Nerd Nite 60: Home Edition Vol. 5

Join us and Edmonton Fringe for our 60th Nerd Nite on June 24!

Tickets are offer-what-you-will and available here courtesy of our partners at The Fringe!

The Importance of Capturing Stories

by Helen Scarlett

When we think about how we record human history, we often think of rows and rows of dusty boxes and filing cabinets, sitting in a dark warehouse or basement –  but what we consider academic forms of documentation have an often overlooked but integral counterpart: Oral Histories. Capturing personal stories can offer invaluable insight into the inner thoughts, feelings and connections built around events, places and people. In addition to our traditional archives, our Oral History project has captured more than 300 such stories since 2005 and continues to be a valued resource to our operations.

Helen is a graduate of the University of Alberta (History & Classics) and has been the division archives coordinator and chief archivist for Edmonton Catholic Schools since 2007.  She has a passion for stories, history, historiography and fostering human connection.  In her free time, Helen is a sci-fi and film enthusiast and an avid home cook & baker.

Waste not, want not: valourizing mineral wastes from mines as a resource for critical metal recovery and carbon sequestration

By Sasha Wilson

The finely pulverized mineral wastes (tailings) from some mines naturally react with carbon dioxide in Earth’s atmosphere, trapping and storing this greenhouse gas in newly formed minerals. The reactions that trap carbon dioxide in mine tailings can also be used to concentrate and recover critical metals, such as nickel and cobalt, that are needed for green energy production and storage. This talk will highlight laboratory, synchrotron and field experiments that show how rethinking mine tailings as a resource can help fight climate change. It will also describe field experiments involving moonsuits, bacteria, a 24-megatonne pile of asbestos and a lot of sulphuric acid.

Sasha Wilson is an Associate Professor at the University of Alberta and the Canada Research Chair in Biogeochemistry of Sustainable Resources. Sasha’s research focuses on environmental aspects of economic geology, carbon dioxide removal from the atmosphere, and the behaviour of low temperature minerals in chemical sediments.

Why your hopes are stupid, your dreams are dead and the change you want to make is impossible

By Troy Pavlek

Anyone who has the basest level of political engagement will have, at one point or another, heard a well meaning friend, colleague or public official say those five words: “You should run for office!”. Those well meaning five words which have the intention of congratulating you for being smart, encouraging your drive, and hoping that you can make the world a better place. But what those five little words don’t carry is the incredible investmen in terms of time, finances and internalized emotional trauma that run, which you will definitely lose, will cost you. Join Troy, in the role of trusted Nerd Nite advisor, as he breaks down precisely why your hopes are stupid, your dreams are dead and the change you want to make is impossible.

Troy is a software developer, podcast host and acclaimed Twitter shitposter from Edmonton, Alberta. In 2017 he ran in the Edmonton municipal election as councillor for Ward 11. He finished fifth of six. The effects of his loss are long lasting and include a deeply-instilled bitter cynicism that makes doing even simple, earnest things like writing a Nerd Nite bio without including biting sarcasm nigh impossible. He is a broken person.

Nerd Nite 59 Home Edition: Vol. 4

The days are heating up and the nights are getting longer, but nothing is longer than the wait for the next Nerd Nite.

Coming to your computer on May 27, please join our eminent speakers!

Tickets are offer-what-you-will and available here courtesy of our partners at The Fringe! Follow us on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook for speaker announcements. RSVP on Facebook or manually enter this into your calendar.

The Intense, Intricate, and Intriguing Lives of Ants

by Ilan Domnich

Did you think that people were the dominant animals on Earth? Think again! Ants are virtually everywhere and with many species comes a wide array of remarkable strategies for survival. Join us to learn about some ants with some truly unique abilities. Presentation is arachnophobe-friendly.

Ilan Domnich completed his B.Sc. in Animal Biology, with a specialisation in Invertebrate Zoology. A passionate, young entomologist, Ilan’s enthusiasm for insects is unparalleled. He has volunteered as an invertebrate specialist at the Royal Alberta Museum for the past six years, caring for live animals in the collection and contributing to outreach events. Ilan also has a degree in Finance from the University of Alberta, with a minor in Accounting. In his free time, Ilan works on his art and enjoys exploring the outdoorsX.

Follow Ilan on Instagram: @crude_organism

Our Curvy View of Black Holes

Dr Sharon Morsink

by Dr Sharon Morsink

When light travels through a wine glass, it travels on a curvy path, giving a distorted view of objects behind it. Similarly, gravity causes light to travel on curved paths leading to a phenomenon called gravitational lensing. This effect allows us to view far away galaxies, the back sides of neutron stars, and the regions near black holes! In this talk we will look at recent images of stars and black holes and learn more about their properties.

This talk will be best enjoyed along with stemmed glassware filled with a transparent beverage.

Sharon Morsink is a professor in the Department of Physics at the University of Alberta. Her research focus is on understanding neutron stars and black holes using theoretical computational modelling and observations of light and gravitational radiation.  She teaches a variety of astrophysics and physics courses at the University of Alberta at all levels ranging from introductory astronomy courses to graduate courses. Recently she was a member of a team (including Nerd Boss Ross Lockwood) that developed a free (non-credit) online course on black holes, available on the Coursera platform. Follow Sharon on social:

The Nerdiest Parenting Tool: Dungeons and Dragons 

by Trevor Prentice

Teach your kids probability, math, rules, strategy, accounting, creativity, story telling, drawing, acting, improvisation, and leadership; D&D has it all.  Tune in to Trevor’s presentation to nerd out about D&D, how he first got roped in to playing, more kid friendly versions, and how to best get started playing with your kids. Learn how to be a nerdy parent on social:

By day Trevor runs The IP Link, helping businesses make the most out of their investment into patents.  A certifiable nerd, Trevor has a BSc in Physics, a Masters in Aerospace Engineering, and a Certificate of Innovation and Entrepreneurship.  In his spare time, Trevor sells speed cubes (better Rubik’s cubes) online through Rocket Cubes and sends out a weekly newsletter called The Nerdy Parent with fun strategies for intelligent parents!
Pre-covid he was a capture the flag and urban tag aficionado (and hopes to be again soon).  He is also known for building a neighbourhood ranking web-app called ‘Hood Rank and for running the Margaret Zeidler Star Theatre, fulfilling his dream of choreographing 10 watts of raw laser power, live, to an audience of up to 250 often sober minds.

Nerd Nite 58: Home Edition, Vol. 3

We are so happy to be back, we have nothing snappy to say. We hope you’re glad to be back with us and will tune in to our next event on April 29!

Get your tickets now from!

Tickets are pay-what-you-can.

RSVP to the event on our Facebook page to get event reminders and to show off to your friends that you’re coming.

Workers Of All Worlds Unite!

by Olav Rokne

Science fiction is filled with depictions of standard capitalist employment relationships, but little thought seems to have been given to how workers in the future will assert their rights. Join Olav Rokne as he explores the troubled history of labour unions in science fiction, and makes an argument as to why this history matters.

Weird and Wonderful Museums in Small Town Alberta

by Lianne McTavish

If “World Famous Gopher Hole Museum in Torrington Alberta” doesn’t make you want to get a ticket, I don’t know what else to say.

Did you know Demi Moore had a pottery double in Ghost?

by Lori Fossum

Well, not exactly, but there was a professional potter that made the pieces she pretends to throw on the wheel.  It takes years to learn how to make a tall beautiful vase like the one in that famous scene.  I’ve been making pottery for almost 20 years and in 20 minutes I will break down how to make a mug.  We’ll travel together from raw clay to finished glazed piece.  I’ll explain all the pottery jargon as I go through steps in the making process and in the end you’ll see a finished mug!