Nerd Nite 068

Date: Wednesday, Aug 28
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.

Climate Change is the Grinch: Using winter ecophysiology to predict the fate of our favorite Christmas tree species

Summary: Our summers are getting hotter, but what about the often-forgotten winter? The Christmas tree farming industry depends on the survival of wild tree populations, which live through extreme winters that dictate success in the growing season and beyond. When those soul-sucking subzero temperatures come calling, these overwintering trees must act creatively to survive. But will creativity be enough in a future of warm, unpredictable winters? Learn why winter is Russian roulette for trees, what polar vortices and midwinter heat waves can do, and how climate change is turning some species against themselves. Most importantly, come find out why Christmas trees deserve way more clout for the hard work they do all winter- and what the future might look like for our boys in green.

Rachel Jordan

Presenter Bio: Rachel is from the southern Appalachian region and refuses to leave its trees alone. Realizing that she hadn’t suffered enough during the winter in North Carolina, she moved to Wisconsin last year to start a PhD in Botany, where she continues to study the physiology of her beloved conifers. When not proselytizing about trees to innocent passersby, she enjoys backpacking, fighting people about the pronunciation of “Appalachia,” and disappointing her mother.

Of Possums and Primates: Digitally Reconstructing a Phalangeroid Masticatory Apparatus to Shed Light on the Trophic Structure of the First Primate During a Period of Diffuse Co-Evolution of the Early Tertiary

Summary:Ever wonder about the parallel evolution of phalangeroid marsupials of Australia and the Strepsirrhine primates of Madagascar and how we could use the former species to understand the ecological context surrounding the appearance of the first primate approximately 66 million years ago?

Of course you didn’t!

But despite this extremely esoteric topic, you’ll come away with a little insight as to how our understanding of primate evolution, and hence, we humans, is revealed through two taxa separated by over 160 million years of divergence.

Nicholas Reback

Presenter Bio: Nick is a medical illustrator, animator, and designer currently working for the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) in downtown Chicago, IL. There he creates visual media to educate patients, research scientists and other medical practitioners on contemporary topics in clinical medical research and discovery. He also owns and operates a freelance medical illustration company, Reback Biomedical Media.

Nicholas received his BFA in product design from the Cleveland Institute of Art in 2002. He left his career in design in 2013 to follow his true passion, medical illustration, and received his Master of Arts in Medical and Biological Illustration from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in 2017. Through his work he seeks to improve the understanding of medical and biological science for a wide range of audiences.

Tycho Brahe: He lived like a sage and died like a fool

Summary: Tycho Brahe was a Danish nobleman. Unlike super rich people today he was an astronomer and actually contributed to our understanding of the universe. He’s got a story that involves SCIENCE!, a fake nose, scandal and intrigue, and a drunken moose.

Jamie Holzhuter

Presenter Bio: Jamie’s one of Madison’s cobosses. He’s talked about a lot of things on this stage before, including the movie Serendipity and vexilollogy. This will be his first time drinking a White Claw on stage.

Nerd Nite 067

Date: Wednesday, May 29
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.

Got Wood? The Importance of Bio-Renewables and the Challenges that Remain

Summary: We are all pining to soak up some sun while enjoying the breeze, but will solar and wind be enough? Many scientific questions still loom around the idea of sprouting our own fuels and plastics, yet we don’t have the luxury of indefinitely asking questions in this realm. It can be hard to know if we are barking up the wrong tree or just missing an obvious branch in sustainability. So if you’re feeling a little green on understanding the role of plants in energy production, listen to some insights that may sway you one way or another.

Manar Alherech

Presenter Bio: Manar, having no good rationale for how he got here from New York, has found himself working on a chemistry PhD at the University of Wisconsin – Madison where he figures out how to break wood down into substances to replace crude oil. Although he has tried many hobbies in life, he ultimately relies on board games, live music, dining out at a frequency his graduate student stipend can’t support, and spending way too much time going down YouTube/Wikipedia holes while cuddled up in bed with his cats and girlfriend.

The Invisible Flood: Corruption, Secret Tunnels, and 250 Million Gallons of Water in the Windy City

Summary: On April 13, 1992, while America was busy watching Wayne’s World and jamming to Nirvana, thousands of Chicagoans were forced to evacuate their offices due to a most unusual flood. As they took buses and walked down the streets, there was no water to be found. However, if they glanced down into the river, they could see a massive whirlpool as if the plug had been pulled from a hidden drain. Known today as the Great Chicago Flood, this bizarre event has it all: drama, history, and some good old fashioned government negligence. Learn how human engineering and nature don’t always play nice, and what the implications are for a nation where flooding is becoming a new normal.

Haley Briel

Presenter Bio: Haley got her masters degrees in Urban and Regional Planning and Water Resources Management from the UW-Madison last May, and now works in town as a flood researcher for the Association of State Floodplain Managers. In addition to biking, trying new recipes, and buying potentially haunted items from antique stores, Haley spends her time being dramatically cynical about the environment and consequently ruining every party she attends. She also owns a furry cat goddess named Cricket.

Marvel-ous Motion: A Brief History of Marvel Comics in Film

Summary: By now we’ve all heard about the entertainment juggernaut that is the Marvel Cinematic Universe; Iron Man, Captain America, and the rest of the Avengers have been taking over every movie theater, website, and lunchbox for the past 11 years. But how did we end up with this particular group of Marvel superheroes? Why aren’t the X-Men involved? And what do you mean they almost made an Avengers movie starring Cher?! Come out to Nerd Nite to hear all about business deals, politics, and lucky breaks that have brought Marvel characters to the big screen over the past 75 years!

Joel Derig

Presenter Bio: Joel grew up in Boise, Idaho, before graduating with a degree in physics from Arizona State University. He moved out to Madison in 2014 to work for Epic, and somehow the brisk winters have yet to chase him away. When he’s not rambling on about the Marvel movies, Joel enjoys singing aggressively mediocre karaoke, reading too much, and telling people weird Idaho facts.

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.

Nerd Nite 065

Date: Wednesday, Mar 27
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.

Is this real life? The mysterious mind altering power of psilocybin (magic) mushrooms

Summary: These are not your regular portabella, shitake or even hen of the woods mushrooms. These special fungi contain a powerful psychoactive chemical called psilocybin, which can produce powerful experiences of altered states of consciousness in users. In this talk, we’ll explore the history of pre-Columbian use of magic mushrooms in South America, the neuroscience behind how psilocybin acts in the brain to induce psychedelic experiences, and what are the latest consensus in science/policy on these magic mushrooms. Sit back, relax, and enjoy your trip.

Sisi Li

Presenter Bio: Sisi Li received her Ph.D. in neuroscience from UW Madison and now works as a research scientist at your local prostate cancer diagnostics startup. She has previously given a Nerd Nite talk on Bitcoin. When she’s not talking to nerds, you can find her doing improv comedy with her all female indie team The Sirens, training her dog to become the next agility champion, or preaching the importance of mental health awareness.

Hippie Christmas On The Beach – How Hermit Crabs Find Homes

Summary: Picture a tropical beach. Beautiful ocean waves, swaying palm trees. Maybe someone left a Corona wedged in the sand. But guess what, you’re the size of its bottle cap – puny, mushy, and naked. What next? Time to upcycle some dead snail’s vacant crib, that’s what. Come learn how our most underrated childhood pets survive by claiming other critters’ old homes. You may have seen them in little tanks with fake plants and hot pink gravel. It’s time to meet them in the wild. They’re feisty, they’re choosy, and they’ve perfected move-in day. You’ll want to take notes for next August.

Julie Collins

Presenter Bio: Julie is a course coordinator at UW-Madison where she helps undergraduates learn biology. She has been told she’s pleasant to work with under hellish circumstances, which probably makes her the most qualified employee in academia. She spends her spare time taking cat pictures, watching Game of Thrones re-runs, and trying to learn Welsh for fun.

Water & Rice & Everything Nice

Summary: A brief dive into the production and categorization of saké intended to equip you with the tools to impress your boring, California-roll friends.

Jeff Spear

Presenter Bio: Jeff is a Minnesota transplant. He graduated from UW-Madison with a BA in History in 2012 and later that year began bartending to pay the rent. In 2014, he became the bar manager at an Asian-inspired restaurant with a full cocktail/bar program by the name of Sujeo. He’s still there to this day. Two and a half years ago he married my lovely wife, Katya, and this upcoming June we’re expecting our first child–a baby boy!

Nerd Nite 064

Date: Wednesday, Feb 27
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.

Fluorescence microscopy: looking into the microcosmos with lasers

Summary: When people think about biological research, they think about test tubes, pipette and unholy dissection (or what we call microsurgery). However, modern microscopy technology is stirring up a new revolution in biology. Instead of inferring biological phenomenon from abstract data (like genetic sequences and protein mass specs data), we microscopists look at the biological structure directly using lasers and fluorescence protein. From developmental biology, neurobiology to behavioral studies, Henry will take you through a microcosmos you have never seen before!

Henry He

Presenter Bio: Henry is a (hopefully last year) PhD student studying microscopy and bioimage analysis at Max Planck Institute for Cell biology and genetics. Henry works at the Morgridge Institute for Research (in the basement, with no windows). When he’s not pulling his hair in front of a microscope, he enjoys volunteering, watching movies, traveling and taking photos of random things.

What if they don’t pay in 30 days? Factoring, Accounts Receivable Financing, and filling the cash cycle gap

Summary: Invoicing for products or services is, technically, a type of short-term credit that the supplier or seller extends to the purchaser. But because the supplier is giving their client extra time to pay, it could make things tough when the supplier’s bills come due. How does the supplier fill that gap if traditional financing – from a bank or credit union – won’t work for them?

Catherine Killam

Presenter Bio: Catherine is currently working as a software product specialist for Jack Henry and Associates. She previously worked as a classical singer, a tour guide, and a skin care “consultant”, none of which stuck. Tonight’s topic is inspired entirely by her new job, as her company took a total flyer on someone who knew nothing about commercial lending products when they hired her.

Drum Corps: Creating Towards Perfection

Summary: Drum corps may be something that you once witnessed as a child. Perhaps you saw it on PBS, or maybe you attended a show on a summer evening. Regardless of how familiar you are with it, I’ll show you what it is that makes drum corps so special and unique. I’ll also discuss how any fan of theatre, cinema, dance, math, athletics, visual arts and design, and (obviously) music can find a way to appreciate something about this sport.

Christopher Adams

Presenter Bio: Christopher holds no advanced degrees, and probably hasn’t spoken on a stage since…2001-ish? He also hasn’t drummed on a stage since around 2005 and it shows. That is, if you don’t count a handful of remarkable karaoke renditions of Beck’s “Sexx Laws”. If you weren’t there, you missed out on something amazing.

Nerd Nite 063

Date: Wednesday, Jan 23
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.

Spongebob and drugs: Finding new medical compounds in sponges to fight disease

Summary: Many modern medicines are derived from molecules originally found in nature. As humanity faces an increase in antibiotic-resistant infections and aggressive cancers, we must now turn to our oceans in search of new drugs. This talk will briefly outline how new and exciting compounds are identified in marine sponges (and other invertebrates) and how we plan on exploiting natural processes to make loads of new medicines without destroying the incredible diversity that our oceans have to offer.

Sam Waterworth

Presenter Bio: Sam is a postdoctoral research associate at School of Pharmacy at the UW. Sam comes standard with a silly accent, as she’s recently moved here from sunny South Africa, where she completed her PhD at Rhodes University. If she’s not in the lab playing with squishy gross things and fighting with computers, Sam likes to spend her time going on adventures with her better half, drinking wine with her friends and generally talking too much.

Other Side of the Buy Box: Selling on Amazon

Summary: You click the buy now button and two days later you get a package. Let’s see behind the scenes and get an in-depth view of what happens in the warehouses and from the perspective of a small business making and selling their product on Amazon. Your shopping experience will make a lot more sense after this.

Bob Baddeley

Presenter Bio: Bob is a computer engineer and develops Internet-connected sensors that help people with asthma and COPD for Madison startup Propeller Health. He’s also a member at Sector67, the local makerspace, and in his spare time he sews costumes to sell on Amazon.

Music at a subconscious level: Your ears might not hear it, but your brain does!

Summary: We all know music can affect the brain in weird ways. It makes us feel different emotions. We naturally want to move to it. But did you ever think about how it can be reaching our subconscious? Using several pop songs as examples, we will explore how the brain is able to recognize subtle changes in music that we typically do not perceive at a conscious level.

Dave Alcorn

Presenter Bio: Dave has an undergraduate and masters degree in music performance. He’s toured the United States as a soloist, chamber and orchestra musician. While playing mostly classical music, Dave has a soft spot for pop music and will rock out to Britney Spears any day of the week. Now a retired drummer, Dave switched career paths and works in digital marketing and freelances as a videographer. He is an avid fan of hockey and Disney movies.

Nerd Nite 062

Date: Wednesday, Nov 28
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.

Shedding light on Neon; The craft of Neon Glass Blowing

Summary: A brief overview of the process in creating a neon light.

Thomas Zickuhr

Presenter Bio: For the past 20 years Tom has been a working neon glass artist. Working in fine art, commercial neon, and in education. Tom owns and operates Neon Lab, a Madison based neon sign shop as well as being an instructor for Neon: Light as Sculpture at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Lemurs and Recreation

Summary: Did you know that there are over 110 different species of lemur ranging in size from approximately 3 inches to almost 3 feet? If not, no need to panic. This talk will hopefully teach you about the diversity of lemurs in Madagascar, some interesting facts about them, and help you to remember by associating different lemur species with your favorite Parks and Recreation characters. That’s right, grab a waffle, a calzone, or some Lagavulin and get ready to Treat Yo Self to some new lemur knowledge!

Mary Dinsmore

Presenter Bio: Mary is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Wisconsin – Madison, (hopefully) in her final year. She studies how natural and human disturbances impact the behavior and habitat of a critically endangered lemur in Madagascar. When not traveling and learning about animals, she loves watching television (including, as you guessed it, Parks and Rec, as well as Frasier), listening to podcasts, hanging with her curvaceous cat Franklin, and searching for the best happy hour in town.

Germs and Nation Building

Summary: Take a look at food production and livestock cultivation and how it led to the eventual rise of the European powers. And how agriculture and bacteria influenced Western military invasion of the Americas.

Liam Walsh

Presenter Bio: From Liam: “I am an abstract artist, a concrete analyst, and a ruthless bookie. Critics worldwide swoon over my original line of corduroy evening wear. I don’t perspire. My deft floral arrangements have earned me fame in international botany circles. Children trust me.
I am a dynamic figure, often seen scaling walls and crushing bricks. I translate ethnic slurs for Cuban refugees, I write award-winning operas, I manage time efficiently.
I woo women with my sensuous and god-like trombone playing. I cook Thirty-Minute Brownies in 20 minutes. I am an expert in stucco, a veteran in love and an outlaw in Peru.

Using only a hoe and a large glass of water, I once single-handedly defended a small village in the Amazon Basin from a horde of ferocious army ants. I play bluegrass cello.

I balance, I weave, I dodge, I frolic, and my bills are all paid. I have made extraordinary four-course meals using only a citrus and a toaster oven. I breed prize-winning clams. I have won bullfights in San Juan, cliff-diving competitions in Sri Lanka, and spelling bees at the Kremlin. I have played Hamlet, I have performed open heart surgery, and I have spoken with Elvis.”

Nerd Nite 061

Date: Wednesday, Oct 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.

Ghost Particles and other ~Tales from the Ice~

Summary: Learn about the elusive neutrino and the ambitious project decades in the making that made capturing one a reality: IceCube, a cubic kilometer detector frozen under the ice at the South Pole. Neutrinos can escape from the most violent astrophysical sources in distant corners of the universe and reach us here on Earth. These sources could include exploding stars, gamma-ray bursts, and highly energetic blazars. Harnessing the power of the neutrino can provide answers to some of the most pressing questions facing astrophysics today. What’s a blazar? What does it take to do science in one of the harshest climates on Earth? What antediluvian horrors did we unearth during construction? Come find out.

Zach Griffith

Presenter Bio: Zach is a PhD Candidate in astroparticle physics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. While Zach mainly uses IceCube to look for very high energy photons, he hasn’t been very successful, and will focus on the cool stuff tonight. Outside of research, he enjoys contributing to open-source software, good coffee, good coffee stouts, and afternoons of galactic conquest playing Twilight Imperium.

How a Microscope Will Save The World… and perhaps ruin a person

Summary: Rob will show you what a very special microscope can do to improve the world and recount his travel around the world promoting the technology that will make him a better person (if it doesn’t ruin him).

Rob Ulfrig

Presenter Bio: Rob has been working with Atom Probe Microscopes at CAMECA in Madison since 2001 improving the hardware and software for the Local Electrode Atom Probe Microscope. He now works as a Product Manager – integrating the activities and requests from internal and external customers into the latest and greatest of CAMECA’s software and hardware. Rob graduated from The University of Wisconsin-Madison with Materials Science, Nuclear Engineering, and Engineering Physics degrees.

The Irregulars: How Women Soldiers Found Their Own Freedom in the American Civil War

Summary: Viewed at the time (and even still) largely as rare curiosities at best and disgraced deviants at worst, hundreds of women were documented to have passed as men and joined up, North and South, to participate in the American Civil War. How did they do it? Why did they do it? From spies, drummers, soldiers, scouts, nurses, and more, women joined and served for a wide variety of reasons, and with varying degrees of success. One was only discovered once she gave birth in camp. Another immediately gave it away by trying to put on trousers like a dress. Still more served with distinction, died of wounds and illness, or even lived out the rest of their lives in their male identities before being discovered by the doctor at their veteran’s home.

Learn a few of their stories (including some of the tricks of the trade, as told/lived by the younger, Civil War reenactor self of your presenter), and why their very lives and legacies helped pave the way for women’s rights–without waiting for anyone’s permission.

Emily Mills

Presenter Bio: Emily is a lifelong queer nerd, history geek, and former Civil War reenactor. She’s currently the Editor of Our Lives, the LGBTQ magazine out of Madison, as well as General Manager of Madison Roller Derby (formerly known as Mad Rollin’ Dolls). You may know her from such queer feminist trash rock duos as Damsel Trash, for which she plays the drums and screams.

Emily is about to finish (and hopes to publish in some form) a novel that’s a fictionalized account of a young woman who dressed as a man to serve with the Union Army during the Civil War. Yeah, she’s kinda super into this shit.

You can find her on Twitter and elsewhere @millbot, or at

Nerd Nite 060

Date: Wednesday, Sep 26
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.

Fanfiction! Give her a chance

Summary: Fanfiction is weird, wild and wonderful. Like most things considered “feminine,” it’s been deeply maligned—but give her another shot! The delightful world created by fiction and fandoms is worth your time, so let go, jump in, and get ready to read.

Megan Costello

Presenter Bio: Megan spends too much time gardening, riding her bicycle and renovating a 93-year-old old bungalow (#asbestosisthebestos) with her husband Nick who never stops watching all the sports games.

Exploration and Production of Oil: Oilfield technology and engineering

Summary: Finding and extracting oil that is miles underground is no easy task. Companies must use increasingly advanced technology to discover and produce remaining oil reserves. Giant microphones, supercomputers, radioactive material, and plenty of explosives are all used to get black gold out of the ground and on it’s way to the refinery.

Clay Monahan

Presenter bio: Clay worked as an open hole wireline field engineer for an oilfield services company in Bakersfield, CA. He managed a truck and crew that performed onsite oil well data collection and analysis (more on that in the presentation). He has since moved back to the Midwest and now works as an energy efficiency engineer here in Madison, so he’s on his way to making up for his time spent plundering the earth’s natural resources.

Metal For Mettle: The French Narrative Medal

Summary: What do syphilis, fork swallowing, coal mining, tapping rubber trees and redeeming yourself in prison have in common? Why, these topics, and many more, were all subjects for a freewheeling, fifty year run of the French Narrative Medal. If you showed your mettle as doctor, scientist or man of business, chances are that you might have metal struck for you, as the subject of a commemorative medal during the period 1870-1920.

In France the kings were gone and the country was at the forefront of medicine, science, technology during a period in art that was intensely romantic and emotional. All of this come together in the commemorative medal. It was tiny, but it was the world in the palm of your hand.

Tom Garver

Presenter bio: Tom is a retired art historian. He says that, he doesn’t know if he was ever a ‘young Turk’ or not, but he’s definitely turned into an old fart. He used to love contemporary art but now collects little bits of old metal that really tell some great stories. He’s written a couple of books, worked in art museums around the country, helped build a nice art collection for Rayovac Corporation, when they still existed, and created a museum of railroad photos in Roanoke, Virginia.

He adds: “Hearing my talk, Metal for Mettle: The French Narrative Medal, along with some beer, will make you the person you want to be!”

Nerd Nite 059

Date: Wednesday, Aug 29
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.

The secret history of women and nonbinary folks in tech

Summary: More than 50 years ago, a Catholic nun received one of the first ever PhDs in computer science, and she did so right here in Madison. Forget Steve Jobs and Alan Turing – the interesting stories are often the ones we’ve left behind. Spanning tree protocol (which led to cat memes!), inverse document frequency (hello, Google) and asynchronous software (NASA like what) all were pioneered by women you’ve probably never heard of. Let’s talk about them!

Hilary Stohs-Krause

Presenter Bio: Hilary is a lieutenant software developer at Ten Forward Consulting in Madison, WI (yes, we’re named for the bar on the Enterprise). She first started programming at age 12, when she built a Buffy the Vampire Slayer fansite with with twin sister. She speaks around the country and internationally on the intersection of tech and social impact, UX / design and the stories of nontraditional programmers. Ask her about her majestically fluffy cats.

Parking in cities: Never enough or way too much?

Summary: Since around the 1950s, American cities have built massive amounts of parking and required developers to do the same, often without knowing how any of it is being used. But as hard as parking can sometimes seem, most spots actually sit empty most of the time. Some cities are now rethinking their parking priorities—hoping to save money, cut traffic, and become more attractive places overall.

Chris McCahill

Presenter bio: Trained in engineering, Chris works at UW-Madison on transportation policy issues around the country. He’s studied parking for more than a decade and written chapters for two books on the subject. He moved to Madison in 2013, lives on the east side with his partner and two cats, and rides a bike everywhere he goes.

Medical imaging of non-medical objects

Summary: Medical imaging offers incredible insight into the inner workings of the body, enabling physicians and medical researchers to make highly detailed images of a living, breathing human. Imaging has revolutionized the practice of modern medicine, allowing doctors to quickly diagnose and treat conditions without the need for guesswork or gruesome and ineffective exploratory surgery.

So what is the first thing a new imaging researcher does when she or he gets to use the scanner for the first time on her own? Throw in a pineapple, or a piece of fruit. Or take a CT scan of your laptop. Come on a journey exploring all of the cool, crazy, and downright weird things that have been scanned with medical imaging devices that are not patients, and in the process learn a thing or two about how these images are made.

Sam Hurley

Presenter bio: Sam is an assistant scientist in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) physics at the University of Wisconsin, Department of Radiology. He received his Ph.D. in Medical Physics from the University of Wisconsin, and worked in Clinical Neurosciences as a postdoctoral MRI physicist at the University of Oxford in the UK. His work is focused on developing new ways to measure the structure and function of the brain with MRI, specifically how brain regions are connected to one another. In his free time, he enjoys attending concerts, playing bass guitar, travel, scuba diving, and working on electronics and software projects. He also has a strong interest in general aviation, and is currently working on his FAA private pilot’s license.