Nerd Nite SF #39: Athlete Brains, Fisherman’s Wharf, and CERN!This month at Nerd Nite SF we’re exploring the secret lives of jock brains, a tourist trap, and CERN grad students! Drink some beers and join us as we walk and talk through twisting neural pathways, dark alleys, and cavernous tunnels and hopefully emerge a little bit smarter. Be there and be square!

Wednesday, 8/21/2013
Doors at 7 pm, show at 8
Rickshaw Stop, 155 Fell St @Van Ness
$8, all ages — SOLD OUT, sorry!


“It’s the Brain, Stupid – Separating Elite Performers from Good Athletes” by Ben Alamar

Michael Jordan was one of, if not the, best basketball players ever, but he couldn’t hit a baseball to save his life. His inability to play baseball at a high level had nothing to do with athletic skill, as he was clearly athletic enough to play. Jordan’s problem was that he had a basketball brain and basketball brains aren’t very good at playing baseball. Research around the elite brains in different sports helps us understand how these brains differ and why some great athletes will never be able to perform at an elite level.

Ben Alamar is a researcher and consultant in sports analytics. He has worked for teams in the NFL and NBA and is author of Sports Analytics: A Guide for Coaches, Managers, and Other Decision Makers (


“Where’s The Fish? An Insider’s Look At Fisherman’s Wharf” by Kirk Lombard

Fisherman’s Wharf is a neighborhood with a personality crisis. Most San Franciscans see it as a horrifying tee-shirt mall, an eyesore where tourists flock into generic mainstream establishments like Hooters and Applebee’s.
But what’s really going on behind the scenes at the Wharf? And how does it reflect the sodden, ham-fisted, inglorious history of the place? Are the most interesting things at the Wharf the wax museum and the Bush Man? Or is there a deeper significance? Join Kirk Lombard in a discussion of the past and present wharf. Are there any fish in the place? Or is it only a fisherman’s wharf in name only?

Kirk Lombard is a tour guide, former CA. Dept. of Fish and Game fishers observer, seafood blogger, fisherman and fish monger. You can find his tours and local fishing news at


“Discovering the Higgs Boson: The View from Inside CERN” by Katie Malone

On July 4, 2012, CERN, the European Center for Nuclear Research, celebrated America’s independence day by announcing the discovery the long-sought Higgs Boson. Here’s the inside story of the discovery from within the Higgs working groups, as experienced by the foot soldiers (grad students) in the trenches (seemingly endless meetings). We’ll explain why the Higgs was so hard to find, what the atmosphere at CERN was like as the discovery was in progress, and speculate wildly as to what might be next from CERN.

Katie Malone is a physics grad student at Stanford and worked at CERN from 2011-2013. Her research topic is finding the next Higgs boson–before it finds you…


Special Guest MC: Shayle Matsuda, host of “Science, Neat”, a science happy hour at the El Rio. The next event is about color and perception, takes place on 8/20, and features some really awesome people. Go!

Last but not least, DJ Alpha Bravo mans the decks, spinning vinyl and tweeting along to the presentations’ themes. Find out what you’re listening to by following @djalphabravo.