Editor’s note: Nerd Nite Brighton is a monthly event promising to bring you three ‘nerdy’ talks. Previous talks have ranged from how ants work out how to get back home to how you can stop mice doing drugs.  The events are held in and around Brighton and are all in a relaxed atmosphere where nerdiness is embraced and celebrated. The following is a review of the November 2014 event, however the December event (18th December) is fast approaching. If you want to attend, find out more and write a review for The Badger, then email badger-science@ussu.sussex.ac.uk and visit Nerd Nite here ASAP!

Punk Science: “HE ATE THE CRISPS!”

Johnathan Milton and Sam Furniss, from Punk Science at The Science Museum joined us to test their new show, “Information Age” on the visibly of apprehensive looking Nerds. This comedy duo soon broke the ice with the usual banter and introduction of a voting system which would be relevant throughout their show: ‘The John’ is an overly enthusiastic thumbs up, ‘The Sam’ employs Makaton for ‘frying pan’ and I strongly advise you Google this; and ‘The Religious Zealot’ is essentially jazz hands. This certainly broke the awkwardness! 

Following a geek off contest (which I failed to win!) we moved onto part of the show which will be performed at the Science Museum, demonstrating satellite delay. With two Nerds summoned, were required to answer the previous question to the one they had just heard. It was utterly hilarious yet frustrating; despite exam levels of concentration, I kept getting confused! With a wider audience, I am certain this will be a huge success and something people could try at home.

This ended with a little demonstration on data packets, using crisps. Again two Nerds were called up and required to select as many of their flavour crisps from a mix of three flavours within 30 seconds. There’s only one way to do this. Sam verified the winner by consuming said taste-tested crisps, much to the almost horror of the Nerds! It certainly left an impression. Always go out on a high note…

Prof. Ward: “What colour is the letter A?”

Professor Jamie Ward certainly engaged the Nerds with his captivating introduction to the fascinating world of synaesthesia. As a medical neuroscience undergraduate and synaesthete, this was terribly exciting. It turns out that you probably know someone with synaesthesia, simply ask them the question above and see what happens! Synaesthesia can present in a number of ways and engage two or more senses. Without reciting the entire talk, I would really recommend “The Frog Who Croaked Blue”. The Nerds questioned Professor Ward quite extensively; I had a million and one questions to ask but nothing coherent could be formed in time! During the break the room was buzzing with discussions, it was a wonderful atmosphere to be in.

Meriel Jeater: “I’d recommend a She-wee.”

Meriel Jeater, from the Museum of London (not to be confused with the British Museum!) introduced us to the ever-so-slightly bizarre world that was England in the 17th Century. Witches were everywhere and defending yourself was of vital importance!

Should you feel the need, you can create your own ‘Witch Bottle’ as a counter-curse with your urine, hair and bent nails. Yes, there was a “here’s one I made earlier” which was rather funny. Jeater is a wonderful speaker and engaged the Nerds fully, taking lots of questions. I would definitely recommend visiting her exhibit and learning more about our quirky past.

Decembers’ speakers: Anthony Metcalfe on wound healing, repair and regeneration; Steve Cross on his love for naked mole rats and Zeeshan Khawaja on the science of Star Wars. The event is on the 18th of December. Book early!

Samantha Nicholls

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