Fractions and ratios and proportions, oh my! – Nerd Nite at Science World

Nerd Nite is going on a field trip once again! This time at Science World! To celebrate the opening of the new exhibit “Math Moves”, we’ll have three talks on different perspectives on Math, but best of all, IT’S FREE.

We’ll have drinks for sale, and time to peruse the gallery, but you’ll need to reserve a ticket, and they’ll be in high demand with limited capacity, so don’t miss out!

Where: Telus Wold of Science

When: Wednesday September 27th; Doors @ 7

Tickets: Eventbrite


Sophie Johns – “The Contagious Cancer Threatening Tasmanian Devils with Extinction and How Mathematics Can Help”

Think back to your last mathematics class, you might have been left wondering how this information would possibly help you in adult life. You may be surprised how often mathematics is used to advise decision makers and how it is being used to better understand the world around us. For instance, epidemiology is an area of mathematics dedicated to understanding diseases. These models can be used to uncover many aspects of diseases such as – how they spread, immunisation requirements, and even how host and diseases evolve. Take the Tasmanian Devil for example. This Australian marsupial is being threatened with extinction by a transmissible cancer. The understanding and perspective provided by mathematical models of this disease will help conservation efforts and hopefully save the species from the brink of extinction.

Sophie Johns is in her first year of a biology PhD. Rather than doing laboratory experiments or field research, Sophie is using mathematics to explore evolutionary and ecological dynamics. Her current PhD project is on the Tasmanian Devil’s facial tumour disease, a rare form of transmissible cancer. She’s based at the Australian National University but is current on exchange with Sally Otto at the University of British Columbia.


Nikki Berreth – “Patterns of Choice”

Sometimes it can feel impossible to make a decision. However, most of our choices are so simple, they are almost instinctual: like choosing a bathroom stall, crossing the road or picking a partner! Learn more about the mathematical patterns behind the choices we make.

Nikki Berreth is an experienced science communicator and educator working in Vancouver, BC. When she is not entertaining the masses at with math and science, she is nerding out over new media for sharing science. Her most current endeavour – crocheted fractal patterns!


Mark MacLean

Mark MacLean is a Professor of Mathematics at the University of British Columbia and is interested in how we learn to understand mathematics. Professor MacLean is the a co-creator of UBC’s Science One Program and is the creator of animated children’s stories inspired by mathematics found in Aboriginal storytelling. In recognition of his contributions to mathematics education in Canada, Professor MacLean was awarded the Adrien Pouliot Award in 2015.

et al. Too!: The Ultimate Science Bar Night – Sold Out!

Et Al Too!: The Ultimate Bar Science Night

Where: The Fox Cabaret

When: Wednesday September 20th; Doors @ 7

Tickets: Eventbrite

Anecdotal Evidence + Cafe Scientifique + Curiosity Collider + Nerd Nite + Science Slam

You like science? You like drinking while sciencing? In Vancouver there are many options to get educated and inspired through science, art, and culture in a casual bar setting outside of universities. There’s Nerd Nite which focuses on nerdy lectures in the Fox Cabaret, Anecdotal Evidence a science based storytelling show, Curiosity Collider which creates events that bring together artists and scientists, as well as Cafe Scientifique the long running series which focuses on one single speaker to engage in discussions while at the bar, and just this past we have been introduced to Science Slam, a poetry slam for scientists!

September 20th at the Fox Cabaret, all five institutions will team for the ultimate bar science night, Et al. This show is one night only, and not to be missed, and plus it’s Science Literacy Week to boot! Last year this event sold out very quickly, so don’t miss out!


Dr. Scott Sampson

Scott Sampson is a dinosaur paleontologist, science communicator, and passionate advocate for connecting people with nature. He currently serves as president and CEO of Science World British Columbia in Vancouver, B.C., where much of his work focuses on rethinking 21st Century cities as places where people and nature thrive.

Nerd Nite Summer Break!

Nerd Nite is taking a brief hiatus over July and August. We’ll be back in September for more Nerdy fun. In the meantime, stay connected on Facebook for updates on lots of other Nerdy events going on in Vancouver throughout the summer!

Nerd Nite v28 – Sharks, Beavers, and Cartoon Therapy

It seems like forever since we’ve seen you! The Fox plumbing has been sorted out and we have a sweet send off before we take a summer break. We’ve got lots to celebrate! It’s Canada’s 150 plus anniversary so we have a classic beaver talk, it’s men’s mental health month so we’ve got a talk on that, plus we’re also going to kick off the YVR Food Fest, and as an added bonus your ticket will be good to stay for the party which starts right after Nerd Nite at the Fox!

Where: The Fox Cabaret

When: Wednesday, June 28th; Doors @ 7

Tickets: online


Poster image by: Armin Mortazavi
Instagram: @armin.scientoonist

Photos by: Stephanie Chan

1. Everything I Need to Know in Life I Learned From a Shark

David Shiffmann 

Learn about the wonderful world of sharks and rays from marine biologist Dr. David Shiffman! David has interacted with thousands of sharks of more than 50 species all over the world. In this talk, he’ll share fun facts about these amazing animals, and share lessons learned from his dream job.

Bio: Dr. David Shiffman is a Liber Ero Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Simon Fraser University, where his research focuses on the sustainability of Canadian shark fisheries. He is also an award winning science communicator who has written about sharks for the Washington Post, Scientific American, and other outlets. Follow him on twitter @WhySharksMatter

2. Cartoon Therapy

Armin Mortazavi 

3. Beavers

Lesley Fox

Move over Captain America, Wonder Woman and Spiderman. Beavers are the true superheroes. They clean water, create and maintain vital wetlands, prevent drought, change landscapes and can even build dams so large you can see them from space (actually, that story got blown out of proportion – but the dam was huge). Beavers are also furry, family-oriented and adorable. Sadly, they’re also killed by the thousands for their fur and because some people consider them to be a “nuisance”. Why is there a disconnect between what we know about beavers and how we treat them? What solutions exist to prevent conflict so beavers can exercise their superpowers without interfering with people, and vice versa? Discover the incredible life of beavers, the role they play in our ecosystems, and how we can all help them realize their true place among our favourite superheroes.

Bio: Lesley Fox is the Executive Director of The Fur-Bearers, a national non-profit organization dedicating to protecting fur-bearing animals in the wild and confinement. She is also a certified Humane Education Specialist through the National Association for Humane and Environmental Education (NAHEE), and graduated with honours from the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) in Public Relations, Marketing Communications and Non-Profit Management. Lesley lives in Vancouver and enjoys reading and volunteering in her spare time.

Nerd Nite v.27

You didn’t think we were going to forget about April did you? Well we had a little issue with some plumbing at the Fox, so we’re having a special beginning of the month Nerd Nite! We have an amazing lineup once again including some fun prizes and special appearances! Limited early nerd tickets are available, so get on it!

Featuring special appearance by:Carson Kivari, winner of March edition of Science Slam!

Where: The Fox Cabaret

When: Tuesday, May 2nd; Doors @ 7

Tickets: online

Poster image by: Armin Mortazavi
Instagram: @armin.scientoonist

Photos by:
Music by: DJ Bürger

#1. Big stuff from small stuff: Nanomaterials and their applications

Bonnie Gray

Bio: Dr. Bonnie Gray Ph.D, is a Professor at the School of Engineering Science at Simon Fraser University.


#2. Burlesque

Burgundy Brixx 

Bio: Burgundy Brixx (aka Kyrst Hogan) is a professional singer, dancer, actress, comedienne and neo-burlesque artist. She practices these skills both individually and merged to create neo-cabaret performance art. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Theatre with a Minor in Dance.

#3. I love dead things… and you can too!

Nicole Balsdon 

Natural history museums are stuffed to the gills with strange creatures, crumbling papers, dark corners, and of course, dead things. Why do we have buildings full of this stuff, and where do they come from? Together, we will embrace the macabre mystique of cabinets of curiosities, and even get to touch real museum objects, so that the amazing stories of science can unfold, right under your fingertips.”

Bio: Nicole Balsdon is the Education & Outreach Coordinator at UBC’s Beaty Biodiversity Museum. She is passionate about science communication, museums, program evaluations, and lifelong learning!

Nerd Nite v26

The Earth is equalizing. We all know March marks the Equinox, this year it is March 20th, but perhaps you were one of those geeks that loved staring at sunrise and sunset tables, and realized that the equinox doesn’t correlate with a day of equal day and equal night. Do you remember the day that you figured this out, that it was your latitude on Earth that determined which day brought equal day and night, which we now call Equilux (for Vancouverites it’s March 17th)? If you do remember, or perhaps you remember when someone shared that information with you, or maybe you just learned it now. Do you remember that feeling when you did? That excitement, and giddy shake you get when you learn something cool? There is a place where you can go and nerd out with weird, wonderful, nerdy tidbits to share, learn and help you feel that feeling which we call “The Nerdering”. That place is called Nerd Nite.

Where: The Fox Cabaret

When: Wednesday, March 29th; Doors @ 7

Tickets: online

Poster image by: Armin Mortazavi @armin.scientoonist
Photos by:
Music by: DJ Bürger

This month’s speakers:

Jared Stang -“Modern Physics and Past Regrets: Practical Time Travel Tips

The seasons change, years pass by, and time pushes us inexorably forward. Wouldn’t it be nice to slow it all down and take a break from the constant march toward the future—or even go back? Take a minute to find out how Einstein showed that the reality of time may be more personal than you think.

Bio: Jared Stang is a researcher and instructor at UBC and an instructor at Langara College. He spent years solving equations on his computer as a student at UBC, and eventually received his PhD in theoretical physics. Now, Jared spends his time teaching, studying how people learn physics, and wondering how we can help people overcome their acute fear of what he believes is a friendly and interesting subject. Also, he likes learning new things, and can sort of pretty much juggle.

Paige Frewer – “Gender Peformance”

Paige “Ponyboy” Frewer is a gender fluid glam king and the producer-host of Man Up, a drag show and queer dance party that is celebrating its 9th anniversary this month. Paige studied Environmental Science and Dialogue at SFU.

Scott Pownall – “CRISPR Bacon and Fun Things with Genome Editing”

Hailed as the biggest biotech breakthrough of the century, scientists have co-opted the CRISPR microbial immunity system for use in genome editing. Sixty four years after the discovery of the structure of DNA, CRISPR gene editing is causing a major upheaval in biomedical research and it’s discovery has lead to a gargantuan patent war at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Let’s explore CRISPR, what it is and where are we going with it.

Bio: Scott Pownall is a scientist, biohacker and entrepreneur who is passionate about breaking down the barriers people face when trying to engage with DNA technologies. In June of 2015, with the help of an awesome bunch of citizen scientists, he co-founded Open Science Network; a BC incorporated non-profit society, and established Vancouver’s first community biolab. He has a lifelong passion and curiosity for the world around him particularly in the areas of biology. In the early 1980s he switched focus from electronics engineering to studying biotechnology after reading an article in the Melbourne Age on the then new Gene Machines. This lead him to complete his doctoral research in Genetics from the University of British Columbia. His academic research focus was on (old-school) genome editing in mice. Scott received numerous awards and scholarships including from the Australian Society of Microbiologists, the Canadian Arthritis Society, the Medical Research Council of Canada and the National Cancer Institute of Canada. He participated in the first human genome jamboree at Celera – the company that sequenced the human genome.

Nerd Nite v.25

What do Jules Verne, Charles Darwin, Ray Kurzweil, Chuck Yeager, Nicolaus Copernicus, Galileo Galilei, and Steve Jobs all have in common? They’re all famous white male scientists that have birthdays in February. But for every famous male scientist there’s a female scientist that deserves just as much recognition like Lydia DeWitt, Elizabeth Blackwell, Mary Douglas Leakey, Ruth Sager, Aletta Henriette Jacobs, Agnes Mary Clerke, Margaret Knight, Margaret Warner Morley, Agnes Arber, or Ida Noddack. If you don’t know who any of those ladies are, look them up, and come with a nerdy tidbit about one of them and share it with us!

Where: The Fox Cabaret

When: Wednesday, February 22nd; Doors @ 7

Tickets: online

Poster image by: Armin Mortazavi @armin.scientoonist
Photos by:
Music by: DJ Bürger
Poster: Armin Mortazavi

Poster: Armin Mortazavi

1. People and Pollinators: Opportunity in the Inner City

Sarah Common

In the hustle of daily city life people and activity surround us, and yet isolation is pervasive. Disconnected from land, food and community, penned in by consumption and convenience, our culture is fractured. Our ecosystems and communities are falling into crises. With diminishing populations of pollinators, increasing poverty, marginalization and disparity, hope for our future can be difficult to find and maintain. Think Blade Runner.

But there is hope, for people and pollinators alike: together we can turn the cultural tides. After all, revolutions are built on hope. By building inclusive green spaces in the heart of a city, you build communities. Here, a diversity of plants, pollinators and people will thrive, regardless of perceived worth, capacity, or socio-economic capital.

The bees have sweet little knees; they have specific but simple needs. This talk will give you tools to build your relationship with them. And then you won’t be that person at the party staring blankly into space thinking “the bees are dying at an alarming rate.”

Bio: Sarah is the co-founder, CEO and Chief Community Officer, Hives for Humanity Society She is a support worker, beekeeper and gardener in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver (DTES). She is passionate about fostering vibrant and healthy community through empowerment and education, and believes in the profound impact of connecting individuals and communities to their land, food and spirit.

2. Looking at rocks with physics

Lindsey Heagy

What killed the dinosaurs? Where is the billion-dollar gold deposit that will make me rich!? What these questions have in common is that we need to examine the rock-record beneath the surface. Similar to non-invasive medical imaging, where an MRI is used to generate images of your brain, in geophysics, we use gravity, seismic and electromagnetics, to make images of subsurface geology.

Bio: Lindsey Heagy is a PhD student in the Geophysical Inversion Facility at UBC studying numerical geophysics and the application of electromagnetics for monitoring subsurface injections: eg. carbon capture and storage, and hydraulic fracturing. She is a project-lead on (, an effort to build collaborative, interactive, web-based textbooks.

3.  Chasing Atlantis: A Documentary About Not Going to Space

Matthew Cimone

Inspired by the final flight of the space shuttle – Shuttle Atlantis – Matthew Cimone, joined by director Paul Muzzin, embarks on a journey to reconnect with a lost childhood dream of being an astronaut. During his travels, Matthew interviews current and retired astronauts, scientists, science fiction writers, actors, and other space enthusiasts to discover why – as Carl Sagan said – the Sky Calls to Us.

Bio: Matthew Cimone, inspired by Star Trek, grew up believing that life is about exploring the universe and doing good. Having studied International Development at the University of Toronto, Matthew spent 2004-2005 working in Sierra Leone, and in 2006 was named a UN Youth Ambassador. Over 70,000 people have heard Matthew’s speeches where he often combines his passions for social justice and space. His TEDx talk “Why Diamonds in Space Inspire Me to Support a School in West Africa” challenges audiences to consider the value of life from a cosmic perspective and to see the world as we do from space; without borders. In 2012 Matthew became Co-Founder and CEO of Esther’s Echo, a non-profit that supports a school for vulnerable girls and women in Sierra Leone. He currently lives in Vancouver as a Residence Life Coordinator at Simon Fraser University and a volunteer at the Trottier Observatory and Science Courtyard.

Nerd Nite v. 24


2017 is here, and Nerd Nite is kicking off our third year in style with being part of the nationwide travelling celebration Innovation 150. Here at Nerd Nite we pride ourselves with providing a forum for not only presenters to share their innovative ideas, but also attendees. This month we got three awesome nerds!

Where: The Fox Cabaret

When: Wednesday, January 25th; Doors @ 7

Tickets: online

Photos by:
Music by: DJ Bürger

1.  The Relatives You Can Never Meet: Learning more about ourselves via multidisciplinary approaches to archaeology

Rhy McMillan 

Who are we, where did we come from, and what does it mean to be us? As humans, we are members of a big family with a complex history. However, our ancient ancestors’ stories are difficult to read, because they were recorded in the earth and not with pen and paper. Thus, the only way to learn their stories is by examining the bones, teeth, and artifacts they left behind. Interpreting the meaning of such objects is an archaeologist’s task. The physical evidence of our ancestors is a finite resource, so archaeologists are challenged to minimally alter and not destroy the materials they study. This raises an important question: how can we obtain as much information as possible from bones, teeth, and artifacts while simultaneously preserving them? In this talk, I will investigate the range of techniques available to researchers for reading the stories of our ancestors and highlight some interesting case studies that bring us a little closer to the relatives you can never meet.

Bio: Rhy is a PhD Candidate in Pacific Centre for Isotopic and Geochemical Research at the Department of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences at UBC. Rhy’s  research involves developing quasi-non-destructive methods for collecting data from archaeological materials with techniques adapted from earth science. Rhy study how bones and teeth deteriorate post-mortem, what the geochemical signatures in animals and humans can tell us about an individual’s life and death, and how linking artifacts to their geologic sources can elucidate the complexities of past human migration and trade. With ever-improving analytical capabilities and interdisciplinary collaboration, researchers are answering questions about our past more accurately and with less impact on the archaeological record than ever before.

2. Improv and the Pursuit of Controlled Chao

Amy Shostak

Amy will share with you her passion for theatrical improvisation, and discuss the balancing act that makes some improv shows more extraordinary than others.

Bio: Amy started improvising with Edmonton’s Rapid Fire Theatre in 2002, and she served as Artistic Director of that company for six years. Amy now lives in Vancouver, where she is involved with Instant Theatre, Vancouver Theatresports League, and Blind Tiger Comedy. She is a skilled instructor of both short and long form improvisation, and has traveled to many festivals around the globe. When not improvising, Amy performs sketch comedy with her duo Gossamer Obsessions. She is passionate about civic engagement, nachos and heavy metal. Twitter: @shostakattack

3. Quantum Matter

Andrew MacDonald and Ellen Schelewr

Bio: Andrew MacDonald and Ellen Schelew are both PhD candidate in Physics at UBC, and work out of the Stewart Blusson Quantum Matter Institute.

Photos by:
Music by: DJ Bürger

Nerd Nite v. 23

2016 is coming to a close, and we’re kicking off our final Nerd Nite of the year with an amazing lineup! We’ve met so many amazing friends this year , let’s celebrate the holidays together over science and drinks!

Where: The Fox Cabaret

When: Tuesday, November 22nd; Doors @ 7

Tickets: online


#1. The Future of Money

Meena Sandhu

Adjunct Professor, Marketing and Behavioural Science Division


#2. Volcanoes – What Makes them so Super Anyway?

Lucy Poritt

When volcanoes erupt the raw power of nature is unleashed, the earth shakes as magma surges to the surface and new land is born. Let us take you on a global volcanic adventure as we discover where all that magma comes from and why some volcanoes are much more explosive than others.

Bio: Lucy is a Researcher, volcanologist, economic geologist and UBC lecturer


#3. Mission to Asteroid Bennu

Catherine Johnson

Professor planetary geophysics – UBC


Photos by: Lindsays Diet

Nerd Nite v. 22

Is October a nerd’s favourite month? It’s the month when you can finally break out your Harry Potter or Dr. Who scarf. It’s also the the month when you don’t feel guilty about staying indoors and playing Heartstone or binge watch Silicon Valley. It’s also happens to be the month that has two Nerd Nite Vancouver events! We’re celebrating our second show this month by celebrating our city by looking at it through an archeolgist’s eyes, we take a look at spooky ailement called Aphantasia, and finally we’ll learn about the Agile Manifesto and the lessons that can be applied to science communication.

Where: The Fox Cabaret

When: Wednesday, October 26th; Doors @ 7

Tickets: online

#1. What It’s Like to Instantly Forget What Friends and Lovers Look Like

Trevor Risk 

Most of us take our memory for granted, or at least the visual part of it. Imagine for a moment what it would be like to instantly forget the faces of loves ones, how to get around your neighbourhood, or how to draw a simple concept. Furthermore, imagine what it’s like to not possess the ability to even imagine. This talk will dive into the fairly recent probes into what’s known as “Aphantasia” or the condition of being blind in one’s “mind’s eye”.

Bio: Trevor Risk is a DJ, writer, and a frontman. He’s a punishingly unstoppable bon vivant who’s living out loud.


#2 An Artsy Science-y Guide to Working with People Outside of Your Field

Armin Mortazavi 

As Armin recounts his tales of hustling as a science cartoonist, he dissects his lessons learned into a step-by-step guide on how to work and communicate with people who have different professional backgrounds. Even those suit-wearing business types.

Bio: Armin Mortazavi is a cartoonist and scientist. He has spent the past year drawing comics to teach kids about their health. He currently works at Science World and sometimes spends too much money at Wendy’s. Armin is passionate about science communication and its power to shape society.

#3 Indiana Joanna and the City You Thought You Knew

Aviva Finkelstein 

How much do you know about the history of Vancouver? Sure you know about Captain Vancouver and the gold rush and all that jazz but let’s go back, back back. Back to the city before the city. Vancouver is home to a rich archaeological history, thousands upon thousands of years of use and occupation happened here and most of us have no idea about the real life archaeological history of Vancouver. This talk will take you on a tour of your city like you’ve never seen it before. Let an archaeologist give you the dirt on what really lies beneath your beaches and streets, your buildings and parks. At the same time find out what a professional archaeologist does. Aside from all of the whip cracking, tomb raiding, and Nazi killing of course….

Bio: Aviva Finkelstein is a professional consulting archaeologist. She has worked in the wilds of BC as an archaeologist for the past six years. During this time she has lived in logging camps and on reserves, has commuted to work in helicopters, has been stalked by cougars and bears, and has seen a side of this Province that most people don’t get to see. She has also worked in Arizona for the White Mountain Apache, in Spain on a Roman burial ground, and in Israel on a biblical village. Her research interest include Northwest Coast history and prehistory, perishable artifacts, the collaborative and consultative process of archaeology in BC, and the dynamics of working in a male-dominated industry as a queer woman.


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