Nerd Nite v.39: Tumors, Silk, and Art in Space

On Nov. 21st 1953, the 40-year-long hoax of the Piltdown Man ended when the British Museum revealed that it was a “perfectly executed and carefully prepared fraud.” The Piltdown forgery was essentially a recently deceased humanid head that was deformed by disease, and the lower jaw was replaced with that of an orangatan.

Now on Nov.21st 2018 you may find yourself out somewhere hearing a tale that may be as tall (or as small) as the Piltdown Man. Your initial reaction may be to shout it down, but if there’s anything that a good scientficially minded community knows is that the best way to shout down a tall tale, is to find the truth through evidence. Now on this particular day if you come to the Fox Cabaret you are unlikely to hear tales of the Piltdown Man, but you will find like-minded individuals that do share this philosophy of fact based evidence. By gathering together in a casual way over beers, and sharing stories of our passions, it’s our celebration of everything we hold dear: science, drinks, and good friends. Welcome to Nerd Nite.

Where: The Fox Cabaret

When: Wednesday November 21st; Doors @ 7, show starts @ 7:30

Tickets: Eventbrite

nerd nite39_eventbrite

1. Modelling Tumours

Erin Marshall

Bio: Erin is a PhD student at the BC Cancer Research Centre who spends most of her time studying the genomes of lung tumours and figuring out why they exist in the first place. Though she loves the lab, she also enjoys running, hiking, and teaching kids about genetics. She is also a dedicated helicopter-cat-mom to Oliver.

2. Spider butts and spit glands: Adventures in working with Galleria mellonella silk

Mary Glasper 

Remember those plastic-eating worms in the news last year? I work with those! One summer, while working in an entomology lab, my supervisor asked, “Have you ever looked at Galleria silk? It’s really strong and they produce a TON of it.” Suddenly, a master’s thesis was born, where I investigated the properties of Galleria silk for its use in textiles. Galleria mellonella, a.k.a. the greater wax moth, is a pest of beehives and is also a popular model organism for the study of medically significant mammalian pathogens. In this presentation, I’ll show you how to collect, process, and characterize this silk as a textile fibre. Could it be a viable alternative to spider silk? Come and find out! Spoiler: I don’t feed them plastic.

Bio: Mary Glasper has been a fan of our many-legged friends and of fibres for as long as she can remember, and has professional experience in both Entomology and Textile Science. It’s only natural that she would combine both of her interests by studying how insects create fibres! She has a BSc in Biological Sciences & Human Ecology from the University of Alberta, and recently finished her MSc in Textile Science. Mary moved to Vancouver last winter and is now a Materials Developer at Arc’teryx Equipment.

3.  Painting on the Moon

Michael Markowsky

Back in 2008, Artist Michael Markowsky publicly announced his goal to stand on the surface of the moon and make a painting, by January 1st 2030.

In pursuit of that goal, he travelled to the North Pole in 2013 with the Royal Canadian Air Force and made landscape paintings outside in the -40oC weather, and then in 2014 became the first person to make drawings while flying faster than the speed of sound in a CF-18 “Hornet” jet plane. That project was documented in the 2015 film Markowsky Draws in a Fighter Plane (Directed by Michael Peterson).

Follow his project on Facebook @PaintOnTheMoon

#TheFlightHasJustBegun
#PaintOnTheMoon

Bio: Michael Markowsky is an award-winning artist and writer who makes drawings, paintings and books about the landscapes and people he meets while travelling around the world. As an official Canadian “War Artist,” he made drawings in an F-18 “Hornet” fighter jet while flying faster than the speed of sound, and was the first person to make a painting while standing at the North Pole.

Poster by: Armin Mortazavi

IG: armin.scientoonist

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