Inspiration: Nerd Nite

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Each month, I share content (podcasts, bogs, YouTube channels, books, films, events, documentaries etc.) that I absolutely love and find to be sources of inspiration. This month, I attended my first “Nerd Nite” event in London themed on science fiction.

“Evidence based entertainment, in a bar”

Held in over 90 cities across the world, these monthly events gather fellow “nerds” (or “detail enthusiasts” as I like to term it!) to listen to three 18-21 minute talks by experts in certain fields, with plenty of time to socialise over drinks and discuss ideas with fellow attendees. Described as “evidence based entertainment, in a bar”, the tone is relaxed and casual, but extremely engaging. There was time for questions or the opportunity to talk to the speakers in the breaks if you wanted to dig a little deeper, and for me it certainly didn’t feel like being transported back to a dry classroom learning environment.

Past talks in London have covered everything from zombie neuroscience, the human uses of spider silk, and the mathematics of love, but I was particularly drawn to the August event due to it’s awesome theme of science fiction! To give you a taster of what to expect at one of these events, I’ll give you a quick run-down of my experience:

The talks kicked off with the “Neuroscience of Dr Who” from an expert in the psychology of survival

Following an hilarious opening warm-up by organiser, Louise, on “How to date an alien”, the talks kicked off with the “Neuroscience of Dr Who” from an expert in the psychology of survival, Dr Sarita Robinson. She delved into what the Doctor’s brain structure may look like based on his/her particular abilities, plus discussed the psychology of an ideal companion. The audience were even given the opportunity to take a quiz to see if we had what it takes, with only three proving low in neuroticism, high in adventure, and with an extroverted personality to keep the Doctor entertained- sadly I was not one of them this time!

After an all-important G&T break, Dr Morgan Beeby, Lecturer in structural biology at Imperial College, London, discussed the potential of “Molecular Machines” within nanotechnology, a field that has inspired classic sci-fi literature such as The Diamond Age (1995), and cult movies like Innerspace (1987) . He demonstrated how these machines, operating at nano-scale within cells, could have the exciting potential to transport cancer fighting drugs to target specific cells, while also presenting significant ethical difficulties and opportunities for abuse that must be overcome. The highlight for me was being shown fascinating video clips of these machines actually moving- definitely not something you see every day!

The only way to reach the economics of Star Trek is via a “global-scale John Lewis”

Refreshed after a further break for chatting at the bar, we were ready for the final talk on the “Economics of Star Trek”. As a (not so) secret Trekkie, I was intrigued at how we might end up in such a utopian world, operating without money. In this universe, when humans realised they weren’t alone, goals shifted from the accumulation of money for personal gain, to a collectivist mindset of forwarding knowledge for the benefit of the human race. Sounds pretty good, right? Speaker, Chris Jones, recommended that the only way to reach the economics of Star Trek  is via a “global-scale John Lewis”, with everyone sharing ownership and having a stake in the system. Nice idea (plus my Mum would love this!), and plenty to think about as we all head off and eagerly await next month’s installment!

I found the event extremely friendly (I went on my own and had no trouble chatting with people), and would certainly recommend Nerd Nite for anyone interested in a thought-provioing evening, with plenty of humour (and a G&T) thrown in!

Want to find out more?

Find your local Nerd Nite here.

Based in London? Find Nerd Nite London on Web, Facebook, Twitter

The next Nerd Nite London event is on Tuesday October 17th at the Backyard Comedy Club- see you there!  Want more inspiration next month?- Enter your email address here to receive notifications of future posts.


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