Fresh off the success of Nerd Nite Wilde 1: Welcome to Delaware comes Nerd Nite Wilde 2: Eclectic Rendezvous! This sequel promises to be as engaging and fun as the original with talks on Pokémon, beer history, and supply chain issues during the Civil War. The common thread here is pretty obvious. As always, the action goes down on the 4th Wednesday of the month (2/28) in the Alamo Room at Wilmington Brew Works. You can get your tickets here (ticket proceeds support the Delaware Museum of Nature and Science). It is recommended that you get those tickets early as we sold out last month! Read on to learn more about this month’s speakers and talks:
Pokémon: Fake Monsters; Real Issues with Malcolm Nolasco
Learn how video game developer Game Freak has interwoven real world issues, such as pollution and climate change, into their hit video game series Pokémon, and the benefits of introducing these issues to young minds. Delve into the history of Pokémon, its nature-based roots, and learn about the people within the Pokémon community.
Malcolm Nolasco is a nerd with way too many hobbies. Hailing from New Jersey, he is the Guest Experience Coordinator at The Delaware Museum of Nature & Science. Growing up on an equine farm, he naturally progressed into a career in Museums & Technology, because working on a farm is so much work. He spends most of his free time juggling between his hobbies, mainly playing video games, building models, catching up on TV/Movies, or playing DnD with friends. He enjoys traveling around the country playing Pokémon competitively (even though it’s mostly for good vibes, he’s so bad at the game), and supporting his friends while they do the same. His love of science is fueled by his love of building, which he uses to build computers as well as robots when he gets the chance.
Saving Delaware’s King of Beer with John Medkeff
John will be discussing Restore the King, the privately-funded campaign to renovate Delaware’s iconic King Gambrinus statue and return it to public display. The sculpture is the most significant remaining artifact from Delaware’s golden age of brewing in the 19th and 20th centuries, and its restoration symbolizes the return of brewing as an important cultural, economic, and social driver.
A native and resident of the city of Wilmington, John Medkeff has been researching, writing, and speaking on the topic of Delaware beer and brewing history since 1996. As Delaware’s foremost expert on state brewing history, his articles have been featured in several local and national publications, and on radio and television. John has conducted numerous lectures throughout Delaware on a variety of topics related to the state’s beer and brewing history and led tours of historic brewing sites. In addition to authoring “Brewing in Delaware”, a pictorial history of brewing in the First State, he also maintains a website and a Facebook group page dedicated to Delaware’s brewing history. John has led projects to promote and preserve the state’s brewing heritage, including the completion of the Christian Krauch memorial and serves as president of Restore the King, the campaign to return Delaware’s historic King Gambrinus statue to public display.
Supply Chains Made Interesting: DuPont’s Problems With Transportation During the American Civil War with Lucas R. Clawson
DuPont was the largest explosives manufacturer in the U.S. during the American Civil War, manufacturing a majority of all black powder the Union Army and Navy used in the conflict. But getting raw materials and shipping out the finished product wasn’t easy. My talk will show you how piracy on the high seas, international incidents, secret plots, insurance rates, telegraph lines, and religious holidays in India made it hard for DuPont to do business. Plus show you how something that seems deadly dull is actually quite riveting…
Lucas R. Clawson is an historian at Hagley Museum and Library in Wilmington, Delaware. He works with historical records of the DuPont Company and du Pont family, using them to create public programming, lead discussions with Hagley’s staff, and for his own scholarly research. Lucas is a graduate of Appalachian State University and the University of Delaware. He has been with Hagley since 2007.
Wearing a nerdy shirt is always encouraged at Nerd Nite Wilde. If you find yourself saying “Alas! I don’t have a nerdy shirt,” there is no cause for alarm. There are a whole host of nerdy shirts available in the official Nerd Nite Wilde Bonfire shop. (You can also get to it by clicking the menu tab that says “Nerd Nite Wilde Shirts” at the top of the page) The way this works is that Bonfire makes and ships the shirts and pockets most of the profit. Somewhere between $5 and $9 from each shirt will go to your friendly neighborhood Nerd Nite Boss (it me) to help offset some of the time and expenses accrued in putting together this monthly shindig. Happy shopping, and see you at the next Nerd Nite!
Our debut event tonight (January 24) is completely sold out! A big thank you to all of the nerds who got tickets for this event and, for those of you last-minute folks, now is the time to get your tickets to February’s event. Be there and be square.
Hot diggity dog, it’s Nerd Nite Wilmington #1! Take good care of this one, it’s bound to be worth something someday. We’re kicking off the weirdness in Wilmington with three primo presentations from a stellar slate of brilliant nerds all centered around local things big and small. From whales to bugs to the very beers you’ll be enjoying during the talks, we’re talking all about things you will find here in the First State.
A Whale of a Tale: DelMNS Edition with Robbie Mueller
I am so thrilled to come to Nerd Nite to talk about my journey into Marine Biology and Cetacean research. I’ll be diving into the fascinating world of Whales and Dolphins, focusing on the incredible story behind our very own DelMNS Whale Skeleton! Join me as we discover how the study of cetaceans helps us better understand their behavior, anatomy, and the importance of conservation. Dive in for a Whale Sized Nerd Adventure!
Robbie Mueller is a Marine Biologist working as the Discovery Gallery Lead at the Delaware Museum of Nature & Science. Robbie is originally from New Orleans where he started exploring his scientific passion: the ocean! He recently obtained his marine biology master’s degree from Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi with research specialization in behavioral and cellular components of long-term memory. Robbie has also been privileged to work with AIMM Portugal as a Whale and Dolphin Researcher focusing on behavioral dynamics, population structure, and photo identification. Robbie’s also been a guest on the Whale Nerds Podcast highlighting the incredible field of marine biology. His interest in nature and science stems from a natural curiosity to explore and understand our world. Robbie’s journey following my master’s degree brought him here to Delaware to continue his work with the Delaware Museum of Nature & Science. He’s beyond thrilled to be here to better Explore, Discover, and Protect our beautiful Delaware!
Fermentation with Craig Wensell
Learn everything you need to know (and more) about the fermentation process and the science that gets you the beer you enjoy during the evening’s talks!
Craig Wensell, Sanitizer in Chief, Brewing Operations Manager, CEO, and Janitor at Wilmington Brew Works. Craig has degrees from Oklahoma State University and The Florida State University. Early in his career, he taught orchestra K-12 before moving on to teaching at different universities to include The Florida State University. Craig is an amateur Double Bassist and has played across the country with many different groups such as The Columbus Symphony, Tulsa Philharmonic, and The Delaware Symphony Orchestra. He has performed at The Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame for Barney Kessel and has performed music in Weil Hall in New York City. Craig also served in Afghanistan as a Blackhawk (UH-60 A/L) Crew Chief. During his service he reach the rank of E-5 and earned numerous commendation for outstanding performance including 1000 accident free flight hours. His family has a long rich history of home-brewing that goes back to the 1980s. Craig enjoys endless hours at the brew kettle, reading technical papers, and watching yeast make beer!
Insect Biodiversity with Lauren Barczak
The world of insects is weird and wonderful – insects account for over 80% of all animal life on earth and are often considered one of the most successful and important groups of organisms on the planet. Take a dive into some of the coolest insects you’ll find in your own backyard, their diverse adaptations for survival, and how you can help them!
Lauren Barczak is the Curator of Conservation Education at the Brandywine Zoo and a lifelong lover of bugs! Lauren is an alumnus of the University of Delaware, where she studied Wildlife Conservation and Ecology. She has always been passionate about helping people fall in love with nature as a former Conservation Education Presenter at Disney’s Animal Kingdom and a former Delaware State Park Naturalist.
Wilmington’s Nerd Nite Boss Pat Wittwer has worked in cultural and tourist attractions for over 20 years. Pat has served as the director of the Elfreth’s Alley Museum, the manager of Visitor Services at Please Touch Museum, Assistant Director of Experience and Culture at the Delaware Museum of Nature and Science, and has worked at the Mann Center for the Performing Arts, Walt Disney World, Historic Philadelphia Incorporated, the Franklin Institute, and Ripley’s Aquarium of Myrtle Beach. As a leader, Pat likes to focus on developing his team and helping them move up in their careers. Currently, Pat is the Visitor Experience Manager at the Edelman Fossil Park and Museum and Vice President of the Visitor Experience Group.
Outside of the museum world, Pat lives in Delco with his wife and son and enjoys camping, hiking, photography, reading, traveling, live music and theater, rooting for the underdog, karaoke, playing ukulele, word games, and pro wrestling.
Pat’s top 5 nerdoms are Muppets, public transit, museums, Christmas, and colors.
You can connect with Pat through LinkedIn, find him on Instagram at @wittwering, nerd out over books on Goodreads, or learn more at wittwering.com.
Since self-promotion isn’t our strong suit, many of you might not know our HUGE news. We wrote a book! Yes, our debut book via the illustrious St. Martin’s Press comes out on February 20, 2024 – it’s lovingly called: How to Win Friends and Influence Fungi: Collected Quirks of Science, Tech, Engineering, and Math from Nerd Nite. It’s a collection of 71 of our favorite STEM-centric presentations from Nerd Nites around the world, such as “The Science of the Hangover,” “What Birds Can Teach Us About the Impending Zombie Apocalypse,” and “Lessons from the Oregon Trail.”
Please order it now at any of the fine stores here: https://static.macmillan.com/static/smp/how-to-win-friends/
And if you order it – or if you’ve already ordered it – you can show your receipt to get a free Nerd Nite koozie and sticker here: https://read.macmillan.com/promo/fungipreorder
Here are some nice things that some nice people have said about it:
“How to Win Friends and Influence Fungi feels like the science book we never knew we wrote! It’s fun, accessible, and packed full of the kinds of factoids and knowledge that we love to share on our own podcast. Message to all the schools everywhere – get this on your shelves immediately!”
-Charles W. “Chuck” Bryant and Josh Clark – Stuff You Should Know podcast
“As I can testify from personal experience, Nerd Nite is one of the greatest achievements of the human species”
-Michael Caruso, CEO and Publisher, The New Republic
“A sheer delight. Will I now have recurring nightmares of spiny maggots gently prying dead skin from my feet? Maybe. But my waking self now knows this is a GOOD thing. Bravo Avir and company! And bravo maggots!”
-Jad Abumrad Founder and Former Co-Host, NPR’s Radiolab
“What a gift to have all of Nerd Nite’s greatest hits collected in one place! How to Win Friends and Influence Fungi is the most fun I’ve had with a popular science book in a long time. There’s a 100% chance that this book will blow your mind and make you laugh, but there’s also the distinct possibility that you’ll learn something life-changing — or at least how to get rid of that hangover.”
-Erin Barker, Executive Director and Co-Founder, Story Collider
Nerd Nite Wilmington #1 is a little over a month away! We are super excited to make our supremely nerdy debut at Wilmington Brew Works with three fantastic presentations. With speakers from Wilmington Brew Works, the Brandywine Zoo, and the Delaware Museum of Nature and Science, you’ll be in for a night of nerdiness focused on whales, beer, and insects. Stay tuned here for more details about the speakers and presentations as we get closer to the event and get ahead of the curve by ordering your tickets now – space is limited!
Greetings fellow nerds!
Nerd Nite Wilmington is set to make its spectacular debut in January 2024 and we already are lining up a stellar slate of presenters. But we want to go beyond our network and invite you, local nerds, to present at a future Nerd Nite at Wilmington Brew Works!
Nerd Nite happens on the 4th Wednesday of every month, kicking off at 6 p.m. At each event, 2-3 presenters will give a 20 minute presentation on something they’re nerdy about. It could be anything; some of the planned talks for 2024 include a whale that washed up on a Delaware beach, a strong case for why a certain Christmas movie may be the greatest film ever made, beer, Pokemon, birding, and more!
If you’re interested, fill out the contact form and share your nerdom with the world. If you want a better idea of what we’re asking of you, come on down to the first Nerd Nite on January 24 to get a taste of our special brand of nerdiness.