Nerd Nite SF #94: Missing Neutrons, Saving Corals, & the EM Spectrum!With nuclear physicist and comedian Kevin Peter Hickerson, Cal Academy of Sciences reef expert Rebecca Albright, and telecommunications policy lawyer Preston Thomas. Food by Alicia’s Tamales Los Mayas and music by DJ Alpha Bravo. Be there and be square!

Nerd Nite SF #94: Saving Corals, Missing Neutrons, and more!
Wednesday, 3/21/2018
Doors at 7 pm, show at 8
Rickshaw Stop, 155 Fell Street @Van Ness
$8, all ages
Tickets here


“Who the Hell Stole My Frozen Neutrons?” by Kevin Peter Hickerson

Neutrons are normally stowed safely in the dense nuclei of atoms. But when we knock a neutron loose like a break in billiards, it is unstable and only hangs around for about 15 minutes before turning into just another boring hydrogen atom. Measuring this exact length of time, however, is very tricky. One new way is to freeze them to insanely low temperatures, but these ultracold neutrons disappear faster than expected! Did we count wrong? Do they become dark matter or enter the mirror world? Where the hell do they go?

Kevin is a nuclear physicist, inventor and comedian. He has worked with ultracold neutrons for over a decade. He hosts the science and comedy podcast Surely You’re Joking.


“Can We Save the Corals?!” by Rebecca Albright

Driven by urgency, scientists are trying increasingly bold and creative ways to conserve and restore reef ecosystems. They’re rapidly transplanting, fertilizing, and enhancing corals to help them adapt to warmer oceans, and they’re searching for techniques that are scalable and won’t break the bank. Rebecca will introduce us to some of the main challenges facing reefs today and the innovative ways scientists are trying to address these threats head-on. Join us for a peek into the future of coral reefs, and discover how you can be part of the solution.

Rebecca is a coral biologist, curator, and co-leader of the Hope for Reefs initiative at the California Academy of Sciences. She focuses on understanding how coral reef ecosystems cope with changing environmental conditions.


“Running Out of Light” by Preston Thomas

Yes, Dorothy, there is an end to the rainbow, and we’re getting there far faster than we realize. When every wireless device needs a slice of the electromagnetic spectrum and seven–no, eight, no, nine–billion people want a wireless device (or two), we find ourselves in the middle of a most unusual land rush. From satphones to SETI, pirate radio to thermonuclear war, we’ll trip the light fantastic as we examine how spectrum gets used and used up, and discover the clever engineering and policy that goes into squeezing the most out of this strange intangible natural resource.

Preston is a lawyer, lockpicker, and amateur radio operator. He has worked in telecommunications policy for a decade.


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

Food: Tantalizing tamales from Alicia’s Tamales los Mayas.