Nerd Nite Sydney


Unsocial Media and Music Evoked Memories

Come Tuesday 21st November and stuff yourself full of knowledge and beer to keep you going over the Christmas break!

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Do you want to join the flock of Tay Tay’s white, lithe besties or kick her off the stage Kanye style? Why is she such a clear exemplar of what’s going on in social media right now?

The Notebook made losing your memory romantic but we all know life isn’t that simple… or is it?

Jonathon Hutchinson and Amee Baird answer these questions and more when they shake up and wake up your synapses in the final Nerd Nite of the year!




Can music bring you back from dementia?

Amee Baird | MQU |  Clinical Neuropsychologist


Most of us know the experience of hearing a song and being transported back in time to a specific event, a time in our lives, or a special person. We now know that this powerful effect that music has on memory can be used to help people with dementia. I’ll share examples of how people with severe Alzheimer’s dementia can still play their musical instrument, learn new tunes and remember their high school sweetheart after hearing their special song. You might also experience a few music evoked memories of your own…

Dr Amee Baird completed a PhD and MPsych (Clinical Neuropsychology) at the University of Melbourne. She has worked as a clinical neuropsychologist for over a decade in both clinical and research positions overseas and in Australia, including the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery in London and Salpetriere Hospital in Paris. She is an Associate Investigator with the ARC Centre of Excellence in Cognition and its Disorders at Macquarie University, and was recently awarded an NHMRC-ARC Dementia Research Development Fellowship (2016-2019) for the project ‘Can music mend minds? Investigating the mechanisms underlying the beneficial effects of music in persons with dementia’. She is also co-director of a private practice Newcastle NeuroHealth.


Creating unsocial media in a social media world

Jonathon Hutchinson  | USYD  |  Online and Social Media Communication


The contemporary social media environment invites us to take part and stay connected. It even encourages us to create media and share the stage with those once sacredly labelled ’the producer’. However, amongst all the positive enabling forces of social media, there is a dark anti-social movement emerging that encourages hate speech, vitriol and is threatening lives. As a reaction, people are questioning their presence on social media and even deleting their profiles. Or are they? This presentation looks at some of the current patterns emerging across social media as un-social media, and uses Taylor Swift as a case in point.


Dr Jonathon Hutchinson (Ph.D. 2013, ARC Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation, QUT) is a lecturer in Online and Social Media Communication at the University of Sydney. His research explores Public Service Media, everyday social media use, the role of social media influencers within co-creative environments, and how social media is used in cyber-terrorism. He is a trained ethnographer and has been published in many leading national and international journals.


WHEN: Tuesday 21st of November. Doors open at 6:30 for a 7pm start.

WHERE: Friend In Hand Pub 58 Cowper Street, Glebe.

TICKETS: General entry is $12, buy tickets online, limited (but available) tiks on the door.


Be There. Be Square.

Can’t wait! Miriam xx

Check us out on Facebook or Twitter  for regular updates.

We’re All Crazy and Invisibility is a Thing

Have you ever thought maybe crazy is actually an important part of being human or that perhaps invisibility isn’t such a crazy idea? A local rising star and the former president of the British Psychological Society are here to give us the down low and it’s not to be missed!

Come think and drink with us!



our turbulent minds: why we’re all crazy, but none of us is ill

peter kinderman | university of liverpool | clinical psychology

Peter Kinderman, author of ‘A Prescription for Psychiatry’, argues for radical change in how we think about mental health. Peter rejects the ‘disease model’; which sees emotional distress merely as a symptom of biological illness, and instead argues that mental health problems are fundamentally social and psychological issues – the products of how we understand and respond to the world. Instead of thinking about diagnosing and treating ‘abnormality’, Peter argues we should replace ‘diagnoses’ with straightforward descriptions of our problems, and shift away from the use of medication towards psychological and social solutions.


Peter Kinderman is Professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of Liverpool, and former President of the British Psychological Society. His research interests are in psychological processes as mediators between biological, social and circumstantial factors in mental health and wellbeing. His most recent book, ‘A Prescription for Psychiatry’, presents his vision for the future of mental health services. Twitter: @peterkinderman.


science is magic: the physics of invisibility

alessandro tuniz | USYD | physics

Have you ever wanted to be completely invisible? Well you can’t. Unless you hide in a microwave oven. Or sweep yourself under a little carpet. Also if you’re a jellyfish (just stay underwater). See you there! (No you won’t.) (Yes you will.)


Alessandro completed his BSc in Physics at the University of Trieste (Italy) and his BSc (Hons) at the University of Sydney. During his PhD at USYD he worked on metamaterials in fibers – with the potential of mass-producing weavable fabrics with extraordinary optical properties, such as invisibility and super-resolution. Following a two-year Humboldt Research Fellowship in Germany, he is now a University of Sydney Postdoctoral Fellow at the Australian Institute for Nanoscale Science and Technology.


WHEN: Tuesday 17th October. Doors open at 6:30 for a 7pm start.

WHERE: Friend In Hand Pub 58 Cowper Street, Glebe. Seating will be mostly in rows so it’s probably easiest to get some grub downstairs before the show starts.

TICKETS: General entry is $12, buy tickets here, limited (but available) tiks on the door.

Be There. Be Square.

Can’t wait! Miriam xx

Check us out on Facebook or Twitter  for regular updates.


Sex, paradoxes, and wise guys.

Do you compete for sex? Seen evidence for alternative facts? Join us on May 23!

Tickets here:

nerd nite may

To say I’m excited about May’s Nerd Nite is a hell of an understatement. We have a legendary lineup of speakers and their topics are stimulating to say the least.

Nerd Nite comedy fest headliner Tom Denson is back to show us what goes on in the mind of the Nerd. The award hog of every PhD prize she can get her hands on Khandis Blake talks sex and conflict (hot right?) and The Conversation regular Stephen Woodcock talks probability paradoxes and how even rigorous scientific studies can produce conflicting results (wait… does that make them alternative facts?


KB fun (1)

khandis blake | sex lab postdoc | evolutionary social psychology

They say that dudes are the most competitive sex, but Khandis has her doubts. In this talk, she’ll spend some time illuminating the crazy world of female-female sexual competition and male-female sexual conflict. Expect to hear about sexy clothes, ovarian hormones, and women’s assertiveness. There will even be talk of sexy selfies #sohotrightnow #hashtag

Khandis is an evolutionary social psychologist who marries gender studies with evolutionary thinking. Her work combines insights from neuroendocrinology, evolutionary theory, and feminism to psychological research aimed at understanding gendered phenomena. She completed undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate degrees at the University of Melbourne and her PhD is from the University of New South Wales. In 2016, she was awarded the Australian Psychological Society Elaine Dignan Award, the International Society for Research in Aggression Lagerspetz Award, the International Society for Research in Aggression Young Investigator Award, and the Society of Australasian Social Psychologists Award for Outstanding Postgraduate Research. Away from the lab, Khandis spends her time teasing her fluffy lion dog and cooking damn fine food.


stephen woodcock | highrise dweller UTS | applied mathematician

Barely a week passes without seeing a headline proclaiming that some common food or behaviour is either associated with an increased or decreased health risk… or often both, in contradictory reports. How can it be that seemingly rigorous scientific studies can produce the exact opposite conclusions? In this talk, Stephen Woodcock will discuss some probability paradoxes, explaining how surprising, counterintuitive and often misleading results can arise.

Stephen is an applied mathematician with diverse research interests spanning the sublime to the ridiculous (with greater emphasis on the latter end of that continuum.)  After obtaining a four year Mathematics degree from Oxford, he did what every young mathematician wishes to do – move to Scotland to look at sewage. Six years (one PhD and one postdoc) as a Civil Engineer later, he left Glasgow to join the Mathematics department at UTS, where he works on applications of random processes. Current research includes coral reef health, facial recognition algorithms,  the impact of STIs on human fertility, talent development in sports academies and optimal poker strategies. He frequently writes for The Conversation and believes he is the only mathematician in Australia to be interviewed on the radio as to why a rugby league player should have chosen to urinate in his own mouth.

Tom %27The thinker%27 Denson 2

tom denson | ass prof and prof ass | psychologist and funny guy

Ever wondered what’s going on in the mind of a nerd, but were afraid you’d get grossed out or sprayed in the face with IQ points? Let Dr Tom face the danger in an all new, ongoing, never before seen, fan favourite segment called “Interview with a Nerd, by a Nerd” hosted by Dr Tom. Dr Tom – he puts the “science” in “tologist”.


WHEN: Tuesday 23rd May. Doors open at 6:30 for a 7pm start. 

WHERE: Friend In Hand Pub 58 Cowper Street, Glebe. They do a great $15 parmy special. Seating will be in rows so it’s probably easiest to get some grub downstairs before the show starts.

TICKETS: General entry is $12, buy tickets here, limited (but available) tiks on the door.


See you there – I’ll be the one with a beer in each hand.

Miriam x

‘That’s so gay’: Queer Wars, Activism, and Kids.

Nerd Nite Gay

To celebrate Mardi Gras and nerdery we’ve (legally) married the two for a very gay edition of Nerd Nite!

Activist Tiernan Brady (the man who helped make Ireland Gay again) explains how a minority can win a majority. Academic Victoria Rawlings tells us why we shouldn’t call school kids ‘gays’ or ‘sluts’, and ‘Queer Wars’ writer Jonathan Symons muses on the international polarisation of gay rights.


victoria rawlings | usyd lecturer | “that’s so gay”: gender, sexuality, ‘bullying’ and schools

Schools are supposed to be a place where all students feel safe. Unfortunately, the reality is that they are often places where ‘fitting in’ means avoiding being ‘different’ at all costs. In this talk, Victoria Rawlings will talk about the integral part that gender and sexuality play in the social lives of young people- particularly at school. We’ll discuss moments of gender ‘regulation’, including insults like ‘gay’ and ‘slut’ at school- and what these moments mean and achieve.

Dr Victoria Rawlings teaches in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at the University of Sydney, lecturing and tutoring students on education, gender, sexuality, pedagogy and research methods. She continues to research the intersections between curriculum, schooling, gender and sexuality and has a new book that (according to her) is definitely worth purchasing or requesting for your library: Gender regulation, violence and social hierarchies in school: ‘Sluts’, ‘Gays’ and ‘Scrubs’.


tiernan brady | activist | marriage equality, australia and ireland – how a minority wins a majority

Tiernan Brady is the Executive Director of Australians for Equality. Previously he was the policy officer of GLEN – The Gay and Lesbian Equality Network, Ireland’s leading LGBTI organisation. He was the Political Director of Yes Equality, which led the referendum campaign for civil marriage equality in Ireland. He designed and implemented the political strategy of the campaign that made Ireland the first country in the world to enshrine marriage equality in its constitution by referendum. He led the delegation in favour of equal civil marriage to the Irish Constitutional Convention which led to the referendum being established. In GLEN he devised the political strategy to secure and build the broadest possible political support for Civil Partnership in Ireland which ultimately passed with the support of every political party in 2011. He previously served as the Director of Organisation for the Deputy Prime Minister (Tanaiste) of Ireland, Mary Coughlan from 2000 to 2007 as well holding the office of mayor of his hometown, Bundoran for 2 terms.


jon symons | international relations mqu |the great gay divide: international polarisation of gay rights

Is the world increasingly polarised between countries that support gay rights, and countries that oppose them? If so, how should advocates of gay rights respond? Jon Symons shows how despite a strong long-term trend toward liberalisation, national laws, positions on ‘gay rights’ and even public attitudes toward homosexuality have become increasingly divided over the last decade.

Academic and ‘Queer Wars’ coauthor Dr Jonathan Symons is a Senior Lecturer in International Relations at Macquarie University. His research explores international relations theory, climate politics (especially the global governance of energy, geo engineering and innovation policy) and the treatment of sexuality within international human rights practice.


WHEN: Tuesday 21st March. Doors open at 6:30 for a 7pm start. Sorry no seat reservations this time, it led to more chaos than we could handle!

WHERE: Friend In Hand Pub 58 Cowper Street, Glebe. They do a great $15 parmy special. Seating will be in rows so it’s probably easiest to get some grub downstairs before the show starts.

TICKETS: General entry is $12, buy tickets here, limited (but available) tiks on the door.


Be There. Be Square.



December: Hormonal dinosaurs take selfies, who knew?

Hope everyone’s been reporting Ibis, sharing their cleavage knowledge, and making good use of their bubblegum flavoured condoms since last Nerd Nite. I know I have…

This month we’re rounding up the year with three more fantastic speakers to fill your brain with something other than incessant Christmas Carols. In December we’ll be talking selfies, weird dinosaurs, and discovering why being hormonal is not a thing.

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john pickrell  |  science writer  |  why are we finding more dinosaurs than ever before?

Fifty per cent of all known dinosaurs were discovered in the last decade. New finds are coming thick and fast from every corner of the globe. We’re in a golden age of discovery – and the fossils coming to light show dinosaurs were weirder, bigger, scarier and much more diverse than we ever imagined.

John Pickrell is an award winning science writer, amateur fossil sleuth, the author of Weird Dinosaurs and Flying Dinosaurs and the editor of Australian Geographic magazine.  Check out his newest nerdy venture here.


Josien_lab the great debate cheeky

josien de bie  |  neuroscience  |  being hormonal is not a thing

We’ve all heard about how hormones make women crazy, unstable and just unsuitable for anything except possibly knitting socks. But has anyone really investigated that? Josien has, and you’ll never guess what she found out…

When Josien found out that the job of Batman was already taken (by, you know, Batman) she threw herself into human behaviour and every aspect of it. Fascinated by the brain and everything that influences it, she studied everything from vole and  grad students to human brain cell culture. When not growing human brain cells in the lab (‘muhahah’) Josien hosts a Jazz open mike night in Kings Cross, plays the ukulele and occasionally lego Batman, because some ambitions never die. Check out her top notch nerdsite here.


TerriSenft1 TerriSenft Cat TerriSENFT-selfie

terri senft  |  global liberal studies  |  selfies and feminism: solidarity through global media practices

Visiting all the way from NYU, Terri Senft is a writer, academic, the founder of the Hey Girl Global Network and International Selfies Research Network, and most importantly; she recognises that the internet is for cats. Terri ‘s publications include Camgirls: Celebrity & Community in the Age of Social Networks; History of the Internet: A Chronology, 1843-Present and an issue of Women & Performance devoted to the theme “sexuality & cyberspace.”   Check our her website and adorable cats here.


WHEN: Tuesday 13th December. Doors open a little later than usual  from 7pm. The fun starts at 7:30pm.

WHERE: Friend In Hand Pub 58 Cowper Street, Glebe. They do a great $15 parmy special. Seating will be in rows so it’s probably easiest to get some grub downstairs before the show starts.

TICKETS: General entry is $12, buy tickets here, limited (but available) tiks on the door.


Be There. Be Square.

Merry December – Miriam xx

Check us out on Facebook or Twitter  for regular updates

Nerd Nite November: Antibiotic Resistance, Comedy, and Hipster Ibis

October left us hot and bothered for mostly the wrong reasons: learning to give birds handjobs, spider petting, dentistry virtual reality, and lots of feathers. November has some big shoes to fill and we promise you won’t be disappointed. This month you’ll learn all kinds of things about sex, the rise of the antibiotic resistant age, and you’ll find out about hipster ibis and how cockatoos are spying on you…


WHEN: Tuesday 15th November. Doors open from 7pm. The fun starts at 7:30pm.

WHERE: Friend In Hand Pub 58 Cowper Street, Glebe. They do a great $15 parmy special. Seating will be in rows so it’s probably easiest to get some grub downstairs before the show starts.

TICKETS: General entry is $12, buy tickets online, limited tiks on the door. Get your tickets here!

Check us out on Facebook or Twitter  for regular updates


sex – nerds do it better! | dr eva jackson | sexual health physician


Got any nagging sex questions you’d love answered but never quite got the guts to ask? Well down a beer and bring your questions along for Dr Eva who can tell you everything you want to know about sex. Now is the time to be brave!

Bio: Eva is a generalist sexual health physician and is involved in HIV/STI medicine, male and female sexual dysfunction, genital dermatology and drug harm minimisation programs. She is currently the Head of Sexual Health Medicine for Nepean Blue Mountains Sexual Health & HIV Clinics and also works in private practice.


species we love and hate | john martin |  ecology

 Dr John Martin Cockatoo Wingtag 082 aka Guildenstern 

Has a seagull ever stolen a chip from your hand? Have you ever thrown bread to the ducks? We all have a wildlife story. Some are love stories, like giving a koala a drink on 40 degree day; others are hate stories, like being kicked by a horse. We humans have changed our surrounding environment (building cities, clearing land for farms, etc.) and some species have adapted to exploit these environments. We’ll discuss how ibis are becoming hipsters, how cockatoos are spying on you, why flying-foxes are making a ‘concrete change’ and moving from the bush to the city, and what it means for the future.

John is a wildlife ecologist. Ultimately he thinks nature is pretty cool and the opportunity to catch and observe animals is freaking awesome. Being able to assist the conservation of wildlife is also cool. John works at the Royal Botanic Garden in Sydney.


employing cleavage as a distraction | michael widjaja | microbiology


Ever worried about antibiotic resistance? Seen Contagion one too many times? Cleavage can be distracting, even to antiobiotics. Michael explains how bacteria use cleavage as a defence against antibiotics and the immune system; which aids in the rise of the antibiotic resistant age.

Michael is a PhD student of the ithree institute at the University of Technology Sydney. He is also a  microbiologist, a rookie science communicator and a pun-master.



Be There. Be Square.

🙂 Miriam

Nerd Nite: Exposing Sperm, Polymorphism, and Virtual Reality

NERDS ASSEMBLE!!! October’s lineup includes: When Good Sperm Go Bad by Lori Hurley, Colour Polymorphism by Peri Bolton, and Fear and Loading: Real and Virtual Exposure Therapy by Peter Baldwin and Pieter Rossouw! Come nerd out with us!

We’re stoked to be drinking at thinking at the fantastic Friend In Hand Pub in Glebe now on the third Tuesday of each month.

WHEN: Tuesday 18th October. Doors open from 6:30pm. The fun starts at 7pm.

WHERE: Friend In Hand Pub 58 Cowper Street, Glebe. They do a great $15 parmy special. Seating will be in rows so it’s probably easiest to get some grub downstairs before the show starts.

TICKETS: General entry is $12, buy tickets here, limited tiks on the door.


when good sperm go bad | lori hurley | reproductive ecophysiologist

Hurley headshot 

Turns out functional sperm is a good thing, especially when you need multiple sperm to ensure normal development like birds do, but many things can make good sperm go bad…

A PhD candidate, Lori’s research explores the impact of environmental and social cues on Australian estrildid finch reproduction. A research junkie, she’s done genetic work in humans, tested novel anti depressants/neuroprotectants in rats, and conducted various research on behaviour, neuroendocrinology, and reproduction in a variety of bird species. All around bird nerd.


fear and loading: real and virtual exposure therapy | pieter rossouw & peter baldwin | clinical neuropsychotherapy/ clinical psychology

PB_Profile_PORTRAIT       Peter on at a podium

Pieter_low  Pieter watching as VR spiders crawl over clients (assumably…)

Pieter and Peter want you to know that exposure therapists are not sadistic pricks (the jury’s still out on that one).  Together they’ll take you into the VR world of spider phobias.

Peter’s PhD is in the psychological and physiological vulnerabilities in individuals with hoarding disorder, in particular how the brains of individuals who hoard react to making errors. Peter also researches how uncertainty about possessions creates distress for hoarding individuals. More broadly, Peter is interested in how clinical psychology can better use technology help individuals manage and recover from psychological illness.

Pieter is the Clinic Manager and VRET therapist. Pieter holds a Bachelor of Psychology (Honours) from UNSW, is a certified Practitioner of Clinical Neuropsychotherapy, and a member of the International Association of Clinical Neuroscience. Pieter is also the Founder and CEO of Totem Labs Pty Ltd, a specialist company that builds Virtual Reality solutions for the areas of health and performance.


colour polymorphism | peri bolton |brain, behaviour and evolution

Peri Bolton

Peri’s an ourdoorsy birdwatching nature-photographing nerd who’ll be our guide into the world of wild Gouldian Finches and the genetic incompatibility between head-colour morphs. 

Peri started out with the delusion of being an Archaeologist with an Arts/Science degree, but that didn’t last long! She soon switched to a full Bachelor of Science. She continued on to do an Honours dissertation with the Scott Keogh on the phylogenetics of a group of Australian burrowing snakes.


Be There. Be Square.

🙂 Miriam

Nerd Nite January: Tuesday 19

Poster_January_wbleed copy

Nerd Nite January is upon us! Let’s start the year in honour of how we all came to be – with a big hot bang. January Nerd Nite will leave you smarter than an immortal ant saving the world!

DRY T-SHIRT CONTEST OF 2016: The nerdiest T-shirt wearer wins their table a jug of beer!

January Speakers

Dr Margo Adler explains why it’s not only the good that die young – but the well-fed: ‘Is your New Year’s resolution shortening your life? The surprising science of diet and ageing’.

Entomologist Dr Tanya Latty gives us the low down on whether we’re smarter than ants with… ‘Ants versus engineers: who builds better highways?’

International Law Professor Tim Stephens explains whether the world leaders just solved climate change: ‘The meaning of the Paris climate conference in the Anthropocene’.


Best to buy online: December Nerds sold out the venue! We will save a few tickets for walk ins, so if you miss out, show up at 6pm on the Nite. Entry is $12 :

Have your tastebuds tickled from 6pm, have your neurons nuzzled from 7pm


Just try to top my nerd shirt – Miriam 🙂

Nerd Nite December: We’re back!

Important news for anyone with a face!

Buy your tickets here:




Nerdery! June 3 at the Arthouse Hotel – 7pm start

june 2015 nerd nite