SOLD OUT: Nerd Nite #9

Nerd Nite #9 is going to be a little different than our previous iterations. Throughout November the U of A’s Undergraduate Research Initiative (URI) is having their first ever Festival of Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities (FURCA). We are helping them cap the month off at Nerd Nite with a showcase of some of their excellent nerds. The URI loves nerds. They’re all about creating a supportive environment for students to hone their nerd skills and to explore whatever they’re passionately nerdy about. That’s a mission we can get behind. So, rather than three presentations we’re having five. Four shorter presentations from the URI students and one typical length one from an individual who is well established in his field. It’ll be different but it’ll be awesome. On with the details!

When: November 28, 2013 (doors @ 7:30p, show @ 8)
Where: The Club (Citadel Theatre, 9828-101A Avenue Edmonton)
[Children 17 & Under Will Not Be Admitted]

Robotic Evolution
Adam Parker

At an ever increasing pace, robotics are being used to improve the quality of our lives. In a short span of time, consumers have progressed from having access to simple machines to owning robots that do our vacuuming and mow our lawns. Having robots help us is all well and good, but what if they could actually make us better? What if robots could improve us by augmenting our bodies? What utility might an extra limb offer? Why not a tail to help with balance? Or how about an accessory to portray emotion? In this presentation we will explore the possibilities of wearable robotics in the near and distant future. Fear not, you will not be assimilated during this presentation.

Bio: Adam received a diploma in Aircraft Maintenance Engineering tech from SAIT then, after approximately 6 month in the field, he decided it wasn’t for him. Lots and lots of nights, forever. His academic idol is Nikola Tesla, and his comic book idol is Iron Man. Put together, electrical engineering seemed to be the ticket. Adam is in his second year at the University of Alberta studying electrical engineering with a focus on nano. He also works with Patrick Pilarski on artificial intelligence and communication for prosthetic limbs. When not studying or working, Adam will likely be be found participating in an 18th century or Viking re-enactment. More nerd cred? He owns a musket.

Following Threads: From China to India (without getting stuck on the knots)
Ann Salmonson

Research grant in hand, days before purchasing my flight to China, and possessed by a fervent love of Qing Dynasty robes and their opulent embroidery; I lose all signs of the master embroiderer I hoped to find. A timely e-mail, a steadfast friend, and the illogical results of a Google search send me off on an adventure of unimaginable scope. From the politics of China’s traditional Han embroidery to spending time teaching sewing to refugee Tibetan Nuns finding solace in India; sidestepping the roadblocks and searching for answers, I continue on to find, among other things, that the Dalai Lama’s Tailor is a really nice guy.

Bio: As well as being a fourth year Human Ecology student, Ann is the cutter and tailor for the University of Alberta’s Drama Department. Her love of textiles and clothing includes perspectives ranging from practical, historical, cultural, social, environmental, economic and technological. Her passion for Chinese textile and embroidery traditions developed over a summer of studying with the MacTaggart Art Collection. Ann is on the board of the University of Alberta’s Fashion Culture Network and a member of the Edmonton Needlecraft Guild. In 2012, she was the recipient of a Timms Theatre Innovation Fund grant to explore CAD pattern drafting, 3D body scanning and the use of avatars in costume and pattern development in a theatre wardrobe setting.

Dinosaurs in our Backyard
Katherine Bramble

Did you know that dinosaurs have been found in Edmonton? Long before we called Edmonton home, Edmonton was home of the Edmontonsaurus. That’s why we call it Edmonton – good thing they didn’t find Bruhathkayosaurus! The Danek Bonebed is found in southern Edmonton and contains the fossils of a herd of edmontosaurs, plus bits and pieces of five other kinds of dinosaurs. The site has seen a considerable amount of research by palaeontologists from the University of Alberta and from around the world. What do we know about this herd of edmontosaurs? How did they die? And, what can we learn from their remains 73 millions years after they perished?

Bio: Katherine Bramble has a thing for dinosaurs; she loves them so much that she moved across the country to study them at the University of Alberta. She is currently finishing the final year of her undergraduate degree in palaeontology. Katherine then plans to move into the masters program and study dinosaurs as a starving grad student at the University of Alberta. This is her second undergraduate degree and she swears she won’t do a third.

Zebrafish are Awesome
Shubham Shan

Zebrafish are tiny minnow fish native to the Himalayan region in India, Pakistan and China. And, they’re awesome. They are an important vertebrate animal model which have been involved in variety of important scientific findings in various fields. Zebrafish are widely used for research in addiction studies, embryology, neurophysiology, electrophysiology, genetics, vision and auditory studies, to name a few. In this presentation, we will look at zebrafish morphology and some exciting results they’re producing.

Bio: Shubham is a full time student at the University of Alberta, currenly doing a B.Sc in Physiology (honors). He enjoys learning new things about the human body and is always amazed by its wonders. His true passion is medical research as he has had accomplished research in Pediatrics (Oncology, Hematology and Gastroenterology) and Neurophysiology. Shubham sits on several boards including the Undergraduate Physiology Students’ Association, Pre-Medical Students’ Association, Golden Key International Honours Society, Canadian Digestive Health Foundation Initiative, Canadian Liver Foundation, and the Heart and Stroke Foundation. When he does have free time (which never happens!), he enjoys an intense game of badminton, watching Modern Family and eating himself into a diabetic coma.

Kim Solez

Kim Solez is a physician techno-geek who reads various organ transplant biopsies under the microscope and sets the standard for how such biopsies are read by other doctors. For the past twenty-two years he has run the international meeting that expands and makes further changes to these global medical classification systems. In 1999 this meeting incorporated poetry for the first time. In 2002 Kim also began organizing separate musical, art, and poetry events celebrating the birthday of iconic Canadian poet, singer, songwriter Leonard Cohen. He met with Leonard over a three-day weekend in November 2005. Leonard described Kim as being “serially surreal.” A robotic dog accompanied him on the visit.

In 2011 Kim began teaching and directing a unique University course on Technology and the Future of Medicine, LABMP 590, which any Nerd Nite audience member could attend. This massively multidisciplinary course involves the best and brightest lecturers and students from all Faculties within the University. The course explores the possibility of a future post-scarcity world of abundance where any experience you want you can have because virtual reality is better than real reality. Kim is convinced that poetry is a universal component of humanness and that poetry is able to accomplish important things in the world which nothing else can.

Kim Solez is Professor of Pathology at the University of Alberta. In 2010 he took a 9-day course at Singularity University teaching about exponential technologic change and the future merger of humans and machines when machines become smarter than we are, the technological Singularity predicted to occur in 2045. He always wanted to be a spy and his interests in the Singularity in music have caused him to be a regular stealth listener to Hot 107, a local radio station catering to the mainstream musical tastes of teens and 20-somethings which assumes that they have no older people or physicians in their audience. He doesn’t know anyone else who listens to Hot 107. He has an official alter ego, David Crippen at the University of Pittsburgh, a totally cool doctor dude who is completely unlike him in every way.

Nerd Nite #8

Nerd Nite is back for our 2013-2014 season in a new [and very sexy] location.  We’re excited to announce that we’ll be taking up residence in The Club (Rice Theatre), at the Citadel!

  • People said, “we want Nerd Nite to be more central,” and we’re giving you more central.
  • People said, “we want LRT access,” and we’re giving you LRT access.
  • People said, “we want a bigger room,” and we’re giving you a bigger room.
  • People said, “we want chandeliers,” and we’re giving you chandeliers.
  • Sadly our venue is no longer under an erotic massage place, but you can’t have it all.
Nerd Nite is a break even affair and in order to move to this lovely new space (cover insurance, rentals, incidentals) we’ve had to make a few changes. The first is that we’ve had to raise the price a little. Previously, after services charges, Nerd Nite Edmonton was $12 (in advance), we’ve had to tack on $3 bringing the total to $15 (after fees) in order to cover costs. We hope it won’t break the bank. The second, we can no long offer a free drink (for a cacophony of reasons) but don’t worry, there will still be drinks for purchase. We are confident that the positives of the new space will out weight the negatives and we appreciate your understanding as we continue to explore the many corners of nerdom.

Same nerdy format:
Three speakers from your community for about 20 minutes each + beer (and other assorted beverages) = Nerd Nite

When: September 12, 2013 (doors @ 7:30p, show @ 8)
Where: The Club  (Citadel Theatre, 9828-101A Avenue Edmonton)
$15 in advance (GET YOUR TICKETS HERE)
$18 at the door
[Children 17 & Under Will Not Be Admitted]

The Heroic Horn – Music, Movies and Looooove
Megan Evans

Throughout its long and sordid history the sound of the french horn has been used in some of the most poignant moments found in music. From its roots in the hunt, its brassy sound can add drama to any sweeping outdoor vista. The sound of the horn can boldly take you where no trumpet could ever dream of!!! The mellow and warm qualities are often used to nostalgically tug at your heartstrings (just think Princess Leia’s theme!). Let’s nerd out with a little chat about the history of the Horn, its famous (and infamous) stars as well as its uses in modern culture today.

Bio: Megan Evans is a French Hornist (Horner? Hornerist?) with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, a position she has held for five years. She doesn’t appreciate jokes about being horny, so don’t even think about it! Megan received a Bachelor and Master’s of Music Performance from McGill University in Montreal where she studied with John Zirbel, principal horn of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra.

What the Fluff are Furries?
Alexi Huskey

Things are about to get fuzzy. This presentation will explore a largely misunderstood and often misrepresented lifestyle. In costume, Alexi will review the origins of furryism, discuss how anthropomorphisms have existed for centuries, and consider what it means today to celebrate being furry. While popular television shows, like CSI, have taken cracks at the fandom by playing off its stereotypes, furry culture is much more deep, involved, and often has remarkably positive effects on local communities. While Furryism often incorporates other sub-cultures, like goths, ravers, anime, and even some hipsters, it is more than a sub-culture; it is often described by the people who live it as a lifestyle. Alexi will open your eyes to the real furry culture in Edmonton and elsewhere and will reveal what it really means for me to be furry.

Bio: Alexi has been a furry for nearly 15 years now. Always represented as a husky, and can often found dressing up in elaborate costumes for his fursuit and attending clubs and parties. When he was a pup he found he always shared an affinity for animals, and often preferred to hang out with his cat or dog as a kid and watch cartoons. Later in life he found himself particularly fond of a specific breed of dog, the Husky. However his introduction into the fandom did not come until much later when one of his friends asked him if he was a furry after noticing he was wearing a collar decoratively. Since then Alexi has remained akin to the husky and the personality traits the breed represents to him, good looking, loyal, independent and playful. For Alexi, the furry fandom represents a way to express his spirituality, maybe cope with species dysphoria, and to find like minded furs to hang out with. He can be found often “fursuiting” around at dog related charity events, and even the Edmonton Zoo. To this day, he’s helped raised over $1,500 for animal rescue shelters and sled dog related rescue shelters.

Encouraging Public Nerdgasms
Trevor Prentice 

What do a 14 metre radius metal hemisphere, a tesla coil, and a moon rock have in common? Aside from the shear awesomeness of their very existence, they are surprisingly excellent tools for sharing one’s love of science. Trevor will discuss some of the best techniques we have at our disposal to stimulate interest in science and why it is so vital that we do so. From electrifying children to flying people to the edge of the Universe, Trevor will discuss a few of the many ways we can inspire minds young and old.

Bio: A capture the flag and urban tag aficionado by night and fun loving physicist by education, Trevor got his start working with science centres running overnight science raves for young children at the Pacific Science Center in Seattle, Washington. In addition to this pastime, Trevor used his time in Seattle to educate himself at the graduate level as a rocket scientist, with a side of entrepreneurship. He returned to Edmonton to run the Margaret Zeidler Star Theatre, largely to fulfill his dream of choreographing 10 watts of raw laser power live to an audience of up to 250 often initially sober minds. After commercializing some hard-core University of Alberta science with TEC Edmonton, Trevor worked as Staff Scientist at TELUS World of Science Edmonton for nearly 2.71 years. He recently rejoined TEC Edmonton to try to better understand the minds and research of the extreme nerds at the U of A and to dare I say, change the world.

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