Nerd Nite Denver #6: Octopuses, Coffee, & Quantum Weirdness

at The Oriental Theater

Time: 7:00pm     Day: Thursday     Doors: 6:30pm     Ages: 18+ / Bar with ID    
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More than just another evening of Nerd Night October, image M. Schultz high-level thinking and lowbrow drinking, this month’s Nerd Nite takes the turpitude to another level with a costume contest, dry t-shirt competition, and probably something to do with your candy-eating abilities.

On October 30th, we’ll find out if octopuses are trying to take over the world (*shivers*); how to make a statement with your coffee consumption; and a madman with degrees will talk about the endless weirdness of quantum physics.

What other pre-Halloween party will be so enlightening?

And for those of you with a competitive spirit, nerds dressed in costumes based on one of these three presentations will win all sorts of prizes, including free tickets to the Colorado Symphony’s Tribute to Comicon v2.0! 

Drinks, food, and mingles start at 6:30pm, show starts at 7pm — so come early to hang out with us! Don’t miss the amazing presentations (and the accompanying drinks). Tickets are limited at the door so grab yours now!Share this event on FACEBOOK or TWITTER! Social media!

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Will octopuses take over the world?

By Katherine Harmon Courage

Will octopuses take over the world? Yes. But how will they do it?Octopus! jacket_final (1) That’s the real question. Will it be through their amazing camouflaging abilities? Their impressive intelligence? Their eight super-flexible—and suckery—regenerating arms? Will it be because they can lay tens of thousands of little baby octopus eggs? Maybe just through seemingly innocuous—but ubiquitous—octopus prints on throw pillows and t-shirts? Or will it be a robot octopus uprising? Come learn how we’re most likely to meet our octopus overlords—and lots of other really cool stuff about octopus biology, behavior and how they’re influencing cutting-edge technology. Cephalopods, unite! (ßThey may or may not have made us write that.)

 Speaker Bio: Katherine Harmon Courage is an award-winning journalist who writes for The New York Times, Wired, Popular Science, Prevention, and others. Her work was recently featured in The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2013 collection. Harmon Courage grew up in the decidedly landlocked state of Oklahoma knowing absolutely nothing about the octopus. She was an English major but honed her nerdiness as a reporter and editor at Scientific American magazine in New York City before moving, last year—and once again very far from the ocean—to Longmont, Colorado. She is now a freelance journalist and a contributing editor for Scientific American. Her first book is Octopus! The Most Mysterious Creature In the Sea. Follow her on Twitter: @KHCourage

The Science of Coffee

By Matt Simpson

In the United States, approximately 54% of adults drink coffee with an average consumption of 3.1 cups per day. As coffee undertakes its journey from seed to cup, each step significantly impacts the inherent potential of the bean and its ability to produce a wonderful gustatory experience. With proper attention and care at each step along the process, coffee can be transformed from a mundane beverage into a complex adventure that relates the stories of everyone involved in its lifetime. Particular focus will be given to aspects that Denver coffee consumers can control, from the procurement of quality beans to the technical aspects of various home brewing methods with brief forays into ethics and economics.

Speaker Bio: When Matt was 21 years old, he faced a crucial decision in his life: should he pursue a career in coffee or in medicine? He ultimately decided on medicine, which led him to his current role as chief resident with the Rose family medicine residency. However, his passion for coffee never faltered over those years, and during his internal medicine rotation in medical school, his senior resident once remarked that if he knew as much about medicine as he did coffee, he would get honors on all of his rotations. Matt drinks an average of 2.5 cups of coffee per day, prefers a manual pour over (preferably with a flannel filter) or a straight espresso with an occasional indulgence of a cappuccino paired with a croissant or donut.

Quantum Weirdness: Entanglement, Schrodinger Cats, and Macroscopic Quantum Tunneling

By Lincoln Carr

Quantum mechanics is amazing!  Everybody has that feeling of interconnectedness. QM is the first theory to put that into its foundations — we call it entanglement. Schrodinger cats express possibility. Do you ever feel that anything can happen? Ever feel like you’re at the fork in the road, like your whole life can change if you go right or left? So that’s a Schrodinger cat. Except it’s not just a feeling, it’s a fundamental part of physical reality at the foundational level. I am personally in awe at the number of our intuitions that appear in the universe in physics. As far as technology, a Schrodinger cat is related to a qubit, the building block of quantum computers. You know how your computer has say 2 gigabytes of memory? Ok, a byte is a 8 bits and a bit is a switch, say zero is off and one is on. So a qubit (quantum bit) is both zero and one, just like the cat is both alive and dead. 1000 qubits breaks every code in the world and we find out who shot Kennedy. As for macroscopic quantum tunneling, the speaker will demonstrate it with his own body during the talk. Speaker Bio: Lincoln Carr is a theoretical physicist, professor at the Colorado School of Mines, and recovering professional dishwasher. He has published over 100 research papers, collaborated with 70 scientists in 12 countries, and mentored 80 students in research from the undergraduate to graduate levels. He is an Honors Faculty Fellow, a National Academy of Sciences Kavli Fellow, an Alexander von Humboldt Fellow, and a Distinguished International Fellow of the National Science Foundation. His research interests include quantum many body physics, condensed matter physics, atomic, molecular, and optical physics, nonlinear dynamics, and complexity theory.

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