#27 Nerd Nite – 3 October 2017

Come hang out whilst we celebrate our 4th birthday! As part of our present to you, we are giving you FREE ENTRY. Happy birthday!

Our speakers will be talking about how archeologists identify what people used to eat in the past, condoms, and inclusive architecture for better cities.

We will be hosted by our friends at Mr Wow’s Emporium who will be serving up cold beers in their awesome venue. Bring your own dinner/snacks!

Tuesday, 3 October 2017
at Mr Wow’s Emporium
97b Smith Street, Fitzroy
Doors 7pm/FREE


Putting the money where the mouth is: How to tackle climate crisis through the food we eat
Dr Coral Monetro Lopez

Archaeologists have studied ancient human and animals bones in order to determine what their diets were, and ultimately reconstruct past human-faunal relationships, how the exploitation of natural resources may have changed through time, and ultimately, if humans were eating domesticated or wild plants, how did past groups were moving on the landscape and interacting with each other through exchange, adaptation of new staples, and so on. In this discussion, we will discuss how archaeologists reconstruct ancient diets, using bone and isotope analysis primarily. This type of analysis also allows to detect changes in an individual’s life, from weaning to old age, as well as identified the diet of animals in order to reconstruct ancient changes in climate and landscapes.

Bio: Dr. Coral Montero Lopez is an archaeologist who has studied human and animal bones for over 15 years in Mexico. Her experience include excavating human and animal remains, and then applying zooarchaeological and osteological studies, as well as applying chemical analysis (stable isotopes). Her academic work has been focused in the study of changes in palaeodiet and landscape in order to detect changes in behaviour and human adaptation to changing landscapes. She currently lives and works in Melbourne, where she is a consultant in archaeology, working primarily with Aboriginal communities in WA, Victoria, and NSW. She also enjoys teaching how to cook Mexican food.

At the intersections of architecture, media and politics
Michael Smith

As our population continues to urbanise, the importance of a high quality built environment becomes paramount. But how do we make sure that the design of our cities works for us and not against us. How can our cities change and adapt to suit our needs. Michael Smith discusses the crucial role of architects as positive change makers in contemporary society. The talk will include a whirlwind tour of some change making projects from emerging architecture practice Atelier Red+Black. Across different scales and formats, from a humble pergola, to a provocative alternative design for East West Link, the discussion will hopefully challenge the way you see the built environment.

Bio: Michael Smith is an architect and co-founder of architecture practice Atelier Red+Black. Atelier Red+Black is an award winning practice that has undertakes a range of residential and commercial projects. Central to this work is an interest in social justice issues and the consideration of user experience. Michael is also a writer and producer of the architecture website The Red And Black Architect and a regular columnist for Domain.com.au, where he writes about architecture, the city and the importance of excellent design. Michael is also the current Co-Chair of the Australian Institute of Architects National Committee for Gender Equity. In his spare time he also is a Divisional Manager with St John Ambulance Australia and a staff member at the National Mathematics Summer School in Canberra.

Project Geldom: Building the Better Feeling Next-Gen Condom
Dr Simon Cook

Imagine if there was a condom you couldn’t wait to use, instead of just had to. Could we design an innovative more pleasurable condom by changing the material they are normally made from? Could this material change lead to increased condom usage and help alleviate the burden caused by the impact of not using condoms? Our project funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation involves tackling that challenge by developing a better feeling condom made from tough hydrogels. These materials offer a more appealing, more sensitive material choice to make condoms more skin-like and have a host of product enhancement features such as built-in lubrication, reduced likeliness to invoke allergies and also potentially allow for delivery of sensation enhancing molecules or STD preventive agents. Come and hear about how our team plans to take this idea from the benchtop to the bedroom.

Bio: Dr. Simon Cook is an Early Career Research Fellow at Swinburne University of Technology. With a background in biotechnology and microbiology Simon was awarded his PhD in 2014 from the University of Wollongong in molecular microbiology and bacterial pathogenesis with a thesis titled – “Characterising the role of streptokinase polymorphism in the pathogenesis of Streptococcus pyogenes”. Thereafter, Simon took a rather interesting career turn after a ‘Grand Challenges’ funding call from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for a Next Generation Condom that significantly preserves or enhances pleasure, in order to improve uptake and regular use.Simon was employed as post-doc on the team in UOW that was successful in securing funding from the BMGF for the idea of ‘Investigating new tough hydrogels materials to replace latex’. Simon has since moved from UOW to Swinburne in 2016 and is now lead CI for Project Geldom at Swinburne where he manages R&D (materials science and validations, plant development build, operation and testing, materials development and ISO/QA compliance), hands-on engagement with partners/advisors and continues to develop knowledge across research and industrialisation.

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