Nerd Nite Sydney


‘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.

IMG_9128 WD cover


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:




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