturbing.

Bio: Dean Albrecht is a retired cop with too much “time” on his hands. Although an avowed adrenaline junkie, he finds welcome respite in collecting and writing on Swiss watches of the golden age from the mid-19th to 20th centuries. Dean will be returning to Switzerland this spring for his third visit, to literally walk the hills and valleys of watchmaking history.

#3 – Glowing Animals: A Neuroscience Toolkit at the End of the Rainbow
Robert Campbell

Remember when the only animals that glowed were the ones that nature intended to glow? I do. It was the 1980s and the only things that glowed were fireflies, deep sea creatures, and those neon shirts that I loved. Fast forward to 2013 and you can’t swing a red fluorescent cat without hitting some new glowing freak of science. In the last couple years we’ve seen red fluorescent dogs, yellow fluorescent pigs, green fluorescent monkeys, “GloFish”, and don’t even get me started on the genetically altered mice! What the hell happened? The answer to this question starts with a humble jellyfish and ends with current efforts to completely map the activity of the brain. In this presentation I will demonstrate how making fluorescent animals has revolutionized our ability to peer into the inner workings of cells and live animals. Specific emphasis will be placed on how my research at the University of Alberta is enabling scientists to do the previously unthinkable: visualize the activity of every neuron in the brain of a living animal!

Bio: Robert E. Campbell Ph.D. (UBC, 2000) is an associate Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Canada Research Chair at the University of Alberta. He is also a certified nerd that loves all things sciency. From 2000-2003 he had the good fortune to undertake his postdoctoral research in the lab of a soon-to-be-Nobel-prize-winner; an experience that launched Robert’s career as the world’s expert on fluorescent proteins. Today, he and and his minions (13 super-talented graduate students that represent the most concentrated talent pool of protein engineers in the world) are all working hard to create a new generation of fluorescent proteins that will enable the visualization of brain activity in real time.