Virtual Nerd Nites Every Sunday Evening in September

As the saying goes, we’ll see you in September… Well, in this case it’s more accurate to say that we’ll stream you in September. Enjoy four virtual presentations every Sunday evening (North America time) in September, with the bulk of them focused on the skies above. Watch live online (and view the recordings) at http://www.facebook.com/nerdnite.

Sunday September 20, 2020
8pm EDT / 5pm PDT: Nerd Nite Greenville, NC
Are Martians Real?
by Chequita Brooks

Description: The red planet, Mars, has long been the focus for our hopes to encounter life outside of earth’s atmosphere. Let’s learn about some of the history of the science that has gone into looking for the real Martians, and what life might look like on the rusty planet.

Bio: PhD Student and Professional Nerd, Chequita Brooks, studies bacteria loves folklore

8:30pm EDT / 5:30pm PDT: Nerd Nite Miami
Did You Try Turning It Off and On Again?
by Morgan Van Arsdall

Description: How has the Hubble Space Telescope managed to keep operating for the last 30 years? What happens when there’s a problem? Nerd out with a Hubble engineer and learn all about their operations and anomaly response! (Spoiler alert: they have definitely tried turning it off and on again!!)

Bio: Morgan Van Arsdall is the Systems Manager and an Anomaly Response Manager for the Hubble Space Telescope program. She has been part of the Hubble Mission Operations and Systems Engineering team since 2001, participating in the last two Hubble Servicing Mission and working to make sure Hubble keeps observing the universe. Morgan lives in Maryland with her husband, who is also an aerospace engineer, their two awesome kids, and a dog.

9pm EDT / 6pm PDT: Nerd Nite Orlando
Planetpalooza: Cruising the Solar System with Captain D
by Derek Demeter

Description: For the next few months stargazers will be delighted to see four of the Solar Systems coolest planets: Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn. Join Derek Demeter, director of the Emil Buehler Planetarium as we take an interplanetary tour across the solar system and explore these worlds close up. Derek will then show you how to find these planets in the sky for your stargazing pleasure.

Bio: Derek Demeter is the director of the Emil Buehler Planetarium at Seminole State College in Sanford, Florida. Derek also enjoys promoting science beyond the planetarium with his work as an astrophotographer, which earned him pictures seen in NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day website, Universe Today, Astronomy Magazine, and Sky and Telescope.

9:30pm EDT / 6:30pm PDT: Nerd Nite DC
The Science of Science Comedy
by Kasha Patel

Description: NASA science writer Kasha Patel loves science and comedy, so she decided to combine the two to create a unique stand-up act. And it turns out audiences love science stand-up comedy as much as she does. Join Kasha as she shares funny stories and surprising insights from more than seven years of spouting science in comedy clubs. She will share her favorite jokes and dissect why they make her laugh. You may even learn how to write your own joke by the end of the talk. Follow her for daily jokes on Twitter and Instagram @KashaPatel.

Sunday September 27, 2020
8pm EDT / 5pm PDT: Nerd Nite Philadelphia
Cosmic Comics: A Tribute to Out of this World Funnybooks
by Chris Cummins


Description: Join writer and Nerd Nite Philly boss Chris Cummins as he presents an overview of the greatest science fiction humor comics ever made. Space is the place for laughs!

Bio: TBD

8:30pm EDT / 5:30pm PDT: Nerd Nite Baltimore
Shadows in Space!
by Joel Green


Description: What does depth in space mean? We looked at the play between light and shadow in the most iconic images taken by the Hubble telescope and discovered a unique phemenon, flapping” shadow in Serpens cloud, an indication of early planet formation.

Bio: Joel Green is an Instrument Scientist at the Space Telescope Science Institute, working on the Hubble Space Telescope. He studies the birth and occasionally violent death of planets and planetary systems, in the hopes of uncovering our own Solar System’s past history. Previously, Joel was the Project Scientist in the Office of Public Outreach, helping bring the science of the Hubble, Webb, and Roman telescopes to the general public, and has appeared on National Geographic and PBS Nova programs related to Hubble and Webb. Prior to joining STScI in 2015, he was a research scientist at the University of Texas at Austin. A New Yorker who spent twelve years in upstate NY, six years in Austin, and now a resident of scenic Baltimore (and co-boss of Nerd Nite Baltimore), he has acquired a fondness for crab and barbecue, cowboy boots and hats, sunshine and Civil War battlefields.

9pm EDT / 6pm PDT: Nerd Nite Calgary
A Conceptual Exploration of Living in Space and its Supporting Infrastructure
by Bryan Versteeg

Description: As humanity expands to live beyond the gravity well of Earth, we’ll need supporting infrastructure, resources and settlements. I’ll show you how that may look, and why I think we might like it.

Bio: Bryan Versteeg is a conceptual designer and artist within the space exploration industry. His focus is on human exploration and settlement, and what life may look like when we get there. Although his passions are the “home” aspects of living, he also works with numerous private space companies on concepts like asteroid mining, orbital refueling, remote sensing, and ISS replacements or additions. His images and animations have been widely used in scientific publications and documentaries to communicate the potential of life beyond Earth, from the current applications, to long term vision.

9:30pm EDT / 6:30pm PDT / 10:30am JST Monday: Nerd Nite Tokyo
Fast Radio Bursts: A Cosmic Mystery
by Don Warren


Description: Every day, thousands of times a day, Earth is hit by small blasts of radio waves from outer space. These bursts are only milliseconds long, and seem to be coming from far beyond the Solar System. What are these “fast radio bursts”? What do we know about them, or their origins? Are they produced by aliens in a galaxy far, far away? And what role do impatient Australians play in this cosmic mystery?

Bio: Don Warren is a research scientist at RIKEN in Japan. He earned his Ph.D. at NC State University in 2015, and has worked in theoretical astrophysics ever since. His primary research focus is high-energy phenomena, such as cosmic rays, supernovae, and gamma-ray bursts (though he is branching out into virtual reality and virophysics). He lives in Tokyo with his wife, his daughter, and their collection of more than a hundred board games. He is also very passionate about American food, like novelty burritos and Goldfish crackers.

Sunday September 6, 2020
8pm EDT / 5pm PDT: Nerd Nite San Diego
The Hell up There
by Gideon Marcus

Description: Before Sputnik, astronomers thought they knew what outer space would be like. But then the very first
satellites were launched — and it was clear that something very strange was going on up there. Something that threatened to stop space travel right from the start…

Bio: It’s hard to distill Gideon Marcus to just a few words. A professional space historian, an award-winning science fiction author, and a sought after presenter, Gideon’s always got a thousand plates in the air. But, in brief, Gideon is probably best known as the founder of Galactic Journey a portal to 55 years ago that won the Serling Award in 2016 and has been nominated for the Hugo three times since then. He 2019, he edited Rediscovery: Science Fiction by Women (1958-1963) a seminal anthology of some of the best works science fiction’s Silver Age. His Space Race novelette, Andy and Tina, was the lead story in 2018’s Sidewise Nominee, Tales from Alternate Earths 2, and his most recent work, Kitra, is a YA space adventure featuring themes of isolation, teamwork, and hope, featuring a queer protagonist of color. Gideon lives in San Diego County with his writer/editor wife, Janice, and their polymath artist daughter, Lorelei…along with two cats, a snake, and an immense library. He is currently hard at work on Sirena, the sequel to Kitra. It and Clairvoyages, a collection of his short stories, are due out next year.

8:30pm EDT / 5:30pm PDT: Nerd Nite Boca Raton
The Family Tree: How does the Moon Relate to the Earth
by Judy E. Wilks

Description: Let’s unravel the mysteries surrounding the Earth’s moon. Scientists have debated several theorems that would support the Lunar body’s existence. Still, three schools of thought have dominated the discussions: 1) The Giant impact hypothesis, 2) The Co-formation theory, and 3) the Capture Theory. As the first theory is widely accepted, and yet met with skepticism, the other two methods have gained some momentum based on research focused on the two planet’s densities and dynamic composition. With the call to return to the lunar surface, human exploration will delve more profoundly into resolving the mysteries that lie beneath the surface.

Bio: Judy E. Wilks holds a Master of Science in Aviation/Aerospace Operations from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and a Bachelor of Science in Airway Science Management with a Minor in Space Studies from the University of North Dakota. Currently, Judy is a Project Manager providing consulting services in transmission interconnection with National Grid. She has also served as a program manager, project manager, and project administrator on various aircraft manufacturing and avionics design related projects with Bombardier and CAE. She participated as a project engineering consultant on the launch team of the CanadArm-2 and on the preliminary design team of the Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator (SPDM) [aka Dextre] with the Canadian Space Agency on the International Space Station Project. With the continuous desire to expand her aviation/aerospace knowledge and career, Judy joined NSBE in early 2016 and is a current member of the NSBE Aerospace SIG.

9pm EDT / 6pm PDT / 11am AEST Monday: Nerd Nite Melbourne
The Second Law of Thermodynamics, and Other Civilization-Ending Cataclysms
by Mark B Richardson

Description: Mark talks about the most likely scenarios for the end of human civilization.

9:30pm EDT / 6:30pm: PDT: Nerd Nite North Vancouver
What Do You Do When Your Childhood Dream Literally Flies Away?
by Matthew Cimone

Description: Embark on a journey of one man’s childhood dream of becoming an astronaut and how he made space a part of his life again after seeing the final flight of Shuttle Atlantis

Bio: Matthew Cimone is a science communicator who grew up watching Star Trek learning that life is about exploring and forging a family as you do. He believes exploration should be an act of empathy toward others, the universe, and ultimately yourself. He also makes decent pasta sauce.

Sunday September 13, 2020
8pm EDT / 5pm PDT: Nerd Nite New York
Welcome To Action Park: The World’s Most Dangerous Amusement Park
by Seth Porges

Description: Lying somewhere between Lord of the Flies and a Saw movie, New Jersey’s Action Park was a lawless land, ruled by drunk teenage employees and frequented by even drunker teenage guests. The rides were experimental and illogical and seemed to ignore even the most basic notions of physics or common sense—not to mention safety. But despite—or perhaps because—of its safety record and notoriety, Action Park is remembered fondly by a generation who cut their teeth (and their skin) on the park’s treacherous attractions. To many, the scars left by the park are viewed as badges of honor. Surviving a day at Action Park was far from a sure thing—but if you did it, you left feeling like a changed person.

Bio: Seth Porges is the co-director and producer of Class Action Park, a feature documentary about Action Park coming to HBO Max in August. He has appeared in roughly 50 episodes of Travel’s Mysteries at the Museum, and is a regular on Discovery, History, and Nat Geo. Previously, he worked as editor at Maxim and Popular Mechanics magazines. He holds the world record for the most Nerd Nite talks ever given.

8:30pm EDT / 5:30pm PDT: Nerd Nite Orlando
Coming Soon
by Ricardo Williams

Bio: Ricardo Williams is a program director, event organizer, digital influencer, and filmmaker. Since studying communications at Pace University in New York City, he’s appeared in commercials and independent films, composed soundtracks and produced albums, organized educational programming, and advised on political campaigns. He’s also guest lectured on film theory and video production at New York’s School of Visual Arts. Since 2013, Ricardo has organized and hosted Nerd Nite in Orlando, Florida. Ricardo is also the founder of Orlando For Revolution and currently writes on culture, history, and politics.

9pm EDT / 6pm PDT: Nerd Nite San Diego
The First Spacefarers
by Francis French

Description: French worked with all four of the original “Right Stuff” Mercury astronauts who made orbital flights, when writing his bestselling books about the early days of the Space Race. In this talk, he’ll recount the stories of what these characters were like, and the dangerous missions they flew.

Bio: Frances French is a Space Historian and Science Educator known for his frequent television and documentary appearances, as well as his space history books. More here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francis_French

9:30pm EDT / 6:30pm PDT: Nerd Nite DC
Murder and Merlot: The WILD Story Of The Gallos, The Franzias, and The Wine Empires Built During Prohibition
by Rachel Pendergrass

Description: You’re late for a party, so you swing by the grocery store and grab a bottle of Apothic, a box of Franzia, or maybe a little André or Barefoot Bubbly for your mimosas. Turns out, there’s an HBO-level dark and seedy history behind the budget wines we all love.

Bio: Rachel Pendergrass has been called a “biological entity” who “tells pretty good jokes” by the Washington Post, “the f*ing best” by NPR host Peter Sagal, and “standing around waiting eagerly to be offended” by John Cleese. She’s the producer of the internationally touring Solve for X Variety Show, one of the co-producers of Nerd Nite DC, and a regular guest speaker on the science track of multiple science fiction conventions. She’s also done creative stuff professionally for everyone from National Lampoon to How Stuff Works. In her free time, Rachel enjoys imagining what it’s like to have free time.

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