Nerd Nite SF #68: Politics, Stem Cells, and Cosmology!Wednesday, 1/20/16
Rickshaw Stop, 155 Fell Street @Van Ness
$8, all ages
Tickets available here

With Auld Lang Syne still reverberating in our ears, the first Nerd Nite SF of 2016 draws nigh. If your New Year’s resolution was to learn new things, meet interesting people, or kill more brain cells with beer then we have the event for you! A scientist will tell you how to replace those brain cells, an insider dishes on D.C., and a third talk to be announced. Plus special guest: The SF Department of Elections! After hearing about behind the scenes of D.C. politics, you’re probably going to want to vote, and these folks will get you registered. Come out for three fascinating talks, plus music, drinks, food, voter registration, and your fellow nerds. Be there and be square!


“Hype, Hyperbole, and Human Nature: An insider’s tale of working on the front lines of politics” by Jill Stracko

Is working in politics as goosebump-inducing as the West Wing, as dark as House of Cards portrays, or as hormone-laced as Scandal? People come from all kinds of backgrounds to work for elected officials, and their motivations and experiences run the gamut. Come throw back a few and hear about working in the eye of the storm of politics in Washington, D.C.

Jill has worked at Google in Communications since 2011, and before that was in Washington DC where she worked at the White House and in the United States Senate. Jill also owns a (working!) Nintendo 64, loves 80s music, and is a grammar nerd whose love for the Oxford comma will never die.


“BYOSC: Bring Your Own Stem Cells” by Ramsey Najm

Have you ever wondered how your years of partying and general debauchery have damaged your organs? What if we can do something about all of the damage we have done—and might continue to do—to our brain, liver, and other organs? What if we can extend human life indefinitely? With recent research into stem cell technology and regenerative medicine, we can start asking these kinds of questions. This talk will give you a glimpse into the potential of stem cell based therapies to repair the brain and other tissues damaged by disease, lifestyle, and aging in general—and hopefully by the end you’ll feel slightly more immortal.

Ramsey Najm is a graduate student at the Gladstone Institutes and UCSF. He is studying how to utilize stem cell technology to regenerate cognitive function in Alzheimer’s disease. He suggests that you not waste time trying to save your existing neurons. Just put new ones in.


“The Fate of the Universe (spoiler: everyone is going to die)” by Jessica Kirkpatrick

Will the universe end in a fiery implosion or expand forever until even the nearest star is too far away for us to see? We’ll learn how cosmologists are determining the fate of the universe using telescope data.

Dr. Jessica Kirkpatrick earned a PhD in Astrophysics from UC Berkeley where she studied some of the most distant and brightest known objects in the universe, quasars, and worked with large and complex data sets. She now works as a Data Scientist for Instead of spending her days finding patterns in the structure of the universe, she spends them finding patterns in the behaviors of people in order to help everyone find the job they love.


With: Alpha Bravo, who’ll be spinning tunes specially selected to match the presenters’ themes. Follow the setlist on Twitter @djalphabravo.

Food: Cross Hatch Eatery serves up delicious hot bao buns!

Plus: The San Francisco Department of Elections will get get you registered to vote, sign up poll workers, and answer all your queries about voting.