Can’t handle this  hot and cold weather which is all over the place? Get into the spirit of things by coming to Nerd Nite – Hot and Cold. Hear someone from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory speak about how The Opportunity rover deals with extreme weather, a climate scientist talk about what the hell is going on with our climate, and an materials engineer explain high temperature processes. Nerd Nite’s Hot and Cold edition will be held on Tuesday, 1 April.

Our friends at Mr Wow’s Emporium will be hosting us again with cold beers, amazing cocktails and a new modern African food truck.  Be there and be square!

Nerd Nite – Hot and Cold
Tuesday, 1 April
at Mr Wow’s Emporium
97b Smith Street, Fitzroy
Doors 7pm/$5

Back to the lectures at hand:

*Presentation 1
Scorch and freeze: Roving on the surface of Mars
by Dr Kiri L Wagstaff

Description: It’s another beautiful day on Mars: clear skies, sunshine, and -40 C.  The Opportunity rover climbs another hill and halts at the top to take a close look at a puzzling rock.  The rover’s aging electronics and joints are sensitive to the harsh environment, especially the dramatic daily temperature swings.  Come learn how Opportunity and its mission planners have dealt with excessive heat and excessive cold to keep the rover rolling for more than 10 years. Dr Wagstaff will be the first speaker presenting over video conferencing!

Bio: Kiri is a tactical activity planner for the Opportunity Mars rover at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.  She is also a researcher in artificial intelligence and has developed data analysis algorithms to find interesting features in orbital images of Mars, predict crop yield from Earth orbit, and track the polar ice caps on Mars.  She has a Ph.D. in Computer Science from Cornell University and an M.S. in Geology from the University of Southern California.  She is currently working on a Master’s degree in Library and Information Science from San Jose State University.  She volunteers at the Monrovia Public Library and Kids Building Things, where she designed and taught “Electronics as Art,” an introduction to soldering and wearable circuits for kids aged 7 to 13.  She also enjoys ballroom and blues dancing, spelling bees, learning new languages, and acroyoga.


*Presentation 2
Soil mechanics and heat transfer may cure bone cancer
by Dr 
Hossein Mokhtarzadeh

Description: Bone, similar to soil, is a porous medium. Porous media is a structure with voids. Engineers require mathematical models to analyse underground water flow through soil and other porous media. Fluid flow or perfusion is also vital for bone cells, similar to fluid flow in soil that can provide nutrition to plants and animals. Mass transfer (imagine small particles) in porous media can be influenced by fluid flow. Engineers can use heat transfer as an analogy to model mass transfer. To reach and kill cancer cell in bone as a porous medium, one may use a specific drug. But how can we make sure that we reach cancer cells in a complex bone structure? Interestingly, bone cancer treatment can be modelled mathematically with fluid flow in porous media coupled with heat transfer or mass (drug) transfer.  This presentation will help you realise how engineers help tackle cancer and in collaboration with biologists as they aim to eventually kill cancer cells and save lives.

Bio: Dr. Hossein Mokhtarzadeh received his PhD from the University of Melbourne in Mechanical Engineering specialising in Biomechanics in 2014. He received several prizes for his PhD related research. He was selected as one of the top 12 Fresh Scientists in Australia in 2013.  Dr. Mokhtarzadeh studied ACL injury and its mechanism during high-risk movements using in vitro and in vivo modelling approaches during his PhD. He joined Australian Institute for Musculoskeletal Science and Melbourne Medical School as a postdoctoral candidate in 2013. He has been expanding his research in bone, muscle and joint biomechanics and began working on mathematical modelling of drug delivery systems for bone diseases under the supervision of Associate Professor Peter Pivonka.


*Presentation 3
Global warming: not as complicated as you might think
by Damien Irving

Description: Climate Change. What is it? How do we know it’s happening? How do we know it’s our fault? What will the futureclimate look like? Why don’t we seem to be doing anything about it? These are all very valid and important questions, however the answers vary greatly depending on the media outlet, political figure or business leader you listen to. Rather than take your cues from a right-wing shock jock or raving environmentalist, come along and hear an actual climate scientist explain what the hell is going on.

Bio: Back in November 2006, Damien was a newly graduated physiotherapist. While all of his friends were off finding jobs in hospitals and sports medicine clinics, he inexplicably enrolled in a Bachelor of Science. During the final year of his physio degree, a friend of Damien’s – who also happens to be an oceanographer – suggested that he read Tim Flannery’s best-seller, The Weather Makers. Ever since reading that book, Damien has been fascinated by the workings of the climate system. After finishing his undergraduate studies for a second time, Damien worked at CSIRO for a few years developing climate projections for Australia and various Pacific island nations. He’s now back at the University of Melbourne completing his PhD, looking at recent changes in the climate of West Antarctica.