Nerd Nite 066

Date: Wednesday, April 24
Time: 8pm
Location: High Noon Saloon (map)

The order of the night’s line-up will be announced on the Facebook event the day of the show.

How a fish could fix your broken heart, and other tales from the weird world of model organisms

Summary: It’s not uncommon to stumble on a headline about a politician mocking research on flies or worms. You might agree — what could we learn about our brains from a worm that only has a handful of brain cells? Have you ever wondered why scientists spend so much time studying weird, wiggly critters? Good news! It’s time to learn about the superpowers of the often slimy, tiny, and always wonderful animals we call “model organisms,” and what they can teach us about ourselves.

Liz Haynes

Presenter Bio: Liz is a North Carolina transplant who journeyed northwards be a postdoctoral fellow at UW Madison’s department of Integrative Biology. She is studying how zebrafish sensory neurons search tremendous distances in complex landscapes to find their targets and wire the nervous system. Since winning the Nikon Small World in Motion competition in 2018, her work has been profiled in the LA Times, as well as in videos from Mashable and IFLScience. When she’s not doing science, she enjoys running/hiking questionable distances, gardening, and curating eventual hearing loss through attending too many concerts. You can hear her spout opinions on science, academic culture, and stupid memes on Twitter @actin_crazy or on Instagram @zebrafish_get_lit.

From Terrible Lizards to Giant Birds: A History of the Discovery and Science of Dinosaurs, and their Depictions in Films, TV, and Other Media

Summary: Since the coining of the word “Dinosauria” in 1841, this group of extinct animals has captured the imagination of the public and have become a cornerstone in fantastical media since then. However, since they’re all dead, and we only have their fossils to go off of, their exact depiction has been something of a mystery, often left to the creativity of artists or the budgetary restraints of film makers, rather than the leading theories of scientists. Occasionally, the media hits the mark for paleontological accuracy, and sometimes it doesn’t even try, but do the latest movies and games even get it right?

Nicholas Holston

Presenter Bio: Nicholas Holston graduated from UW-Oshkosh in 2008 with a Communications – Radio/TV/Film Emphasis major and a Geology minor, and now works as a substitute teacher for the Madison Metropolitan School District. He’s had a lifelong fascination with dinosaurs, despite being scared out of his mind by the raptor kitchen scene when watching Jurassic Park in the theater at the way too young age of seven. When he’s not receiving abuse from middle schoolers, you can find Nick at team trivia events, binging film critics on Youtube like Red Letter Media, or playing Ark: Survival Evolved (a 100% scientifically accurate dinosaur simulator).

Memoirs of Madness: Creative Genius and Bipolar Disorder in American Culture

Summary: “The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, desirous of everything at the same time…” Who are Kerouac’s “shooting stars”? Is “mad genius” a misnomer? Do mercurial moods beget brilliance? Do some savants inevitably suffer? In the 90s, Kay Jamison wrote that “…poetic or artistic genius, infused with fitful and inconstant moods, is a powerful crucible for imagination and experience.” But Jamison’s artists are only part of the picture.

The inspirational and the innovative. The soaring and the sagacious. Florence Nightingale. Emily Dickinson. Frank Sinatra. Catherine Zeta-Jones. Francis Ford Coppola. Virginia Woolf. Ted Turner. Steve Jobs? And more. Does the generative energy of people with mood disorders have a common flavor, or have society’s conceptualizations led us to indulge in an array of stereotypes? What does research say about creativity and bipolar disorder, and what do biographical accounts of some of popular culture’s most beloved geniuses beg us to ask about mental illness and creativity?

Emily Erwin-Frank

Presenter Bio: Emily Erwin-Frank, MSW is a Madison East-sider who loves to cultivate community around making social change. Her passion project is UpStage Stigma, an organization and annual show that invites artists to share stories of mental illness and emotional struggle on stage in the form of song, dance, poetry, storytelling and more. (Heads up, it’s May 17 at 8 p.m. at the High Noon!) When she’s not shamelessly plugging, she sings, pseudo-dances, learns everything she can about psychotherapy, loses personal items and befriends kind and marvelous oddballs. When she does enough yoga, she even befriends the oddball that is herself.

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