Nerd Nite went back to Spirit January 23rd with our first of many themed nights! All three speakers for this one were from the Carnegie Museum of Natural History. Event went great for our 5th sold out show! Speakers were. Soon (or now!) you can see these talks and others on our youtube channel.
1) Matt Lamanna is the dinosaur paleontologist at Carnegie Museum of Natural History. He’s been fascinated by dinosaurs since he was four, and not much has changed, mentally speaking. Presenting: Stupid Shit in Jurassic Park
2) Dr. Chase Mendenhall is an ecologist and evolutionary biologist with degrees from the University of Wyoming and Stanford University. Mendenhall’s research emphasizes the role cooperation plays in the natural world to create cells, build bodies, and determine behaviors that challenge traditional narratives of what it means to be an individual, a male, a female, or part of a family or group. Using novel mathematical frameworks, Mendenhall incorporates altruism and cooperation into existing theories of natural selection. His research uses cooperative behavior birds evolve to successfully raise offspring to empirically test hypotheses. Presenting: Sex Ed
3) Jen Sheridan, PhD, is a tropical community ecologist and curator of amphibians & reptiles at Carnegie Museum of Natural History. Sheridan’s superpowers are being able to identify a Simpsons episode applicable to any situation in life, and almost never getting bitten by mosquitoes (which is very handy in her field work). While trekking for hours over rough terrain in Borneo to count frogs, she often asks herself what business a kid from Detroit has being out there… Presenting: Frogs: who are they, and what are they doing here?
Next Nerd Nite will be November 15th! This one will be a collaboration with the Carnegie Science center. Once a month they do 21+ nights to have access to everything without having to fight with children to see the exhibits. Their next one is November 15th and we’ll be doing a Nerd Nite series right in the middle!
We are not selling separate tickets. It’s part of the 21+ night ticket. This also means coming to 21+ night doesn’t mean you have a reserved seat for our show since the auditorium will not fit everyone. When you get to the science center be sure to check in with them about when doors will be opening.
Because of the change in venue, rather than getting new speakers we will be using three we have had before. One will be giving a new talk, but if you came to our July 25th event you have already seen two of these. However, if you didn’t we called back some crowd favorites so it will be a great show!
We will still be doing a networking ice breaker afterwards! It will be trivia based on the talks and there will be prizes! However, it will not be in the same auditorium like it is at Spirit. We’ll announce what room to go to next at the end of the show if you’d like to play!
So without further ado, the three talks that will be happening are:
BS in SPACE: An Astronomical Adventure Through Cosmic Misinformation: Ralph Crewe, Program Development Coordinator and host of SNaQ (Science News and Questions) podcast
Chinese Marriage Markets: A Guide on How to find your Adult and Woefully Single Child a Spouse: Nicolette W.M. Wong, Pitt Anthropology PhD Student and Oxford trained Sociologist
Computer Vision, Artificial Neural Networks, and How the Brain can Inspire A.I.: Rorry Brenner, Robotics Research Scientist and Nerd Nite coordinator
Nerd Nite Pittsburgh is a lecture series that’s a mix between a TED talk, a happy hour, and freshman orientation. Speakers present for 15 minutes on a variety of topics related to science and technology, popular culture, history, and other nerdery with a vibe that’s as entertaining as it is academic! Audience members can ask questions and it’s followed up by an entirely optional orientation-style networking game. If you like alcohol, learning about random and interesting things, and meeting other nerds this is for you! Doors open at 6:30, show starts at 7:00. If you have a topic you are passionate about and you’d like to be a speaker at a later event get in touch at !
Seth Neustein! Seth is an internationally touring mentalist and luxury event host and consultant. Following an early retirement from project management, he pursued his lifelong passion and traveled the US apprenticing with many of the worlds’ best magicians and mentalists. Since then he has performed for Fortune 500s, hosted exclusive experiences for distinguished society elites, and has realized the truly impossible – a full time career as a creative where he takes joy in crafting one of a kind personalized experiences. That is, Seth specializes in gifting you with cherished lifelong memories. Seth is also host to the hit charity event series, Secret Speakeasy, right here in Pittsburgh. With a PMP (look it up!) and a background in information sciences, cognitive sciences, music, magic, game design (he helped develop Magic: The Gathering Online [you’re welcome])… Seth is the self-described biggest nerd you’ve ever met. This month Seth will be presenting “Your Mental Compass: a primer to the psychology of perception”. Letting you see behind the mask, Seth will be talking about the psychology of illusion and how our perceptions of each other and the information we trust are not always what they seem. Who knows, there might even be some hands on demonstrations where you will get to read the mind of someone else in the audience!
Anastasia Maria Coates! Formerly a performing artist, school teacher, and current online Spanish coach, Anastasia will share insight on how to take ownership of a new language. Whether you’re learning a world language, have to use field-specific terminology, or want to grow your personal conversation skills, she wants you to make the most of your online or app-based lessons and training so you can apply your hard work, effectively in real life. Learn a bit of liquid Spanish while cheersing to some perspective on how you can internalize language from the screen to the physical world. Even if you’re not picking up where you left off in high-school world languages or learning human anatomy, she’s also worked in sales, customer service, and in kitchens, which is why Anastasia wants to give you some tips that will help you adapt to any new language goal so you can refresh and adapt to changes in how you give and take information. More info on her here: http://www.lanvoylearning.com/2019/05/09/learning-spanish-as-an-adult/?fbclid=IwAR2o6fPT32fB0JxS7-Vcy0UDCi6wz74Thm4mhr0AdJJBXup5is-0VFfRg5I
Bob Creo, Attorney, Arbitrator & Mediator is a native Pittsburgher currenly living in Lawrenceville. He is passionate about learning and connecting via storytelling in all of its many forms. He is the founder of Steel City Storytellers and is a frequent performer at The Moth. He is in the process of creating a series of oral story-profiles of famous, infamous, unknowns, and jagoffs, with Western Pennsylvania ties. Presenting the first public performance of the series: TESLA– An Electifying Spirit!
Also as you may know, we are a volunteer run organization and could use some extra hands! If you’re free to come early at 5:30-6:30 or stay late from 10:00-10:30 shoot us an email and there will be free drinks in it for you!
If you haven’t been here before, check what this is about with videos from our first event at https://www.magecreate.com/nerdnitepgh.
Nerd Nite Pittsburgh is a lecture series that’s a mix between a TED talk, a happy hour, and freshman orientation. Speakers present for 15 minutes on a variety of topics related to science and technology, popular culture, history, and other nerdery with a vibe that’s as entertaining as it is academic! Audience members can ask questions and it’s followed up by an entirely optional orientation-style networking game. If you like alcohol, learning about random and interesting things, and meeting other nerds this is for you! Doors open at 6:30, show starts at 7:00. If you have a topic you are passionate about and you’d like to be a speaker at a later event get in touch at ! Get your tickets for September 5th!
Speakers for September will be:
Shyaporn Theerakulstit is an actor, writer, YouTuber, cosplayer and general “nerd about town.” He has given talks on Godzilla biology and how to become Batman at Nerd Nite, TEDx and the Smithsonian Institution. He has written and produced for Dark Horse Comics and is also the host of the science lecture series “Real/Fake Science.” His YouTube channel has over 5 million views (youtube.com/Shyaporn). Presenting: “Star Trek vs Star Wars: Modern Perspectives on Past Future and Future Future Technologies,”
Dr. Karl Smith is a Biophysics PhD, a former Amazon software developer, and now a science storyteller. He tours schools and museums as Doctor Sparks with a show of his inventions and stories. He is the former Storyteller-in-Residence at the Carnegie Science Center and the MOXI (The Santa Barbara Children’s Museum) and his storytelling has been profiled in USAToday, Scientific American, and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Presenting: “This Muffin Hat Teaches Science – how a Biophysics PhD came to earn his living telling kids stories.”
Kate Lukaszewicz is a home-grown yinzer whose fascination with the US presidency started when she mock-voted for Michael Dukakis in elementary school. It turned out to be a slippery slope and within four years she was threatening to move to Canada if the 1992 election didn’t break her way. Slippier still, she ended up with a BA in Political Science and an MA in Government but 2016 taught her that she doesn’t really know anything at all. For her talk, she’ll be breaking some tough news to you: “The Framers of the Constitution Didn’t Trust (Most of) Us: The Electoral College.”
Also as you may know, we are a volunteer run organization and could use some extra hands! If you’re free to come early at 5:30-6:30 or stay late from 10:00-10:30 to help setup tables use discount codes COMEEARLY or STAYLATE for a couple bucks off!
Locked down details for number 3 in July! Speakers will be:
Lizzee Solomon – Lizzee is a visual artist and designer based in Pittsburgh, PA. New York City born, Chicago suburbs raised, Carnegie Mellon School of Art trained. She’s also housebroken, is learning how to dance Salsa and speaks Spanish – Presenting: ‘Cuba for Dummies’
Ralph Crewe – Ralph is a professional science nerd, working as program development coordinator for the Buhl Planetarium and Observatory at Carnegie Science Center. He coordinates astronomical programming like SkyWatch, hosts the Café Scientifique science lecture series, created and hosts the SNaQ podcast, and is generally geeked to talk science with anybody he can. In his spare time, he plays music (bass and piano), rides his bicycle, and competes in birdwatching competitions-Presenting: ‘BS in SPACE! An Astronomical Adventure Through Cosmic Misinformation’
And me! Your MC Rorry Brenner – When I’m not hosting Nerd Nites or climbing rocks, I work as a Robotics Research Scientist. Computer Science undergrad at CMU and couldn’t figure out why robots were so blind so went off to USC to get a PhD in neuroscience – Presenting: ‘Comptuer Vision, Artificial Neural Networks, and How the Brain can Inspire A.I.’
Pittsburgh’s first Nerd Nite was a blast! Thank you to everyone who came out! Our speakers were:
Julian Whitman – CMU Robotics PhD Student – Creeping, Crawling, and Collaborating: Robots for Every Occasion
Nicolette W.M. Wong – Pitt Anthropology PhD Student – Are the Mafias the Alternative Po-Po?
Luis Von Ahn – CEO of Duolingo – How Duolingo Uses AI
Also gonna throw a few shoutouts on this post:
– Thank you to our speakers Julian, Nicolette, and Luis you were all amazing!
– To our videographer Alex Liu can’t wait to see how things look! Alex is the founder of MageCreate.com, a business that helps leaders create impact through video. Definitely reach out if you are looking for someone to work with on a story you want to tell!
– Musical guest Nathan Zoob, you crushed it up there!
Next one has just been locked down for May 9th! If you had fun, or if you weren’t able to make it to this one but are interested in the future, like/follow our main page https://www.facebook.com/NerdNitePittsburgh for updates! You can also message us there or at if you’d like to talk about being a speaker, it comes with free admission and drinks for your friends! And as this was our first time doing this please let us know if you have any feedback, comments, questions, or concerns!
Thanks again for coming out and see you all next time!