Welcome to Nerd Nite Melbourne’s 52nd show!  This show features 3 captivating talks that will take you on a journey through the lives of remarkable individuals pursuing their passions in unique fields. We will explore food waste, eDNA and the abstract side of geometry! Be there. Be square.

Wednesday, 20th September 2023
Howler (7-11 Dawson Street, Brunswick)
Doors: 7 pm
Show: 7:30 pm
Tickets: $15 – Available now!!!

Consider the dumpster: how good taste makes waste.

Helen Addison-Smith

When we’re told of the environmental impact of food waste, our first reaction is often to eat up everything on our plates like good little world citizens. But how did that food end up on our plates to begin with? How did we decide what to eat not only to sate our hunger, but also to sate our desire for gustatory pleasure? Could it be that our late capitalist gourmet goodtimes are actually a driving force for the grim statistic that a third of all food produced globally is wasted? Join me as we wander in a gluttonous daze through such topics as: peels, French sociology, table manners, drunkenness, minimum wage, insects, middens, conspicuous consumption and, of course, the fundamental interconnectedness of everything. We’ll deep dive into the hope that saving the planet can be delicious. The way you make banana bread may never be the same again.

Bio: Dr Helen Addison-Smith is a wanna-be former chef, persistent single mother and current researcher into food waste at RMIT University. She is good friends with dough, sugar and laneway lemons, and mortal enemies with nutritionism.

Socials: @cafelabsters

Website: https://www.instagram.com/cafelabsters/

Finding the Loch Ness Monster & Other Elusive Species Using eDNA.

Rachael Impey

What do the abominable snowman, the Loch Ness monster, a Canadian lynx, and a platypus have in common? Apart from sounding like the start of a terrible “walked into a bar” joke, these have all been the central point of large environmental DNA (eDNA) studies! All living organisms shed DNA into their surrounding environments, so by capturing and sequencing the eDNA of an area scientists can build targeted or broad biodiversity profiles without having to capture a single animal! This Nerd Nite, Rachael will talk about why environmental DNA is so interesting using examples of both these controversial studies and some ground-breaking local studies that can change Australia’s biodiversity knowledge.

Bio: Rachael Impey has a PhD in infectious disease and after completion, promptly abandoned that for the promise of finding cute, endangered animals. Rachael now works as a Molecular Scientist for EnviroDNA, working with a range of private and government clients to improve the biodiversity knowledge of Australia’s waterways and terrestrial environments using eDNA.

Two and a Half di(Men)sions

Cindy Huang

We can mostly agree that objects in our physical world, for example: a cauliflower, are 3-dimensional. What if there was another way to think about dimension and geometry? This talk will introduce you to geometry’s spicier side. We will explore some abstract ideas and how they can be observed in many aspects of our physical world. To finish off, we will play with those concepts using arguably the best software (fight me): Microsoft PowerPoint.

Bio: Cindy is a “grown-up” who has recently become fascinated with geometry. In her day job she introduces young people to topics in mathematical modelling, topology, algebra, and you guessed it – geometry. She reckons there is so much to observe, learn, and love about mathematics and wants to share that with other “grown-ups”. Cindy likes fruit salad (the food and the song) and wishes she could squat heavier weights but is perpetually impeded by wobbly knees.