Category: Event

Nerdin’ About Pod: Running up that Climate Hill with Economics

How is everyone doing with their existential crises these days? If you’ve listened to past episodes you know we’ve got climate change on our collective minds, and in this episode of Nerdin’ About we talk to someone who is tackling this wicked problem with tangible solutions in economics and politics!

Dr. Devyani Singh (she/her) is a Post-Doctoral Economist Fellow working on Energy and Climate policy at the Environmental Defence Fund. Devyani nerds out with us on how she’s integrated economics into climate change solutions and advocacy. We also explore how Devyani is closing the gap between science and policy as she pursues a position in politics. A transcript of the episode can be found here.

Follow Devyani on Twitter and Instagram @Kumari_Devyani and follow her pup Zephyrus @WestCoastPandaBoi 

Kaylee’s new podcast Nice Genes! from Genome British Columbia can be found here:

Nerdin’ About Pod: Wetlands: The Original Wet ‘N Wild

Grab your hip waders and waterproof phone case, because this week we’re getting ‘bog’ged down in wetland ecology! Dr. Alex Moore (they/them), who is currently a postdoctoral fellow at the Princeton University High Meadows Environmental Institute, takes us on a journey to coastlines and salt marshes to explore what wetlands are and how species shape these spaces. We also meander to mangroves to marvel at the benefits they provide for people and animals, as well as the threats they face in a warming world. 

Listen to the episode here.

A transcript of the episode can be found here.

Follow Dr. Moore on Twitter @Dr_AlexM and on their websites:

You can check out the bat mortality study mentioned in this episode here:

And the study mentioned about cats depredating on rats and other wildlife here:

Nerdin’ About Pod: Who Run the World? Ants!

The ants go marching one by one… but how and also why? In this episode we’re joined by Aaron Fairweather (they/them) a PhD student at the University of Guelph who has been an entomologist for as long as they could hold a crayon. Join us as we learn about how ants are more than just picnic disruptors – they’re farmers, architects, pollinators and so much more! Don’t let their size fool you – they leave a very large footprint on our ecosystems (6 footprints to be exact).

Listen to the episode here.

A transcript of the episode can be found here.

Follow Aaron @InsectAaron, and their “fursona” Nasidoe on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, Twitch, and YouTube @Entobird

Also check out Phlya and Fandom, a nerdy podcast merging the worlds of science and furry!

Interested in learning more about ant sounds? The sound clips in this episode were shared by Dr. Ronara de Souza Ferreira-Châline whose exciting research on this topic can be found here

Nerdin’ About Pod: BEARing Down on Conservation

Our clocks have just sprung ahead which means we’re getting closer to sunny days and sweet summer berries! And with the change in seasons comes opportunities for sharing the outdoors with our wild neighbours. But sometimes these interactions can lead to conflict with implications for conservation. This week we talk with PhD Candidate Lauren Eckert (she/her) about her research in conservation science with a particular focus on the curious black bear.

Listen to the episode here or read the transcript here.

Our communities are wild spaces. Even in cities, humans are navigating relationships with wildlife – relationships that are critical to supporting conservation efforts. This week we’re joined by Lauren Eckert (she/her), a PhD candidate at the University of Victoria who studies the intersection between social and ecological systems. From bears to orcas, we explore how conflicts shape our interactions with wildlife and each other. And, we gather some helpful tips to reduce conflict with our fellow adventuring bears. Lauren is also involved with Hidden Compass, which is seeking to tell science stories in new ways. Lauren is also the magical human behind The Witch Podcast, which looks at the legacies and power of women and femmes throughout history and today. So much to cover in such little time, thanks for listening, and bearing with us! A transcript of the episode can be found here:

Twitter-Instagram: @LaurenEEckert

Hidden Compass:

The Witch Podcast:

And the paper about bear genetics and Indigenous languages mentioned in this episode can be found here:

Nerdin’ About Pod: Watery Dewing About Water?

And we’re back with the second half of Season 3 of the Nerdin’ About pod! We’ve “mist” you, and we’re very excited to get back to what we love most – listening to our favourite people “pour” their hearts out about their work while also trying to come up with as many puns as possible. And who better to “dew” this with than water consultant Alan Shapiro?

Listen to the episode here or read the transcript here!

From rushing rivers to vast oceans, the planet is covered in dancing droplets of water. But even in places where water is abundant, access to clean drinking water isn’t a guarantee, and many of our water-based challenges are likely to increase with climate change. In this episode, water and sustainability consultant Alan Shapiro joins us to talk about what makes water so special, how we manage water in Canada, and why we all need to talk more about water. A transcript of the episode can be found here:

Follow Alan @watercomm on Twitter!

Nerdin’ About Pod: The Science of Swearing

Hold onto your flippin’ butts! We’ve got a new episode for you, all about the linguistics of swearing with Dr. Anne-Michelle Tessier! Listen to the episode here or anywhere you get your podcasts.

Would you rather read than listen? Find a transcript of the episode here.

When was the last time you swore? Maybe you were sitting in traffic, or you stubbed your toe on a stray shoe stranded in the hallway of your home (was that too specific?). While you may be well versed in the classic four-letter words that make up the English swearing vocabulary, in this episode Dr. Anne-Michelle Tessier (she/her) takes us on a phonologic foray of swear words, from sh*t-whistles to a**-badgers. We explore what makes some cursing compounds more compelling and how we’re constantly doing linguistic math, even without thinking about it. A transcript of this episode can be found here:

You can read Dr. Tessier’s original paper here

Visit Dr. Tessier’s personal and phonology lab websites.

Nerdin’ About Pod: Science Policy of Truth

A new episode of the pod is hot off the audio presses! Join us as we chat with Farah Qaiser all about science for policy, and policy for science! Listen to the episode here.

Have you ever wondered how politicians make decisions using science? Or about how politics shape what’s dissected under the microscope?

This is why we need people like Farah Qaiser (she/her) to better understand the role of policy for science, and science for policy! 

Farah is the new Director of Research and Policy at Evidence for Democracy, a non-partisan, not-for-profit organization aimed at promoting the use of evidence in Canada’s decision-making. We explore the changing landscape of science policy and how investmenting in Canada’s scientists impacts our national capacity to ask and answer innovative and creative science questions. We’ll also explore Farah’s dedication to advocating for under-represented scientists in her role as a member of 500 Women Scientists‘ leadership team. A transcript of the episode can be found here.

Learn more about Farah Qaiser on her website, and follow her on social media @this_is_farah

Also mentioned in this episode: Science Diction podcast.

Nerdin About Pod: Güt for your Health

A new episode of the Nerdin’ About Pod drops tomorrow with Desiree Neilsen, Rd. Episode here.

Open any social media app, and you’re bound to be bombarded with ads and images of “wellness”. But can our health be hyped by adding or removing a single food? What’s the science behind gluten and could a sprinkle of something special support your thyroid? Desiree Nielsen, Registered Dietician, is here to debunk some diet myths and share how taking a more holistic approach rather than subscribing to the latest fad will be more beneficial to our health. A transcript of the episode can be found here:

Find Desiree on her website or on Instagram @desireenielsenrd

Check out Desiree’s podcast The Allsorts Podcast, which covers nutrition science with a roster of very cool guests.

Or try some recipes from Desiree’s cookbook “Eat More Plants” for nutrition-packed plant goodness.

Also mentioned in this episode: Ask an Astronomer with Dr. Eldon Yellowhorn and the Maintenance Phase podcast.

Nerdin’ About Live

It’s been over one year since Nerd Nite Vancouver cancelled their last show in March 2020. But as the saying goes: one door closes and another socially distanced door opens, as the event has turned into a podcast. Now in its second season, Nerdin’ About features conversations with scientists, artists, educators, creators, and overall pretty amazing people about their work and interests.

Join us live for a gathering of three guests from Season 1. Dr. Sam Yammine aka Science Sam from our very first episode on communicating about COVID-19, Pramodh Senarath Yapa from episode 8 on superfluids and helium, and Kim Senklip Harvey from episode 9 an Indigenous storyteller on decolonizing theatre.

We’ll get updates on their work, share what we’ve been nerding out about lately, and you’ll be able to ask questions. Most of all we’ll be doing what Nerd Nite has always been about – learning together and building community!

When: May 12th 2021 @ 6 – 7PM PST

Where: The Interwebs – Link to be shared to registered participants

Tickets: Eventbrite

In lieu of a ticket, if you are able we ask that you donate what you can to the BC Cancer Foundation (or your local organization). This request is made in support of our friend, colleague, and Nerdin’ About Season 2 guest Dr. Greg Bole who has been diagnosed with stage 4 cancer.


Dr. Samantha Yammine (she/her) is a neuroscientist and science communicator. Samantha earned her PhD from the University of Toronto studying stem cells and the brain. Over the past year Samantha has been communicating about COVID-19 using social media. Sam is also a co-founder of Science is a Drag, and helped launch #ScienceUpFirst, a social media movement to counter misinformation around COVID-19.

Kim Senklip Harvey (she/her) is a proud Syilx and Tsilhqot’in and is an Indigenous Theorist and Cultural Evolutionist. Kim is interested in Indigenous artistic works dismantling and troubling colonial systems and honouring artistic epistemologies confronting imperial art practice whilst contributing to present day cultural creations. Especially those activating and nourishing Indigenous power by centering joy, Indigenous love and sovereign creative processes. She has a particular focus on the resurgence of Indigenous Matriarchal led methodologies and stories with emancipatory journeys. Kim has her Master in Creative Writing from the University of Victoria.

Pramodh Senarath Yapa (he/him) is a Theoretical Condensed Matter Physicist and PhD student. Pramodh studies the properties of matter when it is cooled to near absolute zero, and explores how quantum mechanics leads to the formation of new states of matter. In 2019, Pramodh was chosen as the winner of the Dance Your PhD competition sponsored by the American Association for the Advancement of Science for his swing-dancing rendition of electron behaviour, “Superconductivity: The Musical!”.

Nerd Nite v51: The Speculum, Pufferfish, and the Language Behind Insults

Have you ever heard a phrase and wondered – where the heck did that come from? What’s the history behind this? For example, have you been telling people they’re a “shoo-in” thinking it’s referring to shoes? Nerd Nite co-boss Kaylee certainly has. It turns out that this phrase actually originated from horse racing in the 1920s, where a horse was urged on to win by “shooing” it, often referring specifically to cases where a race was fixed so that all the horse needed to do was be waved across the finish line. Today, the term is used to refer to those who are well liked or destined to win, and we think we’ve got three shoo-in talks for you this coming March 18th! Join us to learn about the history of the speculum, the language behind insults. And round it all off with some beautiful images and fun facts about pufferfish!

Hosted by: Kaylee Byers and Michael Unger

Where: The Fox Cabaret

When: Wednesday February 26th; Doors @ 7, show starts @ 7:30

Tickets: Eventbrite

Poster by: Armin Mortazavi

Music by: DJ Burger


1. The History of the Speculum

Jacqueline Seppelt

Most people who have visited a gynaecologist have met the vaginal speculum, the duck-billed medical instrument used to hold open the vagina during a pelvic exam. Today, the speculum is used to diagnose, treat, and take swabs from the cervix and vagina. Most individuals would agree that these medical examinations are pretty awkward and go on without any sexual tension. However, that wasn’t the case when the vaginal speculum was reintroduced to modern medicine during the 19th-century. The vaginal speculum has a dramatic history filled with sexual accusations and questionable professional integrity. This history continues to have implications on the people behind the vaginas it meets today.

Bio: Jacqueline is an undergraduate student pursuing her BA in Sociology at the University of British Columbia. Her research interests include sexuality, gender inequality, and women’s health. She also enjoys learning about the vagina, and applying her sociological lens to the social issues surrounding reproductive and sexual health. Jacqueline is by no means an expert on the vaginal speculum, but she worked very hard on a research paper about it and would like to share it with the world outside of academia.


2. The Fascinating world of… Pufferfish

Amy Liu 

The pufferfish might be considered an overlooked fish… But watch out- the pufferfish can inflate up to three times their size and is considered the second most poisonous vertebrate on Earth, and yet, its flesh is considered a delicacy in certain parts of the world. Here’s a lesser known fact: Pufferfish are very curious and intelligent. They can be taught tricks, learn to memorize different shapes and patterns, and recognize their owners. They have also made their names both in culture and science, from ingredients in the infamous Haitian Zombie Powder to being the first vertebrate to have their whole genomes sequenced (Completed 4 years before humans!). Their relatives include the great Mola mola, the spiny porcupinefish, and the interestingly shaped boxfish. Learning about the fascinating world of Pufferfish helps understand the diversity of these amazing animals, and the challenges they are facing.

Bio: Amy Liu (she/they) is a self-proclaimed pufferfish (family Tetraodontiformes) enthusiast, and a masters student studying fish genetics at The University of British Columbia. Always drawn to the fascinating fishy science, Amy has worked closely with both fish and people at the Vancouver Aquarium, Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology, Parks Canada, and local aquarium stores. If there was a happy place on earth for them, it would be going back to snorkel in Belize, happily swimming with the puffers in the blue ocean.


3. F*ckpuffins and sh*tgibbons: the secret life of new swearwords

Anne-Michelle Tessier

By the time you’re an adult, you’ve had decades of experience with your native language’s words and sound patterns, and you can use that amazingly fine-tuned linguistic experience to perform advanced tasks like inventing new obscene insults for your least favorite people on the internet. As it turns out, English-speaking people have fairly consistent intuitions about which swear words sounds best — but those intuitions rely on our unconscious knowledge of English, and they come from a variety of cognitive sources and biases. What are those sources and biases? Where do they come from? And why is it so satisfying to call someone a sh*tgibbon? … The science of linguistics has answers, and there’s a lot of terrific obscenity along the way.

Bio: Anne-Michelle Tessier just joined the UBC Linguistics faculty in 2019. She received her BA from McGill University and her Ph.D. from UMass Amherst; she has also held professorships at the University of Alberta, the University of Michigan and Simon Fraser. Most of her work focuses on how children learn to sound like native speakers of their language(s) — e.g. why they sometimes say ‘lellow pitchiks’ instead of ‘yellow pictures’ — but sh*tgibbons are one of her favorite professional hobbies.