Nerd Nite Calgary #38 – Helium – SOLD OUT

If you aren’t napping or stuck staring at your own hands, come join us for some education and beers! It’s the day after cannabis legalization and we have the munchies for knowledge.

Also! If you are so inclined and in the Halloween spirit, come dressed in your niftiest costume. There will be at least one other nerd dressed up with you, I promise.

When: Thursday, October 18, 2018 (Doors open at 6:00pm, talks start at 7:00pm)
Where: WURST (2437 4 St SW)
Tickets: Sold out, waitlist here

This is an 18+ event.


Into the Weeds of Cannabis Regulation: 10 Things You Need to Know
Lorian Hardcastle, Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Law and Cumming School of Medicine at the University of Calgary

Lorian Hardcastle

This presentation will take you on a whirlwind tour of the new rules on cannabis, including who can purchase it, how much can be grown at home, where it can be purchased, where it can be consumed, and what products can be purchased.  It will also provide key information for different stakeholder groups, including tenants, employees, drivers, and medical users.

Fake it till you make it? Understanding Faking Behavior and Perceptions in Job Interviews
Josh Bourdage, Associate Professor, Department of Psychology, University of Calgary
Tim Wingate, PhD Student, Department of Psychology, University of Calgary

Josh PhotoJosh Bourdage

TWingate HeadshotTim Wingate

Job interviews are used nearly universally as a way to hire people for jobs. Ideally, companies want to be able to pick the best people who will be the best fit for the job and the company. From the applicant side, the interviewee is looking for an edge and typically trying to do their best to land the job. One prominent aspect of the interview is applicant faking during the interview, with many applicants faking to try and get the job, and interviewers using their perceptions of faking to guide their evaluations of the applicant. In this talk, we discuss the ways that applicants fake, how prevalent this behavior is, who and when people are most likely to fake, and the factors that impact whether an interviewer detects or perceives faking.

What really annoys me about dinosaurs in the movies
Donald Henderson, Curator of Dinosaurs, Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology

DonH_Elasmosaurus0117Donald Henderson

Dinosaurs have featured in animated films and motion pictures almost from the beginning of the art forms, and have proven to be consistent box office winners. However, despite our exponential increase in our knowledge of dinosaurs over the past 50 years, film makers and animators regularly go far outside biological and physical reality when presenting these animals (and other extinct beasts). I will highlight the top five of my many gripes about how dinosaurs and other prehistoric creatures are presented in movies, and give the reasons why the portrayals are just not plausible (and make me cringe).

SOLD OUT – Nerd Nite Calgary #37 – Hydrogen!

Road Closures and Parking Constraints... all for a good nerdy cause!
We were given a heads-up that there may be some road closures around Wurst for Nerd Nite due to… Beakerhead! Four to Six will be happening on 4 St from 23 Ave down to 26 Ave (Wurst is right in the middle of that zone). There will be a bunch of nerdy, sciencey, goodness happening around Wurst so feel free to come early to check it out. Also keep in mind parking issues, etc. in the area. Four to Six will be happening Wed, Thur, and Friday (Sept 19-21) from, you guessed it, 4pm to 6pm.

The first Nerd Nite of the season is coming up quick! What better way to start the new school year than with a bit of learning and drinking?

When: Thursday, September 20, 2018 (Doors open at 6:00pm, talks start at 7:00pm)
Where: WURST (2437 4 St SW)
Tickets: Sold out, waitlist here

This is an 18+ event.


Octopuses are the real chameleons
Jennifer Mather, Ph.D., University of Lethbridge


Octopuses are the real chameleons.  They can look like anything they want to, and they have a whole skin chromatophore system to do this.  Mostly they want not to be seen, blending into the background with colours, textures and postures to match.  Sometimes they want to be seen, they can startle you away by changing how they look really fast.  Some of them can put blue warning circles on their skin; good thing, as they are deadly poisonous.  Once in a while they can use the skin patterns to signal their sex to each other, mostly it’s probably chemical cues.  Best of all, they are colour blind, so they can’t see what they produce.  How do they do that, and why?  I’ll speculate.

Exploration of Canada’s Deepest Cave
Katie Graham, Cave Explorer and Expedition Leader


An overview of the discovery of Bisaro Anima cave and the exploration that has proven it to be Canada’s deepest cave.

Transport Planning / ELA
Andrew Sedor, Business Development Coordinator in Transportation at the City of Calgary
Dan Fox, Leader of The City’s Electric Vehicle Strategy

AndrewAndrew Sedor

New transportation technology helps shape cities. For over 100 years, Calgary and cities across the globe have been shaped by the automobile. Planning transportation around the automobile has allowed people to live further away from their work and gave rise to most of the urban form in the modern world. New transportation technologies are expected to continue to change cities.

Over the past decade, increased computing power, smart phones and technological discoveries have enabled the development of technologies that were once in the realm of science fiction. While cities cannot predict the future, there are major technological and social trends occurring in transportation. Autonomy, electrification, connectivity and shared mobility are predicted to impact transportation over the upcoming decades.

Andrew Sedor, from The City of Calgary Transportation Department, will be talking about how these future technologies may impact cities, and what the City of Calgary is doing to prepare. Andrew is currently leading one of Canada’s first autonomous vehicle pilots, and is leading the City’s living labs initiative.

SOLD OUT – Nerd Nite #36 Season 4, Episode 9… Finally, The Season Finale!

Come join us at WURST for our last Nerd Nite of the season! This Season Finale is sure to be a cliff hanger…

When: Thursday, June 14th , 2018
Where: WURST (2437 4 St SW)
Tickets: Sold out! Wait list here
This is an 18+ event.


Everything you never knew you wanted to know about radon, gas, radiation and you
Dr. Aaron Goodarzi, University of Calgary, Canada Research Chair for Radiation Exposure Disease

Most of us have learned a degree of ‘fear’ surrounding (ionizing) radiation and the diseases connected to exposure, typically from popular culture, more spectacular historical events or word of mouth. However, exactly *why* we should be concerned, and also the surprising nature of the radiation sources that we should and also should not be worried about, is often missed from this conversation. In this evenings talk, you will learn the answers to all of these questions, as well as how scientists are figuring out who are the hidden superheroes amongst us, how studying the air of basements can help us colonize space and why working in a nuclear power plant can sometimes save your life.

Colours of the Brain
Dave Siever, CEO of Mind Alive Inc.


Once upon a time EEGs could only show squiggly lines that a researcher or clinician “oohed and aahed” at, not knowing quite what to make of these elusive & exciting brain wave events. However, with the advent of the quantification of brain wave activity over time, computer algorithms allowed researchers and clinicians to view beautiful and colorful images of brain activity that goes far beyond what can be gleaned from squiggly lines. This technique is termed quantified EEG or qEEG. QEEG enables us the ability to identify and treat a wide variety of brain/behavioral conditions including depression, several types of anxiety, OCD, ADD, ADHD, dementia, brain injuries from hits to the head, viral infections, strokes and more.

The Chemistry of the World’s Smallest Sponges
George Shimizu,  University of Calgary. Co-Founder, ZoraMat Solutions Inc.

Many global challenges, from desalinating water to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, come down to bringing about some form of separation in an energy efficient manner. Our research concerns making new solid materials with regular pores and channels on the nanometer scale. On this scale, the cavities are on the order of individual molecules and the ability to separate targets becomes very selective. In this talk I will present some of the techniques we use to prove the structure of materials and how they work followed by some of the global challenges where a better means of separating molecules is needed. Finally, I will mention some of our very successful work on using these little molecular sponges to selectively and efficiently remove carbon dioxide from gas streams.


Nerd Nite #35 – SOLD OUT

Come join us at WURST for our 35th Nerd Nite in Calgary! Season 4, Episode 8!

When: Thursday, May 17th , 2018
Where: WURST (2437 4 St SW)
Tickets: $10 online + fees Sold out. Sign up for the waitlist here.
This is an 18+ event.


The Brain Imaging Revolution: What’s coming down the Pike?

Bruce Pike, PhD, University of Calgary

Innovations during the past 30 years have created unprecedented windows onto the living human brain and have revolutionized medical care and neuroscience research.  In this presentation I will touch upon many of the great brain imaging milestones, discuss their impact on basic and clinical neuroscience, and muse about the future.

Donald J. Trump Goes to Leadership School

James StauchJames Stauch, Director of the Institute for Community Prosperity at MRU

The set-up: As the siren Stormy draws the great leader of the American empire to crash upon the rocks and relinquish his power, he stands on the precipice, clinging to the mast, confessing to the wind that he might have a problem.  Appealing to the heavens for one last chance to redeem himself, his call is answered:  He is instructed by a chorus of winged former world leaders – Gandhi, Mandela, MLK – caregiver social reformers – Nightengale, Fry, Sanger, Barton – and, among many others, an obscure Saskatchewan preacher named Tommy Douglas – that he must check himself in to “leadership rehab”.  We’ll be flies on the wall, as we witness Trump’s wrenching but powerful journey of self- and world-discovery.


What’s in your beer? The botany behind our food and beverages

Jana Vamosi, PhD, University of Calgary

Cultivated ingredients in our food and beverages originate in nature. This Nerd Nite will cover how scientists discover, describe, and monitor plant species, and then focus on species often used to make beer.

Prepare for the WURST! NNYYC #34 – SOLD OUT

In case you didn’t know, we are MOVING! Come join us at our new location, WURST. Where else can you get a beer, a sausage, and an education?

With half price tickets, happy hour pricing, and plenty of swag giveaways… you better be prepared to get these tickets quick! Sale starts March 20th at 6pm.

When: Thursday, April 19th, 2018 (Doors open at 6:00pm)
Where: WURST (2437 4 St SW)
Tickets: SOLD OUT – click here for wait list

This is an 18+ event.


Explorations at the Extremes of Embodiment
Ian MacNairn, Extreme Jogger and researcher in anthropology and medicine, University of Calgary

Ian MacNairn

Photo credit: Bookstrucker Photography

Ian’s own path in the world of extreme endurance and exploration came through accident. His first steps as a trail-runner announced the end of his recovery from a near-fatal injury. Ian pursued rehabilitation through running as a health scientist, using his case to study the physiological, mental, and social transformations that occur in pursuit of ultra-endurance. This initial project only resulted in more questions and curiosity encouraging further research and exploration. Over the past decade, Ian has explored embodiment in trail and ultrarunning through observing, interviewing, and participating with runners around the world. Ian’s current work is a novel exploratory study of the community and culture that is formed and developed through sport. TheUltra Ethnography is one of the broadest and largest project on trail and ultrarunning to-date, with a sample of over 3,500 participants representing 49 countries and six continents. At Nerd Nite, Ian shares his story of exploration and experimentation in the embodiment of endurance.

How the promise of immutable trust via the blockchain is set to transform our future days (and nights)
Mike Warf, leader of the Digital Services team for the University of Lethbridge

mike warf

Cryptocurrency (and Bitcoin in particular) has been the subject of a lot media buzz in the past 6 months – from “get rich quick” Bitcoin Billionaires, to bubbles and bullshit. Join Michael Warf (armchair Bitcoin investor) as we discover the real value of blockchain technology, the potential transformation of daily life, and how regulation just might poop the party.

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.