Nerd Nite Calgary #33 – SOLD OUT

Come join us at the Wild Rose Brewery for our 33rd Nerd Nite in Calgary! Season 4, Episode 6!

When: Thursday, March 15, 2018 (Doors open at 6:30pm)
Where: Wild Rose Brewery
Tickets: $10 online + fees – Sold Out (Wait list enabled)
This is an 18+ event.


Were monks naughty, perverted, or just bored? Reading medieval manuscripts
Dr. Kenna Olsen, Associate Professor, Mount Royal University


From the “penis tree,” to the “flying penis monster,” to lots and lots of bums, medieval manuscripts abound with illustrations that range from the obscene to the obscure. I’ll provide some of the best and least known medieval illustrations, and talk through what they say about those who produced them hundreds of years ago, and why some of them still matter today.


Pooping, Privacy, and Propriety
Dr. Nestar Russell, Department of Sociology, University of Calgary

Nestar 2017 (1)

There are many common, yet socially invisible behaviours that occur in public washrooms. These activities are frequently relied upon, but very rarely acknowledged of discussed. For example, why do people utilize the courtesy flush? Why do others crumple toilet paper in their hands as they defecate? Before heading into a cubicle for a “number two”, why do some people – particularly women – turn on the faucet? Also, why do we so commonly rely on euphemistic language when discussing our time in the toilet – sorry, restroom. Using the quirky but rather eye-opening sociological theory of Norbert Elias – whom Harvard scholar Steven Pinker describes as “the most important thinker you have never heard of” – this talk will explore the private habits of public bathrooms, in relation to the social history of manners.


How bacteria poop could save your life
Dr. Ian Lewis, Assistant Professor and Alberta Innovates Translational Health Chair in the Department of Biological Sciences, University of Calgary

Ian Lewis

How bacteria poop could save your life: the dawning of a new era in fighting infections.

Antibiotic resistant bacteria are a serious problem. Effective drugs for treating common infections are a cornerstone of modern medicine and the invasion of drug resistant organisms poses a serious threat to global health. If left unchecked, microbial drug resistance will eventually cause Canadian life expectancies to drop by more than 20 years and will make many modern medical practices, including hip replacement surgery, chemotherapy, and organ transplant too risky to perform. Finding an immediate solution to this crisis is our moral imperative to ensure that future generations will benefit from modern medical practices. Recently, an international team lead by the University of Calgary have uncovered a surprising new tool in the fight against drug resistant organisms: bacteria poop. This Nerd Nite talk will take brave audience members along the unexpected journey that is transforming prokaryote poop into the newest weapon in the fight against infections.

Nerd Nite & MRU’s VR gaming night

Nerd Nite Calgary and the MRU Psychology Department are exciting to be hosting a night of Virtual Reality gaming for your enjoyment.  The VR Lab at MRU contains 4 VR rooms and they will be supplying a variety of games for us to try out.  We are only opening 22 slots so that we will get 2 15 minute sessions behind the goggles.   MRU will also have an area with a bar and snacks available for purchase. So in our off time we will have a place to socialize.

Location: The Centre for Psychological Innovation
Located in the East Arts (EA) Building
Room# EA2020

Tickets available here – SOLD OUT

Nerd Nite #32 – SOLD OUT

Alright, you little Love Nerds… Shake off that V-Day hangover and come join us February 15th for Nerd Nite Calgary: Season 4, Episode 5 at the Wild Rose Brewery!

When: Thursday, February 15, 2018 (Doors open at 6:30pm)
Where: Wild Rose Brewery
Tickets: SOLD OUT. Waitlist available on Eventbrite here.
This is an 18+ event.


So You Want to Play with Fire – the Science of Fire Play

Keziah Arsenault, AKA Phoenix FireStar of FireStorm Entertainment

kez fire fans

Phoenix started playing with fire in 2009.  She heard a song on the radio and formed FireStorm Entertainment six months later.  She began to eat fire in 2012. Come learn the science of the circus art of fire eating and fire play with Phoenix FireStar of FireStorm Entertainment.  Are you brave enough to give it a try?


Nerd Nite #31 – SOLD OUT

Happy New Year! Our first Nerd Nite Calgary event of 2018 happens on Thursday, January 11 at Wild Rose Brewery:

When: Thursday, January 11, 2018 (Doors open at 6:30pm)
Where: Wild Rose Brewery
Tickets: SOLD OUT (waitlist sign-up is here.)
This is an 18+ event.


How Animals Learn
Robin Horemans KPA CTP, Owner of the Calgary Bird School (


In this short talk, we will discuss basic learning theory. Learn how every organism learns (parrots, dogs, dolphins, etc…), what positive reinforcement means, and why it’s one of the four “quadrants of learning”. We will also talk about classical and operant conditioning. Learning theory is so elegant when we apply it to our animal friends: choice is a primary reinforce.

Cybersecurity… I don’t get it, but just don’t let Facebook go down!
Marc Kneppers, Chief Security Architect for TELUS


When cyberwar comes, it will be your Communication Provider that is the first line of defence! As everything we do converges onto communications networks, the Internet is now a piece of Canada’s Critical Infrastructure and cybersecurity has become a primary concern. In this talk I’ll give you a quick rundown of how the Internet is built at its core and then explore the various security threats and defences we work on. I’ll explain how we classify our attackers and what we believe their motivations are (which helps to answer questions like: is it really Russia hacking me or the guy down the street?) and I’ll try to give you some context for some of the Internet security stories you may have seen in the news (what’s a botnet? And why does it want my babycam?).

Following Franklin…
Dr. Lynn Moorman, Professor, Mount Royal University.


In 1845 Sir John Franklin set off from England with high expectations to find and sail through Canada’s Northwest Passage. Despite being exceptionally well resourced, Franklin and his men didn’t return home. Numerous search and rescue missions discovered clues to their fate, however, the two ships weren’t found until 2014 and 2016 near King William Island. Though voyaging through the Passage is easier today, many of the wonders, challenges, and mysteries facing those early Arctic explorers are still encountered by modern travellers. This talk will be an exploration of the science behind some of these strange Passage phenomena through the context of expedition travels through the Northwest Passage, including Parks Canada’s first tourist expedition to the site of Franklin’s ship, the Erebus, in September 2017.

Nerdy #30 – SOLD OUT

Get ready for our last event of 2017! Coming up Thursday, November 16th.

When: Thursday, November 16, 2017 (Doors open at 6:30pm, Event ~7pm)
Where: Wild Rose Brewery
Tickets: $10 online + fees
This is an 18+ event.


Hindsight Wasn’t 20/20 Nor as Colorful: The Evolution of Human Vision
Dr. Amanda Melin, Canada Research Chair & Assistant Professor, University of Calgary

amanda melin

Unless we are standing in a dark room, have lost our eye glasses, or have had a few too many beers, most humans can read an eye chart from across the room and see the world in vibrant color. In this, we are quite different from most other mammals. But why and how have we come to see the world so differently than our dogs and cats (or the mice living in our shed)? I try to answer this question by looking to our close relatives, including other primates. By combining approaches in molecular genetics, visual psychology, and animal behaviour, I explore variation in the color vision and acuity (ability to see detail) among living animals to make inferences about the past and predictions about the future.

#CloningAnselAdams: A revisionist history about the future of photography
Brad Wrobleski, Professional Photographer,

brad wrobleskiThe catalyst for this talk is a curiosity about cameras, seeing, learning and this thing we call photography; where it has been, what it is to us and an opaque prophesy on how we will engage with it in the future.

Brad is the incarnation of genetically motivated curiosity. He spent most of his life chasing his deeply driven curiosity about places and people, geography, what is possible by testing and tracing himself over the geographic lines of our planet and photography. If he was to designate a descriptor to his present curiosity it would be straddling the desk between graduate student and teacher. He is exploring how technology can be used to teach technology and art. A blending of augmented reality, artificial intelligence, BOTS  and pedagogical psychology.

The future of health – Precision Medicine
Dr. Jon Meddings, Dean, Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary


The future of health is Precision Medicine. I will describe what this is, where it comes from and use some examples of what we are doing in Calgary that will set us apart from the rest of the world.

Tickets for November

Tickets go on sale Tues. Oct 24 at 6 PM for Nerd Nite #30 happening November 16 — see

Nerd Nite #29 – SOLD OUT!

Our next event of the year is coming up on Thursday, October 19th

When: Thursday, October 19, 2017 (Doors open at 6:30pm, Event ~7pm)
Where: Wild Rose Brewery
Tickets: $10 online + fees
This is an 18+ event.


How to Die in Space
Dr. Raj Bhardwaj, MD, University of Calgary
Syndicated health & medical columnist for CBC Radio & TV


Dr. Raj Bhardwaj

In his presentation, Dr. Raj Bhardwaj covers three separate scenarios about dying in space: What are the risks to human life on a long-term mission, like a mission to Mars? What would happen if you became untethered during a spacewalk, and floated away in your spacesuit? And what if your friends got tired of you, and simply ejected you out an escape hatch – what kills you if you’re “spaced”?

Virtual Reality: What Is It Good For, and Where Is It Going
Anthony Chaston, PhD, Mount Royal University


Dr. Anthony Chaston

Virtual Reality seems to be a catch phrase in the tech world these days, but what is it good for, and where is it going? The term Virtual Reality currently seems to encompass a broad collection of technologies, ranging from cheep stuff that will likely make you nauseous, to expensive equipment that can transport your mind to another place. With the right equipment you can have a lot of fun battling a 9-foot troll in a virtual castle, but is VR useful for things other than gaming? During the presentation, I will describe how, in my lab, we are using VR to lower student anxiety levels, and also how other researchers are using VR to treat conditions like phobias and PTSD. During the second half of the presentation I will discuss where VR is going. Get ready for it, because in just a few years you might be going to virtual meetings for work, and “hanging out” with your friends in Facebook VR.

Far Out! Pushing the boundaries in architecture and city making
Jessie Andjelic & Philip Vandermey, SPECTACLE

Jessie Andjelic

Philip Vandermey


In order to shift the way we think and create design responses that address urgent issues such as climate change, automation, interplanetary exploration, human rights, militarization, and inequality, spatial designers need to create provocative and unexpected solutions. We will present projects that range from surrealistic critique to legitimate proposals on topics and sites including Mars habitation, the relationship between self-driving cars and public space, flood mitigation in architectural and urban design, affordable housing, and rapprochement at the Korean DMZ.

Nerd Nite Sept 21 – Season 4 Episode 1 (SOLD OUT)

Our first event (Episode 1) of Nerd Nite Calgary’s fourth season happens on Thursday, September 21:

When: Thursday, September 21, 2017 (Doors open at 6:30pm, Event ~7pm)
Where: Wild Rose Brewery
Tickets: $10 online + fees (SOLD OUT – waitlist option available)
This is an 18+ event.


Providing Syrian Refugees the Right Information at the Right Time
Dr. Leah Hamilton & Dr. Mohammed El Hazzouri, Mount Royal University

Dr. Leah Hamilton

Dr. Leah Hamilton


Since November 2015, approximately 40,000 Syrian refugees have arrived in Canada, with roughly 2,000 resettling in Calgary. In our presentation, we will discuss important insights into services and programs that support the integration of Syrian refugees in Calgary.

Feeling Excluded! Minority Consumers May Not Always Prefer Inclusive Advertising
Dr. Mohammed El Hazzouri, Mount Royal University

Dr. Mohammed El Hazzouri

Dr. Mohammed El Hazzouri

Nowadays, it is common to see advertisements that include models who belong to ethnic minorities. Ethnic minority consumers like advertisements that include their own ethnic group and appreciate brands that use such advertising. However, ethnic minority consumers may not always prefer inclusive advertising. I will be presenting why this may be the case along with potential solutions.

Did you really just say that!? Responding to prejudice from a social psychological perspective
Dr. Cara C. MacInnis, University of Calgary

Dr Cara C. MacInnis

Dr Cara C. MacInnis

Although people commonly report desire to challenge everyday prejudiced comments, actually doing so is uncommon. Why is it so difficult to respond to these comments? And how can we do so effectively? This presentation will involve potential answers to these questions and a chance to “try it out.”

Nerd Nite #27 – SOLD OUT

Our last Nerd Nite Calgary event of the season happens on Thursday, June 8 at Wild Rose Brewery:

When: Thursday, June 8, 2017 (Doors open at 6:30pm)
Where: Wild Rose Brewery
Tickets: $10 online + fees (waitlist option available)
This is an 18+ event.


Lending a Hand with the Calgary Arm
Joel Neumann & Peter Hillman, undergraduate researchers, University of Calgary

Dr. Mark Ungrin, Tyler Anker, Shalese Baxandall, Peter Hillman, Amanda Mackey, Joel Neumann, and Rohan Antony

Dr. Mark Ungrin, Tyler Anker, Shalese Baxandall, Peter Hillman, Amanda Mackey, Joel Neumann, and Rohan Antony

The Calgary Arm is a low cost prosthetic hand targeting arm amputees in developing countries who don’t have access to complex and expensive prosthetic hands. The main components of the arm are a reversed bike pump, pop bottles, tubing, a balloon, and some sugar or salt. It functions on the principle of a universal jamming gripper, where the gripper can be deformed around an object when the vacuum pump is not engaged, and then grasped when the vacuum is applied. This type of gripper allows the user to pick up a wide range of objects with relative ease.

Evolution Can Be Faster Than You (or Darwin) Thought
Jonathan Mee, PhD, Mount Royal University

Jon Mee

Jon Mee

Charles Darwin published The Origin of Species in 1859. Biologists continue to be amazed by how many of his insights still hold true in the light of ongoing scientific discoveries. But, there’s (at least) one thing Darwin got wrong in a big way. He thought that evolutionary change is, and always has been, imperceptibly slow. We now know that evolutionary change can happen within our lifetimes (or even faster). I will talk about how contemporary evolutionary change has important implications (good and bad) for human health and biodiversity conservation.

There will be delicious mini cupcakes and a game to celebrate the end of our season!


Nerd Nite #26 – SOLD OUT

Nerd Nite Calgary event #25 happens on Thursday, May 18 at Wild Rose Brewery:

When: Thursday, May 18, 2017 (Doors open at 6:30pm)
Where: Wild Rose Brewery
Tickets: $10 online + fees (SOLD OUT)
This is an 18+ event.


Milk of the Poppy and the New Breaking Bad
Dr. Peter J. Facchini, Professor and Canada Research Chair, University of Calgary

Peter Facchini

Dr. Peter Facchini

Opium poppy has long been a subject for elegant scientific enquiry, including a quarter-century of groundbreaking research at the University of Calgary. Recently, genes encoding all known pathway enzymes involved in the formation of the narcotic analgesic morphine and the cough suppressant and potential anticancer drug noscapine have been isolated. The availability of these genes has led to well-publicized efforts at leading universities to reconstitute morphine and noscapine biosynthetic pathways in yeast. However, the standard approaches used to engineer microorganisms, sometimes called synthetic biology, have resulted in low product yields far inferior to the remarkable metabolic capacity of the plant. The detection of metabolic bottlenecks suggests that additional parts and an understanding of unknown biological processes are still required to establish fermentation as a viable alternative to the agricultural cultivation of opium poppy as a source of legal opiates and other pharmaceuticals. Dr. Facchini will present a snapshot of his 25-year odyssey as one of the world’s foremost opium poppy researchers and discuss the prospects for home-brewed pain relief.

Human-wildlife collisions:
What happens when people and wildlife share the same landscape?
Dr. Michael S. Quinn, Associate VP Research, Scholarship and Community Engagement, Mount Royal University

Dr. Michael S. Quinn

Dr. Michael S. Quinn

In a rapidly changing environment like the Calgary region, new roads and trails intersect with wildlife corridors and pathways for a wide variety of animals.  The presentation will provide some insight into the challenges and opportunities for managing to keep people and wildlife moving on the landscape.  Images from remote cameras provide a look into a world we seldom see.

Cancer vs the Nanobots…
Dr. David Cramb, Professor, University of Calgary

Dr. David Cramb

Dr. David Cramb

Regular cancer treatment focuses on killing the cancer cells through large doses of medicine, but it also kills other cells in the body and causes significant side-effects and potential long-term effects. We are developing nanoparticles to deliver the drugs and diagnostic agents solely to the tumor in much smaller, more effective quantities, leading to more targeted treatments that are easier on the body.

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Nerd Nites Events


On sabbatical (?)

* crickets *

LOL … yeah, right.

[Summer Break]
June 18, 2020 – CANCELLED
May 21, 2020 – CANCELLED
April 16, 2020 – CANCELLED
March 19, 2020 – CANCELLED
Feb. 20, 2020 – SOLD OUT
Jan. 16, 2020 – SOLD OUT
Nov. 21, 2019 – SOLD OUT
Oct. 17, 2019 – SOLD OUT
Sept. 19, 2019 – SOLD OUT

[Summer Break]
June 20, 2019 – SOLD OUT
May 16, 2019 – SOLD OUT
April 18, 2019 – SOLD OUT
March 21, 2019 – SOLD OUT
Feb. 21, 2019 – SOLD OUT
Jan. 17, 2019 – SOLD OUT
Nov. 15, 2018 – SOLD OUT
Oct. 18, 2018 – SOLD OUT
Sept. 20, 2018 – SOLD OUT

[Summer Break]
June 14, 2018 – SOLD OUT
May 17, 2018 – SOLD OUT
Apr. 19, 2018 – SOLD OUT
Mar. 15, 2018 – SOLD OUT
Feb. 15, 2018 – SOLD OUT
Jan. 24, 2018 – VR Gaming – SOLD OUT
Jan. 11, 2018 – SOLD OUT
Nov. 16, 2017 – SOLD OUT
Oct. 19, 2017 – SOLD OUT
Sept. 21, 2017 – SOLD OUT

[Summer Break]
June 8, 2017 – SOLD OUT
May 18, 2017 – SOLD OUT
Apr. 20, 2017 – SOLD OUT
Mar. 16, 2017 – SOLD OUT
Feb. 16, 2017 – SOLD OUT
Jan. 19, 2017 – SOLD OUT
Nov. 24, 2016 – SOLD OUT
Oct. 20, 2016 – SOLD OUT
Sept. 15, 2016 – SOLD OUT

[Summer Break]
June 16, 2016 – SOLD OUT
May 27, 2016 – Escape Room *Cancelled*
May 13, 2016 – SOLD OUT
Apr. 14, 2016 – SOLD OUT
Mar. 18, 2016 – Escape Room SOLD OUT
Mar. 10, 2016 – SOLD OUT
Feb. 11, 2016 – SOLD OUT
Jan. 14, 2016 – SOLD OUT
Nov. 19, 2015 – SOLD OUT
Oct. 15, 2015 – SOLD OUT
Sept. 17, 2015

[Summer Break]
June 18, 2015 – Escape Room
June 11, 2015
May 14, 2015
March 12, 2015
Feb. 11, 2015 – SOLD OUT
Jan. 15, 2015 – SOLD OUT
Nov. 20, 2014 – SOLD OUT
Oct. 9, 2014

[Summer Break]
June 12, 2014
May 8th, 2014 – SOLD OUT

* Tentative Dates

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