Nerd Nite SF #84: SciComm, GG Bridge, Water InfrastructureWednesday, 5/17/2017
Doors at 7 pm, show at 8
Rickshaw Stop, 155 Fell Street @Van Ness
$8, all ages
Tickets here

Attention! You’ve just been drafted to fight in the war on science! Bring your best facts, sharpest mechanical pencils, and plenty of terabytes to our nerdy boot camp, where an award-winning journalist will make us do drills on science communication, a historian and rogu(ish) ex-park ranger will march us over the Golden Gate Bridge, and a drinking water delivery expert will keep us hydrated with submersible robots. With the usual aides-de-camp–Rickshaw bartenders, Grilled Cheese Guy, SFPL, and Alpha Bravo on the airwaves–we cannot lose. Be there and be square!

“Winning the War on Science” by Erika Check Hayden

Is there really a war on science? What are the rules of engagement for those who communicate about science in an age when facts seem to be under attack? Award-winning science journalist Erika Check Hayden will draw on her experience covering events–from the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks to the 2014 Ebola outbreak–to answer these questions. Come prepared to share your examples of good and bad science communication and to engage in a thoughtful discussion about how to move forward in engaging the public on science.

Erika is director of the Science Communication Program at UC Santa Cruz and was a reporter at Nature for 15 years, where she focused on covering infectious diseases and genetics and won multiple awards from the Association of Health Care Journalists.


“Golden Gate Bridge: A Most Misunderstood Landmark” by John Martini

Why isn’t the Golden Gate Bridge painted gold? Is there really a dead body buried in the concrete? Why does it take seven years to paint it from one end to the other? You mean it’s cheaper to cross the bridge now than when it opened? The Golden Gate Bridge is San Francisco’s most iconic landmark, except perhaps for Alcatraz, but, just like the Rock, it’s surrounded by myths and misconceptions. In this talk commemorating the Bridge’s 80th birthday, historian John Martini will share little-known stories of its construction and operations, and possibly explain how a 25¢ toll ballooned into $7.50.

John is a native San Franciscan and lifelong researcher into the history of California and the American West. He worked as a ranger for more than 25 years at national parks around the country and is now an independent consultant specializing in historical research. He appears regularly on PBS, History Channel, A&E Network, and National Geographic Channel.


“Waterworld: The Hunt for What Lies Beneath” by Adam Tank

Many pipes delivering drinking water were installed in the late 1800s. They are now well beyond their remaining useful life, and many are cracking, breaking, and leaking trillions of gallons of water underground. In fact, 30% of all clean water is lost in distribution before it reaches our homes. Fortunately, historical pipeline data, coupled with advanced acoustic, satellite, and robotic technology, is emerging that enables us to find & fix these problem pipes without digging up streets.

Adam is the founder of a Bay Area startup building submersible robots for the repair of buried water pipes. He previously ran General Electric’s Digital Water division, focused on creating software solutions for water utilities all over the world. He tweets about things water and non-water related @artank.


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

Food: Delicious hot goop between crispy slices of bread, brought to you by the scientist of the sammie, Grilled Cheese Guy.

Plus: The San Francisco Public Library will be on hand to dole out library cards, reading lists, and the hottest branch gossip.