Nerd Nite #6 ~ Rainbow Palooza

It’s about to get real colorful in the Alamo Room at Wilmington Brew Works! Get your tickets now for another fantastic night featuring three supremely nerdy talks. Wearing lots of bright colors to this one is strongly encouraged. Read on to learn more about this month’s presentations and speakers!

In Defense of Color by Pat Wittwer

Have you ever wondered why the houses in your neighborhood look the same? Does it bother you that cars are almost always black, white, or gray? There is a war on color and expression and this talk is the first step to joining the right side: in defense of color.

Patrick 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, word games, and is probably the biggest Muppet fan you’ll ever meet.

Astronomy, Spectroscopy, and You by Jerry Acord

What is the nature of light, how it can tell us about the properties and composition of things, including some very, very distant things, and that, in the end, we’re all made from stars.

Once upon a time a professional astronomer with Ph.D. in Astronomy from University of Wisconsin, Jerry moved into IT way back when the web was shiny and new.

The Birds & The Bees (But With Sharks) with Jess Myers

The ins and outs of shark sex, why male sharks have two claspers, and how to identify egg cases.

Jess Myers is a marine scientist who has a passion for sharing her passion with others. She had spent years assisting with shark tagging programs and studying plastic pollution in our oceans.

Nerd Nite #5 Nite of the Nerds

We’re back for Wilmington’s 5th Nerd Nite, going down at Wilmington Brew Works on Wednesday, May 22 at 6pm. If you haven’t joined us for a Nerd Nite yet, boy howdy are you missing out. If you have, you already know it’s going to be awesome. Read on to see what’s on tap for this month!

itty bitty squiddies with Dr. Liz Shea

This Nerd Night talk will be all about itty bitty cephalopods (squids, octopods and cuttlefishes). We’ll take a shallow dive into the oceans to find and collect some of these tiny but important (and delicious) mollusks. I’ll show you what they look like under the microscope and in the field, and highlight how blackwater diving is changing what we know about how they live their lives.

Dr. Liz Shea is the Curator of Mollusks at the Delaware Museum of Nature and Science and has been a museum nerd her whole life. She got her BS and MA at William & Mary and her PhD at Bryn Mawr College studying the early life history of the squid family Ommastrephidae. Liz’s love of museums and cephalopods started while interning with the Smithsonian’s Squid Squad at the National Museum of Natural History. She is currently editing a book on the Early Life History of Cephalopods which should be published in late 2024/early 2025. She lives with her husband, 2 kids, and 1 dog in Bryn Mawr, PA.

Whiskers at Work: Tales of Museum Cats with Jennifer Acord

Fifteen years ago, a little orange cat showed up near a dumpster at a local museum. Today, Dude the museum cat at the Delaware Museum of Nature and Science has fans around the world. From pest control to social media stardom, explore the world of working cats at museums and other attractions, where every tale is a whisker away from wonder.

Jennifer Acord is the Director of Advancement at the Delaware Museum of Nature and Science. Embracing “other duties as assigned” as her motto, she has also taken on the delightful role of publicist for Dude, the museum’s beloved cat. Throughout her eight-and-a-half-year tenure, Jennifer has worked on various stories publicizing the museum’s initiatives, but the ones generating the most buzz are often centered around Dude.

A Career in Materials Science: Turning today’s science into tomorrow’s material solutions with Dr. Eric Bailey

What does all of the technology that we touch have in common? Materials. Tune in for a deep dive into actual materials science projects – the problems, the solutions, and the everyday examples of science that informs them. Learn about how we can monitor defense systems using the physics of a candle, how a sustainable material can prevent Xbox’s red ring of death, how a Kindle helps us make new materials for bioengineering, and several examples of how high-performance composites can be engineered for different material solutions in a variety of industries.

Eric Bailey grew up near Annapolis, Maryland and got his B.S. at the University of Maryland (UMD) and then his M.S. and Ph.D. at the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn), all in Materials Science and Engineering. Before graduate school, he studied metals, semiconductors, and plastics at labs and companies including the Naval Research Lab, UMD, MIT, and W.L. Gore and Associates. During his PhD at UPenn, his research focused on understanding how and why the addition of nanoparticles changes the transport and rheological properties of polymers. After that, Eric joined DuPont as a new material R&D scientist (in a group that was later sold to a company called Celanese) where he designs new composite materials for a variety of consumer and industrial applications. His current work focuses on new materials for next generation automotive radars, development of flame-retardant engineering polymer composites, and sustainability mainly through using post-consumer recycled polymer. Eric also leads volunteering and community service efforts for Celanese in the Wilmington-area and STEM education/outreach. His hobbies, other than science and volunteerism, include sports (any type, watch or play) and nature (hiking, biking, camping, etc).

Nerd Nite #4 ~ Locally Sourced

The nerdiness continues! This month we’re keeping things local – looking at plants, animals, and music in the tri-state region. We have three wonderful nerds presenting, read on to learn more about the presentations and presenters for this month.

Wait Wait, Don’t Plant That! with Madeline Banks

Wilmington is serendipitously located within the greater Philadelphia area which boasts over 30 public gardens in 30 square miles. As you wander these luscious gardens, you may be gathering ideas for your own outdoor space, but want to learn more about improving the ecological value of our shared world. Look no further! Join me as we learn about invasive plants, their ecology, and native alternatives to non-native ornamentals.

Madeline Banks graduated from Miami University in 2016 with her Bachelor’s in German, Botany, and Environmental Science. After graduation, Madeline spent 6 years in natural resources management within the realm of public horticulture, and now works at the Delaware Museum of Nature and Science as their Interpretation Manager. Madeline spends her days caring for the animals at DelMNS, talking to guests about cool nature things, and making schedules for her awesome staff. Outside of work, Madeline loves travel, hiking, and cats (specifically her cats Plum and Peanut).

The Evolution of Fear: A Slithery Science with Callan Tweedie

This Nerd Nite we’re taking a deep dive into the slithery, scaly history of humans’ fear of snakes. Why do so many people have this fear? (Spoiler alert: It’s scientific!) We’ll discuss why snakes are actually incredibly important and amazing creatures and learn about a few native species that you can find in your own backyard.

Dr. Callan Tweedie is a veterinarian who is passionate about animal wellness and welfare, protection of wildlife, and all things reptiles and invertebrates. When she’s not designing exhibits for bugs and monitor lizards at the upcoming Edelman Fossil Park & Museum, you can find her playing ultimate frisbee, cheering on Philly sports teams, or spending time with her favorite 16 year-old kitty, Garrison.

Music From the Banks of the Brandywine with Brian Cox

The presentation I propose is one that I used to give to the Road Scholar tour called “The DuPonts in Delaware. Titled “Music from the Banks of the Brandywine,” I cover music from Colonial times through the early 20th century, mainly around Wilmington. Alfred I. DuPont is the focus of the lecture, because his is the most compelling story, however I also include some of Ruth Wales duPont’s music (from Winterthur). While I can do an hour long talk, it’s not a problem to edit it down to 20 minutes.

Brian Cox is a native Delawarean, who has been a musician for most of his life. He was educated at the University of Delaware and Temple University. Brian has performed on tuba, bass, and as a conductor with many of the leading orchestras in the area, including the Delaware Symphony, Lancaster Symphony, OperaDelaware, Reading Symphony, and the Curtis Institute Orchestra.  He’s also in demand as a jazz musician, and is the Sousaphone player for Philadelphia’s Hoppin’ John Orchestra.  In 1993, Mr. Cox was commissioned to research historical music from the State of Delaware, culminating in a commercial recording, live performances, and publications of works from the Colonial era to the early 20th century. Since 1999, Mr. Cox has been director of music at Salesianum School in Wilmington.

Nerd Nite Wilmington #3 ~ Down & Dirty

Spring is upon us and it is time to get our hands dirty! Come out to Wilmington Brew Works on Wednesday, March 27 for a night of nerdy and dirty talks (no, not that kind). Tickets for Nerd Nite tend to sell out, so don’t wait until the last minute. Go get your tickets now.

Composting with Brigid Gregory

Did you know that 25% of what Delawareans send to the landfill is food waste? Or that food waste in landfills produces methane, a more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide? Feed the Earth- not your bin, by composting your food scraps and making a nutrient-rich, organic, and FREE fertilizer for your plants and yard. Learn about different types of composting including traditional backyard, community, and vermicomposting aka worm-composting.

Brigid Gregory is the Program Director for the Delaware Community Composting Initiative where she provides composting outreach and technical assistance to Delawareans. She has a long history of implementing sustainability projects and was most recently the Waste Reduction and Recycling manager for Johns Hopkins University where she focused on helping the university move towards being zero waste. Brigid is a proud alumnus of Penn State and University of Delaware. She lives in Wilmington with her husband and 2 kids.

Stardew Valley: Farming and Love with Amelia Hoskins

Stardew Valley has been cited as one of the greatest video games of all time, and I’m going to tell you why. Join for a discussion of: the best marriage candidates, the fastest way to make money, the SV community’s opinions and why some of them are wrong, and much more. Prepare to hear more about a farming sim than you ever have in your life as we pay homage to the singular man who created it.

Amelia Hoskins is a museum educator from the middle of nowhere Pennsylvania. She obtained her bachelor’s degree in Anthropology and Art History from Slippery Rock University and her master’s degree in museum education from The University of the Arts. Her thesis: A Crowd-Sourced Approach to Accommodating Museum Visitors on the Autism Spectrum won multiple awards the year it was completed. She is passionate about accessibility, cubism, and her cat Chief Brody.

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, the Practice of Involuntary Yoga with Cathy Perrotto

Ever heard the phrases “the art of folding clothes with people inside” or “human chess?” (Not the kind at the renaissance fairs.) These all perfectly sum up the practice of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ). Take a dive through the history of BJJ, learn how it relies on knowing human anatomy, and see its importance in basic self-defense. After this talk, you’ll understand why it is just like yoga, but involuntary.

Cathy Perrotto is currently the Special Events & Programs Manager at the Delaware Museum of Nature & Science. Throughout her 10 years there, she has worked in all aspects of public engagement, including camps, scout programs, field trips, outreaches, and gallery interpretation. She is a graduate of Franklin and Marshall College and Miami University of Ohio. Most importantly to this talk, she is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt and second degree brown belt of Modern Arnis (a Filipino self-defense martial art).


Nerd Nite Wilmington 2: Eclectic Rendezvous is sold out! Thanks to all of the nerds who bought tickets and we will see the rest of y’all in March.

Nerd Nite Wilde #2: Eclectic Rendezvous

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.

Nerdy Tee Shirts

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!

Wilmington Nerd Nite #1 SOLD OUT!

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.

Nerd Nite #1: Welcome to Delaware

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.

Meet Your Nerd Nite Boss

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