Nerd Nite Sept. 14: Super Foods, Super Hero, and more!

Tickets here!

I know you’re excited because


Before you even start licking your lips for your first taste of all that mouth-watering homework and tests, join us in the back room of Half Sour for an evening of nerdery:

Fight Fake (Food) News: Urban Myths and Legends About What You Eat (or Don’t)

by Holly Herrington

Have you noticed that everyone these days is a nutrition expert? It’s easy to get overwhelmed about all the different nutrition information on the internet about what is healthy and what is not. Come hear from a REAL expert about the myths and truths around some of these crazy food trends (celery juice detoxes or microbiome testing) what nutrition hype to believe (eating more plants) and what you can skip (non-GMO water). We will delve into some hot topics in nutrition and answer you most pressing food questions!

Holly Herrington, MS, RD, LDN, CDE is a registered Dietitian, Certified Educator and big time science nerd. I love reading the confusing literature & research about food and nutrition and breaking it down into relatable information. I also love food and talking, so I got a job where I get to talk about food all day.

How to Become the Batman: Origins and Training Secrets of the Dark Knight Detective

by Shyaporn Theerakulstit

In a world of super-powered aliens, ancient magics and mutant menaces, what are mere mortals to do in order to survive? One man has shown us a way – the Batman.

In this lecture, we will explore the training secrets of the Dark Knight Detective to learn how to reach the pinnacles of human achievement; both to better ourselves and stand… in the face of gods and monsters.

Shyaporn Theerakulstit is an actor, writer, YouTuber, cosplayer and general “nerd about town.” He has given talks on Godzilla biology and the technology of Star Trek vs Star Wars at Nerd Nite, TEDx and the Smithsonian Institution. He has written and produced for Dark Horse Comics and is also the host of the science lecture series “Real/Fake Science.” His YouTube channel has over 5 million views (

And more! which we promise won’t be a

Talk on the Topic of Surprises,

not even on the history of the concept of the surprise nor the psychology of surprise, nor the linguistics of the word. There. That should throw them off the track…

AND ALSO Your very own Chicago Nerd Nite will be hosting the bosses of Nerd Nites from other cities* so expect more games, erudite nonsense, and bawdy fooferal than our usual staid, Midwestern who am I kidding this is gonna be AWESOME.

Tickets here!

Can’t wait to see you there!- the Bosses of Chicago Nerd Nite

*Did you know there are a plethora of Nerd Nite cities across the globe? Check out and under “Nerd Nite Cities” click on “map”!

Nerd Nite June 8: Office Hours Are Open!

Some people can never get enough study hall…. and neither can we!



If you’d like to give a talk someday but aren’t sure of every step, Nerd Nite Chicago offers Study Hall to guide your way. Attendance implies no obligation to perform, though we certainly encourage people to sign up for a future speaker slot!

Here’s what you can expect:

  • The always-entertaining “How to Give a Rockin’ Nerd Nite Talk” presentation, including examples
  • Guidance distilling all your maybe-kinda-could-be ideas into specific & awesomesauce presentation topics
  • One-on-one idea development with Nerd Nite bosses & veteran speakers
  • Coaching on coming up with talk titles, enticing talk descriptions, & biographies with personality
  • Best practices for slide content & how to work with a microphone and be heard
  • The opportunity to practice presenting a ‘teaser’ of your proposed talk (including kind yet candid feedback, if requested) on the A/V system at the end of the evening

Snacks & soda will be provided; meals and adult drinks are available at the bar.

Tickets are free, but one-on-one attention is limited. Reserve your spot by getting a ticket! (If you purchased a ticket before this workshop was announced, we’re very happy to offer a refund or bounce your ticket purchase to the August 10th Nerd Nite.)

Join us for a drink or two, and get some one-on-one help crafting top-notch talks on the nerdy topics you just want to tell the world about!

Bring your laptop, notepad, vellum & inkpot, mnemonic memory palace, what-have-you. We’ll provide the friendly setting, the wisdom of our experience, and the tips & tricks that will take your talk from “well, that was interesting” to “holy shit my mind is blown!”

We look forward to seeing you at the Study Hall, and then onstage at a future Nerd Nite!

Nerd Nite Chicago

Nerd Nite After-Hours at the International Museum of Surgical Science

Saturday, April 13th at 7pm


The International Museum of Surgical Science hosts Nerd Nite Chicago in a special after-hours event like never before! We are excited and a little grossed out, and we’re bringing our own bar to toast the academic discussions of

Easter Island, Fecal Transplants, and Historical Graffiti

Our three usual three excellent talks will take place in the hallowed, marble halls of the IMSS, then grab your drink and take a stroll around! No one will be there but us nerds. And everyone will be too drunk to mock you for reading every letter of every plaque!

Tickets are limited by event space, and they’re going fast!

Our outstanding talks:

Warring Theories: How Easter Island Makes Fools of Us All
by Bridget Holcomb

The most remote inhabited place on the planet has been studied by scientists for over a century. There are enormous disagreements over what happened on Easter Island, but the overwhelming amount of evidence is clear: we keep finding new ways to make fools of ourselves.

Bridget Holcomb is a proud representative of Duluth’s Nerd Nite. Her background is in biology and environmental studies, and has had a low-key obsession with Easter Island since she was 12. She is no longer 12.

Fecal transplants: Real science or a load of crap
by Cat Plunkett

The role of gut bacteria in health and disease is a hot topic in current medical research. I’ll take you through the science behind fecal microbial transplants as a treatment for disease. We’ll touch on how they work, the limitations of this treatment and some of the future directions that it may be heading, including how you could turn your poop into cash.

Catherine Plunkett is a Postdoctoral Researcher at Northwestern University. My research focuses on understanding how early life bacterial exposures affect the development of allergic diseases.

Historic Graffiti: Fear, Hope, and Faith in Stone
by Crystal Hollis

If walls could speak what would they say about buildings hundreds of years old? Historic graffiti are the stories of the regular everyday person hidden in plain sight in numerous historic buildings throughout the UK. From monsters to ships to protective signs that ward off evil, these fascinating inscriptions offer a glimpse into the everyday life and world of people from hundreds of years ago.

We can’t wait to hang out with you there! Tickets here!

Surgical humor for Chicagoans

Surgical humor for nerdy Chicagoans

Nerd Nite! Parasitic Plants and Bad-Ass Women


Rafflesia Flower

We did it! Together we survived another polar vortex. (But don’t rest on your warm little laurels; the jet streams are still destabilizing…)

It’s time to celebrate with another night of drinking and learning really interesting things. This time we’re trying something new: two talks bookending a friendly audience competition, because experiments are a great way to play with the world and we have great expectations for your nerdy contributions.

Tickets (only $5!) are available here.


Witchweeds, Corpse Lilies, and the Farmer’s Dodder: The Sordid Lives of Parasitic Plants

Seth Harper leads us through the bizarre world of plants that suck. Literally.

Seth is the Manager of Horticulture at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, with nearly twenty years experience in the plant biz. Though his career has taken him from rainforests to prairies, he has spent an inexplicable amount of brainpower on virtually useless plant-based trivia.



Chicago Dry T-Shirt Contest!

Nerdiest apparel wins. It doesn’t have to be a shirt – wear your chemical structure earrings, shark socks, or official Star Trek cufflinks. Or that Klein bottle hat.

Verily, any article of clothing which puts thy nerdery on display where the audience can see it. That’s right, you have to be wearing it, and you have to show it to the audience. Bring your math puns, your historical shout-outs, your Millennium Falconry. Entrants register a name at the door so we can be ready for you. Winner gets a very special mystery prize! (Psst, it’s a free drink)



The Women Who Fought Rome (And Almost Won)

The Roman Empire lasted in the West for almost a millennium, and over the course of its history, many people from Hannibal to the Huns tried to unseat Rome from the center of the world. So join us for the tale of three such people who all took their shot at the Roman eagle, all women. One used charm, one used brute force, and one played politics with a skill that would have made Machiavelli go pale and clutch nearby furniture for support. Sure, they all lost, but so did most of the men who took on the Empire. Even the ones who won pretty much only succeeded in painting targets on their backs for the next guy. Winning’s not really the point here, is it? They each got closer to pulling it off than the men who ran the Empire would be comfortable admitting, and more importantly for our purposes, they all made for one hell of a story.

Kevin Curran is a Chicago attorney at a non-for-profit agency working with survivors of domestic violence. When not at work, he loves musicals, Star Trek, and RuPaul’s Drag Race, which he is happy to talk to you about at length given the slightest opening. You can find him online writing theater reviews at and comprehensively analyzing Star Trek with his friend Matt at



We have a special event on the horizon. (That’s not a black hole joke)

Saturday, April 13, join us for Nerd Nite After-Hours Party at the International Museum of Surgical Science.

This is limited attendance event, so get your tickets early!

Last Nerd Nite of 2018!

Nerd Nite is an evening of empirical entertainment, back from the dead. Three nerds give short talks… in a bar. History. Science. Linguistics. Japanese astrodendrochronology. Unlike that time at your thesis defense, drinking and good-natured outbursts are encouraged!

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Half Sour at 755 S Clark St, Chicago

Doors at 7pm, Presentations begin at 7:30

Tickets (only $5!) are limited by the awesome, intimate space. Grab yours early!

We have a wonderfully varied mix of topics this month! Join us for a drink (or drinks) as we learn about what happens when your brain freaks out, why your grandmother told you not to leave out potato salad, and how protecting the children from movie influences morphed into mass murder being less scary than a penis.


What Happens in Vagus Does Not Stay in Vagus – Michael Maloney

I’ll be talking about your Vagus Nerve, in public! Does that make you nervous? I hope it does because otherwise it isn’t doing it’s job properly. The Vagus Nerve manages your cardiovascular system and your flight or fight responses, but there is so much more. We’ll be talking about how we find antidepressant medications, voodoo deaths, our reptile mode, and that your gut instincts might be caused by bacteria. So have a drink, take a deep breath and relax as we explore some biology behind our psychology.

Michael is a Therapist and former Research Counselor. He also has a history of anxiety disorders and panic attacks, particularly involving public speaking. Will he have a panic attack at Nerd Nite? He is anxious to find out!

SPOILT! The Science of Food Preservation – Laura Lanford

The CDC recommended avoiding California lettuce last month due to an outbreak of e-coli O157:H7, one of the nastier varieties! There are plenty of nasties that also like to munch on the same foods humans do, and over the years we’ve learned tips and techniques for stockpiling fresh food to eat later while avoiding unpleasant, and sometimes deadly, consequences. Fermentation is one of them, so grab a beer and settle in to learn what, and how, we keep kept food from killing us.

Laura Lanford is a regular Nerd Nite speaker and a fan of experimenting with food preservation. Results have varied.

This Talk is Not Yet Rated – Tom Rammer

The film rating system seems innocuous; just a helpful guide to assess the age-appropriateness of a given movie. As you may guess from this being a whole talk on the topic, the Motion Picture Association of America shapes the breadth of our country’s cinemagraphic art more than you may realize. From the Hayes Code of the 1930s to this month’s controversy over Lars von Trier’s new movie, you’ll learn about the historical arc of the shaping of American movie censorship.

Nerd Nite’s program and A/V coordinator moves to the front of the house for the first time to talk about one of the (many) topics he loves: cinema!

Pirates! Aliens! Death!

Nerd Nite is an evening of empirical entertainment, back from the dead. Three nerds give short talks… in a bar. History. Science. Linguistics. Japanese astrodendrochronology. Unlike that time at your thesis defense, drinking and good-natured outbursts are encouraged!

Saturday, Oct. 27, 2018
Half Sour (755 S Clark St)
Doors at 7pm, Presentations begin at 7:30

Tickets (only $5) are limited by the awesome, intimate space.  Grab yours early!
In honor of Halloween, three veteran nerd nite speakers take the stage this proto-Halloween to set the tone for the coming year of Nerd Nite drinking, friends, and good, old-fashioned weirdness.  Geekiest costume (as judged by audience applause) wins a free drink on us.

Pirates: Scurvy! (Lost & Found & Found (& Found Again)) – Laura Lanford

Do you think pirate talk was all “Avast, ye miserable scallywags!” and “Shiver me timbers!”? Likely you’d also hear mutters along the lines of “Ow, me teeth hurt!” and “Argh, me aching bones!” Life on the sea was more scurvy than it was swagger, in no small part because we kept losing the ubiquitous yet elusive cure for this dreaded vitamin deficiency. From the Cape of Good Hope to Cape Horn, from Greenland to Antarctica, come and hear tell of the convoluted tale of the Scourge of the Seas!
Laura is a veteran Nerd Nite presenter and the co-Boss of Nerd Nite Chicago. She talks a lot about a lot of things, including medical esoterica.

Aliens: Astronomy with Gamma Rays & Gravitational Waves – Michael Kirby

Did you hear the one where a pair of multi-Solar-mass black holes do-si-do’ed into a single, giant object? Well you would have if you had Laser-Interferometry Gravitational-Wave Observatories for ears. When alien life gives us a call, there are at three ways their text messages can now be seen (with telescopes), heard (with distortions of space-time), and even felt (with massive neutrino detectors). Grab a drink and we’ll watch the universe do something it can’t undo.
Kirby is a three four-time Nerd Nite presenter and can often be seen around Chicago smashing atoms and racing bikes. Not necessarily at the same time, but also not mutually exclusive.

Death: The End of the Universe as We Know It – Jason St. John

Starting from the destruction of the Earth (yes, this one is pretty much guaranteed), find out just what science tells us will happen to the Universe (this one that we’re in). Is it complete heat death? Nothing but clumps of iron floating around in space? Or a place you can round off a day with breakfast after doing six impossible things in the morning?
When Jason isn’t nerding out over drinks with friends and strangers, he’s probably revving up a particle accelerator at the lab or falling down a research wormhole… which will mean more excited explanations of obscurata very soon thereafter. (Can we talk about the ancient symbolism of the ouroboros and the punctuated rise in the use of this word in English?…)

Nerd Nite Chicago joins forces with the Lincoln Park Zoo!

This month Nerd Nite is partnering with the Lincoln Park Zoo for Adults Night Out!

To showcase Nerd Nite for this new audience, NN Chicago has lured/coerced/tricked some of our favorite veteran speakers in from New York, Toronto, and Chicago’s own Printer’s Row. Please join us Thursday, July 21st at the Lincoln Park Zoo to see this rockstar lineup!

Note: tickets are required for this event.

Alien Minds: Food for thought or thoughtful food?

cephlapods doing it


Octopus, squid, and cuttlefish are much more than seafood. These short-lived, anti-social, and occasionally cannibalistic invertebrates are making a name for themselves as highly intelligent beings, and we’ve only just scratched the surface of what they can do.

Lauren Shorser is a writer and co-boss of Nerd Nite Toronto. She is also a scuba diver with a deep love of cephalopods. She finds it unsettling to write about herself in the third person.



Anteaters are shady.

How to Cheat at Bikes.

No details about this talk will be available before assembling at the starting line. That would be cheating.

Michael H. Kirby is a scientist who sciences. On the regular.


godzilla warning

The flight ban over Monster Island remains in effect

Godzilla: History, Biology and Behavior of Hyper-Evolved Theropod Kaiju. 

Tsunami, earthquake,hurricane, and typhoon all rolled in one, Godzilla, “King of the Monsters,” has both plagued and benefited humanity for over half a century. By examining the origins and zoology of this force of nature, people and nations will be better equipped to deal with the awesome destructive power of our radioactive visitor from the Cretaceous.

Shyaporn Theerakulstit is an actor, writer, director and D-List YouTuber, where he posts videos about drug addicted Easter bunnies, unemployed Superfriends, and flying kittens. You can see examples of his internet hackery at



Urban Studies Nerd Nite

Dearest Nerds!

We’re pleased as a gaggle of mad scientists with a new time-travel scheme!

Pleased-er, in fact, because we have a impressive line-up of themed “lightning talks” for you this month!

Please welcome a cadre of Urban Studies fellows from U Chicago to talk (quickly!) on a fantastically diverse set of topics about the world we live in.city_by_celinemeisser

This different format consists of two sessions of 3 or 4 ultra-dense, 5- to 8-minute presentations back-to-back. (Don’t worry, you can still ask questions at the end of each session and there will be a break for more beer. )

Though the format has changed, the rest stays the same:

You know the moves, NerdNiters!

Thursday, May 26th at the Bottom Lounge

Doors open at 7pm
First speaker at 8pm
Done and drunk by 11pm.



Sticky Schools for a Sticky Situationold_school_by_avotius

Civil Rights and Chicago’s Hidden History of School Choice

Ever wonder where magnet schools came from? Part of the answer is buried right here in Chicago, where fifty years ago, a collision of civil rights activists, urban planners, and educational theorists launched a cautious experiment with integrated education in a segregated city.

My talk sketches an origin story for Chicago’s magnet schools, one of the nation’s first experiments in choice-based school desegregation.

Nick Kryczka is a lifelong Chicagoan and currently a PhD candidate in history at the University of Chicago. He used to have a real job as a history teacher in the Chicago Public Schools. His time away from gargoyles and quadrangles is spent on the Northwest Side where he raises a family and bugs his neighbors and his alderman with fancy talk about community and democracy.

Not Your Typical Thanksgiving Feast Play

Little Indians Growing Up in the Big City


After two years of “deep hanging out” in a city in middle-of-nowhere Michigan with lots of cool American Indian folks, I learned about education and urban issues from an oft-forgotten angle. By the power of anthropology, this, of course, qualifies me to speak – as an expert – on anything even vaguely Indigenous, educational, or related to cities.

Consequently, I’ll begin this talk with “Things That Smell Strange for 200, Alex!” Yes, Chicago, I mean you. As for the rest? Blah blah identity blah blah cooking blah blah success. Want to learn more? Come and see!

Andrea “Dréa” Jenkins, almost-PhD, is a rising nerd from the planet Anthropology who regularly visits the realms of Education, Public Policy, and Race & Ethnic Studies. In addition to her fine UChicago education, she draws her nerd heritage from hours spent escaping banal reality with the likes of Arthur Conan Doyle, Gene Roddenberry, Anne Bishop, Joss Whedon, and Octavia Butler, boldly geeking out across the universe in a transnational, multicultural theory-mobile of her own making.    

What About Sex Worker as Worker?

Sex Worker as Gentrifier/Sex Worker as Nuisance

Remember when New York’s Times Square and Chicago’s Rush Street were all dirty and seedy and there were grungy adult stores everywhere? Well, I was born in the 80s, so I don’t either. What I do know is that there is this constant debate about whether adult establishments like these are “good” or “bad” and I think that’s the wrong debate we should be having. I talked to a bunch of people, and read a lot of news articles, and looked at a lot of boring (to you) zoning laws to check to see what some of the issues around adult businesses are. Anyway, some people that think burlesque clubs are awesome and cool (i.e., are popular among hipsters and might lead to gentrification) consider strip clubs to be bad and gross, which I think is weird, and maybe a little hypocritical and classist.GML-metal-heels

Come and find out more and ask me a bunch of questions I probably don’t have the answer to!

Theresa Anasti is a PhD Candidate in the field of professional do-gooding (social work), where she is interested broadly in the realm of community organizing and political activism on behalf of marginalized populations. She likes running throughout the city and sometimes has tried to run away from her dissertation but it always manages to catch up with her.

Making Lemonade

The National Council of Negro Women and Black Women’s ActivismAfro-Girl-Vector-psd76844

As recorded so memorably on Beyonce’s lastest work, Black women have taken life’s lemons of sexism, racism and classim and turned it into a delicious intersectional feminism. My work builds on this theme of Black social activism by focusing on the history of the National Council of Negro Women. This Black women’s club was founded in 1935 by famed activist Mary McLeod Bethune as an outcropping of the social and civic groups of the late nineteenth century. The NCNW was founded to harness the organizing power of Black women to gain access to better jobs and to seek social and political equity for African Americans.

My project will allow you to make historical connections to some of the themes Bey sang about in her album Lemonade, and learn a bit about the joy of Black women’s organizing power across the diaspora.

Ashley J. Finigan is a Brooklyn expat currently pursuing her PhD in American History at the University of Chicago, with a focus on African America and women’s history. Along with her scholarly pursuits she is a self-styled TV critic, watching copious hours of TV across all platforms. She also enjoys letter writing and listening to comedy podcasts. Be in touch with new pod cast recommendations!

How to Build a Megalopolis

Mexico City in the Twentieth Cent0dae6136ce356119180122e093d57941ury

A quiet, parochial town at the beginning of the twentieth-century, by the 1980s Mexico City had become the largest city in the world. Mexico City was not developed by urban planners but by migrants, squatters, and corrupt politicians. It became the epitome of urban dynamics gone wrong: poverty, inequality, pollution, crime, and overpopulation.

In this talk I will evaluate Mexico City’s demographic explosion, asking who built the city, who benefitted from its growth, and what does all this tell us about how cities work? Perhaps Mexico City was not a planning disaster but a place that developed in its own way, and, in some crazy way, it worked.

Emilio de Antunano Villarreal’s love affair with cities and architecture began as a child, building Lego houses while living in what was considered at the time—the 1980s—the world’s largest urban disaster: Mexico City. He is now a historian, living in Chicago and trying to make sense of another disaster: his dissertation! He enjoys running along the lake, riding the L-train, and grabbing a beer in one of Chicago’s many fine establishments—even if that requires talking about this dissertation.

The Government Just Wants Our District to Go Crazy!

Numbers and the Development of Community Mental Health in China

In recent years, community health workers across China have received a curious task: to find a certain percent of persons with serious mental illnesses at a given community and to manage them. As part of a new state-run community mental health program, this use of numbers has aroused a lot of controversies, sSoc-Sec-logouch as the critique that it is not scientific and the concern that it may force health workers to fabricate data.

In this talk, I draw on my ongoing fieldwork with program workers and interviews with policymakers, in order to understand why the construction of a community mental health infrastructure hinges upon the assignment, collection, and monitoring of numbers. I argue that the seemingly objective and simple numbers contain within them multiple historically situated values, such as the old idea of socialist central planning and the new aspiration for global science. I also track the numbers’ traveling across urban space, in order to show how these values might unravel in practice. In general, I hope to discuss with you the promises and perils of relying on numbers in social service administration, a phenomenon that we encounter almost everywhere in the world.

Zhiying Ma is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Chicago. So far her life has constantly been in between places: raised in a small town (by the Chinese standard) and then went to big cities; traveling between China and the United States; always studying multiple disciplines (hence perhaps not quite a nerd in any) at school… It’s probably this in-betweenness and out-of-placeness that makes her interested in when and how one counts for something.


August Nerd Nite: Psychopaths, Little House on the Prairie, and Chicago Nerds

August 26th at the Bottom Lounge
Doors open at 7pm
First speaker at 8pm
Done and drunk by 11pm.
We’re obscenely, inappropriately happy to present these talks! Just like Pa here:
Everything You Never Knew About Little House on the Prairie
Wendy McClure
The beloved Little House on the Prairie book series was based on Laura Ingalls Wilder’s real-life family, but what did she leave out along the way? What really happened to Jack, the brindled bulldog? Did Ma and Pa live down the road from serial killers? And were the books all just a bunch of proto-Libertarian propaganda? From 19th-century medical mysteries to weather statistics, I’ll separate fact from fiction like home-churned butter from cream. Disclaimer: may ruin your childhood.
[Wendy McClure is a writer and children’s book editor in Chicago. Her most recent book for grown-ups is The Wilder Life: My Adventures in the Lost World of Little House on the Prairie. (She’ll have a few copies on hand: bring cash or fresh-trapped muskrat hides to trade!)]
Behaving Badly
Michael Maloney
Psychopaths, Sociopaths, Terrorists, Trolls, those people on the opposing political party of which you identify: They are all EVIL and do HORRIBLE things!  Can’t we all just get along?  Well maybe we can’t.  Why do we do not very nice things to each other?  Are some people more evil than others?  Are you evil?  Are you brave enough to explore a presentation about the dark side?  You might enjoy it (the presentation not the dark side, or maybe you’ll enjoy both).
[Michael is probably not a psychopath and you should believe him on that, even though a psychopath would totally lie about that.   He is also a Research Counselor, lover of board games, and frequently seen making a fool of himself.  You should totally believe those things too!]
and finally

Speed Friending with fellow awesome nerds

We are trying something new at this month’s Nerd Nite!  Following the presentations above, we’ll be running a light-hearted “speed friending” event. Think of it as the platonic sibling of speed dating.

This event is optional (we are all free nerds after all!), and it’s a fun way to get to know other people who also love to learn about nerdy things!  This is our first time, so there might be some tweaks at game time, but here’s the plan:

  1. If you would like to participate, sign the registration sheet and pick up name tag on arrival. Please note your participant number on your name tag.
  2. When we announce the event, we’ll direct everyone to the seating formation.
  3. At each switch, we’ll show a bit of friend-related nerdy trivia and suggest a question for discussion.
  4. Each pair will have two minutes to chat, either about the question or whatever other topic you like!
  5. Keep note of the registration numbers (or names) of the people you’d like to hang out with again. After the event please turn them in to a NN boss and later in the week we’ll email participants with the contact information for their ‘friend matches’.

Bring your friends, smart-ass mothers, and favorite librarians!


Nerd Nite: Evidence-Based Entertainment

July Nerd Nite: DIY Plutonium, How To Music, and The Booty (Coconut)

We have another fantastic trio of speakers and an awesomely wide range of topics for Nerd Nite July!
The Facebooks here

Please welcome Darryl Suskin, Nick Gibson, and Seth Harper to the stage!

It's a glowing rod of plutonium.

You know the moves, NiteNerders:
July 1st at the Bottom Lounge
Doors open at 7pm
First speaker at 8pm
Done and drunk by 11pm.

Check out these awesome talks:

DIY Plutonium

Watching the cult classic UHF as a 13-year-old, I found one scene in particular hilarious: making plutonium out of common household items. My interest was rekindled recently by a book about David “The Radioactive Boy Scout” Hahn, who was obsessed with nuclear power, came really close to building a nuclear breeder reactor in his backyard from materials around his neighborhood.

Putting these two things together, I thought I would see if I could theoretically make some plutonium for no good reason other than to see if it’s possible — and then tell you all about how that worked out.

[Darryl Suskin is a food scientist who gets obsessed with different science topics unrelated to his job. Right now his wife is just hoping the NSA hasn’t put him on any sort of watch list based on his internet search history. After his presentation, he will probably spend his time figuring out how to beat rigged carny games. His chili is better than yours and he can beat you at Tetris.]


Are you listening to your amazing collection of songs using crappy headphones and fuzzy MP3s? Or are you old school, still listening to physical media like CDs… or vinyl? Hey Grandpa. Get with the program. In this interactive multi-media buzzword-filled presentation, you’ll find out how your music gets digitized to perfection then, with the unlikely help of an 80’s alt-folk singer, compromised with compression through MP3 encoding. You’ll get the chance to hear the difference between “good” and “bad” compression for yourself, all the way to the very limits of human perception. Plus, I’ll tell you which buttons to push next time you use iTunes to convert a CD.

[Nick Gibson is an actual Sound Guy, although he does not have a ponytail. Yes, he knows what all those knobs do. If you’re not careful, he’ll tell you.]


The botanical world is a realm of beauty, wonder, mystery, and giant coconuts that look like butts. Come learn a thing or two about the weird and sometimes amusing ways plants use fruits to distribute their progeny.

[Seth Harper is a Horticulturist at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, with fifteen years in the plant biz. Though his career has taken him from rainforests to prairies, he has spent an inexplicable amount of brainpower on virtually useless plant-based trivia.]

What? Why would you say this looks like anything but a big, succulent coconut?