Welcome to Nerd Nite SF, 3rd Wednesdays at Rickshaw Stop!

Congratulations! You have happened upon our website, where you’ll find information on all our future and past events (going back to 2010!). We are Nerd Nite SF, a monthly lecture-in-a-bar series where people from all walks of life give presentations on everything from video game design to historic shipwrecks. We’ve hosted mimes, musicians and everyone in between, with the goal of being entertaining, silly, and most of all, educational. Come learn a new fact, make a new friend, or try a new drink! Rickshaw Stop creates a special drink based on the month’s presentations!

February Show UPDATE! Nerd Nite Co-Founder to Guest with OFFICIAL Nerd Nite Book!

Ahoy, Bay Area nerds! I’m delighted to bring you an update for our February 21st show! To celebrate the release of HOW TO WIN FRIENDS AND INFLUENCE FUNGI, book contributor Kelly Jansen and Matt Wasowski, Nerd Nite co-founder and co-author, will be our special guests for the night! Books will also be available for purchase from Book Passage at the event! Come on by to chat with Nerd Nite literati and (if you ask nicely!) get a signed copy of the OFFICIAL Nerd Nite book. We’re excited to bring you this rare opportunity to meet with one of the founders our beloved show and community space.

Click here for tickets to the show!

Nerd Nite SF#139: Hiking Trails, Gender Equity in Medical Research, and the History of the Presidio

Come one, come all, to the first Nerd Nite of 2024! We’re excited to start off the year with some classic local topics and histories. Featuring talks from trailblazers (both literal and figurative) local trivia gurus, and a UCSF medical researcher, this is one show you don’t want to miss!

Get your tickets here!
Wednesday, February 21st
Doors 7pm / Show 8pm
$10 online / $15 door

Lucas Ho – “Hidden History of the Presidio/Marina”

What are the earthquake shacks? How did Laguna St get its name? Where was Irish coffee introduced to the US? Learn all this, and more hidden history of the Presidio/Marina.

Speaker Bio:
Lucas is a software engineer living in San Francisco who was born and raised in the Bay Area. He previously worked with the authors of Walking SF’s 49 Mile Scenic Drive to create a walking tour app, which inspired a walking tour he led, which inspired this Nerd Nite talk.

Joe Gibson – “The Wild World of Trailbuilding” 

Have you ever been hiking on a trail and wondered, “how did this get here?” Trail crew leader Joe Gibson will peel back the curtain on the subtle art of trail building, sharing a glimpse of the techniques, philosophy, and science that go into making a hiking trail seem like it has been there since time immemorial. We will explore the arcane profession of trail work, with all of its culture, quirks, and adventure. You’ll never look at a trail the same!

Speaker Bio:
Joe Gibson is a writer, photographer, and trail crew leader based in San Francisco. You can follow his project to document trail work and trail workers at trailcrewstories.com and @trailcrewstories on social media.

Jennifer Grandis – “Gender Equity in Medicine and Science”

Gender inequities are found throughout medicine and science. Stories about men and women physicians and scientists from across the US will be shared with the goal of making inequities visible and identifying potential solutions.

Speaker Bio:
Dr. Jennifer R. Grandis is a physician scientist who is interested in the impact of gender on career development in medicine and science. She is an ENT surgeon who studies head and neck cancer with the goals of enabling precision medicine studies. She has leveraged her access to head and neck cancer patients and their biospecimens to optimize translational research studies that include developing novel therapies in the laboratory for clinical application as well as generating and interrogating relevant preclinical models to determine the underlying mechanism of clinical findings.  In her institutional roles at the University of Pittsburgh and since 2015, at UCSF, she has facilitated collaborations between clinicians and investigators with an emphasis of developing a robust research infrastructure to support clinical and translational cancer studies. She has published over 400 papers in the peer-reviewed literature and been continuously funded by the NIH since joining the faculty in 1993. Dr. Grandis is an elected member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation the Association of American Physicians and the National Academy of Medicine. She is an American Cancer Society Clinical Research Professor.

We are as always thrilled to welcome our friends of the show!:
Beats by DJ&Jelly
The San Francisco Public Library
Self-help Tarot with Ben Grandis

NASA X NERD NITE (!)

A collaboration that is sure to be out of this world! 🚀🌎🤓

Wednesday, December 13
Doors 7pm / Show 8pm
$10 online / $15 door
Tickets here!

Dr. Kirk David Knobelspiesse of the PACE Mission

PACE stands for Plankton, Aerosol, Cloud, ocean Ecosystem and its data will help us better understand how the ocean and atmosphere exchange carbon dioxide. In addition, it will reveal how aerosols might fuel phytoplankton growth in the surface ocean. Novel uses of PACE data will benefit our economy and society. For example, it will help identify the extent and duration of harmful algal blooms. PACE will extend and expand NASA’s long-term observations of our living planet. By doing so, it will take Earth’s pulse in new ways for decades to come. Come get the details in a nutshell during this presentation!

Dr. Marcela Loria-Salazar

Marcela works at the University of Oklahoma’s School of Meteorology and was one of the first professors in Oklahoma to be hired for the study of air quality.  She studies aerosols and aerosol transport using different platforms. One is with measurements, and one is with satellite retrievals. Marcela has also created applications from plume injection heights and identified ways to use them for air quality monitoring. She also assimilates satellite data to data fishing models. Through working with polar orbiting satellites, she can fill gaps created by clouds. She and her team take the retrievals and try to forecast how to get the AOD full picture by attempting to remove the cloud and create the AOD retrieval from that using polar satellites. She wants to move toward using the scenario data to have more data points and more observations.

Dr. Jeremy Werdell

Jeremy Werdell is an Oceanographer in the Ocean Ecology Laboratory (OEL) at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) and the Project Scientist for the PACE mission. Jeremy currently oversees the SeaWiFS Bio-optical Archive and Storage System (SeaBASS), NASA bio-Optical Marine Algorithm Data set (NOMAD), and OEL in-water bio-optical algorithm development efforts. His research interests extend to the on-orbit calibration of ocean color satellite instruments, the validation of remotely-sensed data products, the collection and analysis of in situ biogeochemical oceanographic measurements, and the assimilation of the above to study how the global ocean and various regional ecosystems are changing with time. When time permits, Jeremy moonlights as a teacher and student mentor (and wannabe chef). He has led several internationally attended workshops on bio-optical algorithm development and helped instruct undergraduate and graduate-level courses on ocean optics and biology.

Nerd Nite SF: # 137 The Halloween Nerdtacular!

Kick off spooky season with a nerdy twist at our Halloween special! Featured will be a talk on the real Gray’s Anatomy, tarot readings by Nerd Nite alum Ben Grandis, a pumpkin decorating contest (with prizes!), music by dj andjelly, and our friends in nerdom, the SF Public Library crew. Just added: a special presentation on adaptive fashion with Tracy Vollbrecht! There will be something for everyone, in true Nerd Nite fashion! (pun intended)

🎃~Get your tickets here! ~👻

Thursday, October 19
Doors 7pm / Show 8pm
$10 online / $15 door

The Real Gray’s Anatomy Was So Much Worse by Patrick Kelly
The medical drama, Grey’s Anatomy, got its name from the most famous medical textbook of all time — Gray’s Anatomy. And the story of the book’s creation has the same level of drama and life-or-death action as the show… but with much less hooking up in the on-call room, and much more smallpox. In this talk, you’ll learn how medical education has changed over time, the controversial career of Henry Gray, and how to procure a cadaver. At least in 1850s London.

Patrick Kelly is a Bay Area based science communicator specializing in video creation. He’s written and researched video scripts for YouTube channels like SciShow and Seeker, as well as for institutions like the Mütter Museum and the American Public Health Association. These days, he makes videos about the history of medicine on YouTube. Subscribe at www.YouTube.com/@patkellyteaches 

The Spooky Truth: How Disability Inclusion Is Left Out of Fashion by Tracy Vollbrecht

Despite being the largest minority group and the only minority group anyone can join at any point in life, people with disabilities are often left out of the fashion industry. In this talk, you’ll learn how clothing impacts societal participation, what adaptive fashion is, and how we can all benefit from disability inclusion. Plus you’re guaranteed to see some cute, funny, and ghoulish costumes in the process!

Tracy Vollbrecht is the founder of Vollbrecht Adaptive Consulting, an adaptive fashion consultancy rooted in universal design principles. Tracy’s work has been featured in Women’s Wear Daily, Vogue, Oprah Daily, and Cosmopolitan. When she’s not enjoying all of SF’s awesome remote work spots, you can find her kayaking or stand up paddle boarding in the bay – sometimes even in costume! Connect with Tracy on Instagram (@VollbrechtAdaptiveConsulting) and TikTok (@VollbrechtAdaptive).


We hope to see you there! 🎃 🤓

Nerd Nite SF #136: Maggot Therapy, Waves, & Your Brain on Exercise!

Let’s wiggle!

We are reluctantly wiggling out of our Hot Nerd Summer series, but full steam ahead into the Fall! Join us in September to experience the Nerd Wiggling Extravaganza where we will be featuring things that wiggle: waves, maggots, and your body.

Nerd Nite SF
9/20/23
Rickshaw Stop
Doors 7pm, show 8pm
$10 online, $15 door
Tickets here!

(Note: The info on the Rickshaw page is outdated. This email and our website have the correct lineup. )

The World is Made of Waves
by Yousef Hindy

Waves are all around us in ways that we may not even realize. They are how we humans perceive and interact with the world, yet many think of waves as restricted to the ocean or football stadiums. In this talk you will see how all the things you see (and dont see) in the world around you are made of waves and are governed by wave principles. We’ll come to understand what a wave is, some real world examples, and how to evaluate and find wave-like phenomena in your everyday life. 

Yousef is a physicist turned software engineer. He discovered his love of waves in his high school physics courses, and continued his exploration as he studied physics in undergrad. He currently uses waves to teach cars how to drive.

Maggot Therapy or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bugs
by Avir Mitra MD

What’s the most disgusting thing I see too often in the ER? Maggots. In this lecture, we explore the fascinating science and history of maggot infections and the surprising ways in which they may be just what the doctor ordered.

Avir Mitra is an ER doctor and Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine and Education at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. He moonlights as a contributing editor at Radiolab and has also written and produced stories for Vice, The Pulse and Here and Now. You can keep up with him on Insta @avirmitra and on Twitter @avirrr.

Why We Want to Wiggle: This is Your Brain on Exercise
by Katie Shakman

The brain is a miraculous organ, allowing us to sense, experience, and interact with the world. And it’s constantly changing. Everything we do impacts the connections our neurons will form, and some of our behaviors — like exercise — can have an outsized impact. We’ll explore controversy and surprising connections in the life of your brain and the neuroscience of how your own actions can change it.

Katie is a neuroscientist-turned-mental health data scientist who has studied fly aggression and the importance of salience signals for learning and memory. While earning her PhD, she served on the board of Columbia University Neuroscience Outreach where she shared her enthusiasm for the brain with New Yorkers at events across the city.

Joining us again will be the SF Public Library and DJ AndJelly!

Hope to nerd out with you soon!

Nerd Nite SF #135: Pirates, Baby Animals, & Living on All Algae Diet

We see a return to the ocean in August, but this time with pirates instead of sharks. Also, have you ever thought of Earth as one giant nursery for everyone’s and everything’s spawn, from mites to mice? Well, you will! And if you’ve definitely never considered eating algae to help climate change, well, we can’t say you will…but maybe you’ll be inspired. Plus, our friends from the SF Public Library will be in attendance to sign you up for a library car and hook you up with stickers, pins, and other literary swag.

Nerd Nite SF
8/16/23
Rickshaw Stop
Doors 7pm, show 8pm
$10 online, $15 door
Tickets here!


“Nursery Earth: The Wondrous Lives of Baby Animals (and the Incredible Sacrifices of Their Parents)”
By: Danna Staaf
At any given moment, most animals on the planet are babies—from chicks and tadpoles to caterpillars and marine larvae. Their tiny, hidden lives reveal some of nature’s strangest workings: A salamander embryo breathes with the help of algae inside its cells. The young grub of a Goliath beetle dwarfs its parents. Mouse embryos can absorb cancerous cell grafts—and develop into healthy adults. At once incredibly vulnerable and incredibly vital, baby animals are not just beings in progress, but beings in their own right. And our planet needs them all: the maggots as much as the kittens! Meanwhile, every animal baby has parents. Whether they stick around to nurse their young or die before their eggs hatch, all animal parents invest in the next generation . . . sometimes in truly bizarre ways, like the caecilian mom who grows an extra “milk skin” or the mama mite who’s literally bursting with pride.

About the Speaker:
Danna Staaf is an author, artist, and marine biologist who earned a PhD from Stanford University with her studies of baby squid. Her writing has appeared in Nautilus, Atlas Obscura, and Science, and her first book, Squid Empire: The Rise and Fall of the Cephalopods, was named one of the best science books of the year by NPR’s Science Friday. Her book for young readers, The Lady and the Octopus: How Jeanne Villepreux-Power Invented Aquariums and Revolutionized Marine Biology (https://lernerbooks.com/shop/show/21976), was listed as a best book of the year by both the School Library Journal and the Children’s Book Committee. Her most recent book, Nursery Earth: The Wondrous Lives of Baby Animals and the Extraordinary Ways They Shape Our World (https://theexperimentpublishing.com/catalogs/summer-2023/nursery-earth/), has been called “a gobsmack
ing delight!” Staaf lives in San Jose, California, with her husband, children, cat, and innumerable plush octopuses.

“Super Slime Me or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Live on Algae”
By: Elliot Roth
Algae enthusiasts and plankton party animals, welcome to the wacky world of green gastronomy! Over the past few weeks, our speaker has been on a wild, strange and sometimes hilarious adventure through the uncharted territory of munching on nothing but algae. He’s been surviving on some slime sublime as a means of investigating the potential of our tiny green friends to meet the challenges of everything from the impending climate catastrophe to life in space. Get ready to dive into weird self-experimentation, the carbon impact of food, and how you too might one day be eating algae on a daily basis.

About the Speaker:
Elliot Roth is the founder of Spira, a company that uses genetically engineered algae grown by a global network of farming partners to make designer materials, starting with natural colors. He is a synthetic biologist with years of experience in product design and storytelling, and previously started 7 companies and 2 nonprofits. In his spare time he plays music, and participates in space analog missions while residing in San Francisco a few blocks from Dolores Park.

“The Greatest Pirate Who Ever Lived (A Woman!)”
By Christina Li

Boats full of bloodthirsty female pirates, cannibalism, international politics, and men who cry and only dress in blue – dive into the brutal and colorful world of the most successful pirate in written history. Despite being illiterate and born into a life of sex work, Chang Yi Sao (or Chang Sek Yeung) rose to lead over 10,000 people against the dominant Qing, British, and Portuguese empires. 

This talk will dive into the recruitment, organization, and politicking that Chang Yi Sao (or Chang Sek Yeung) used to create an empire of misfits and live to retire at a ripe old age. You’ll also hear stories of the amazing characters that populated early 1800s South East China, a society bursting from a population explosion, marginalized by an indifferent and faraway emperor, and perused by new international merchants each their own agenda. 

Christina Li is a musician and theater producer in the Bay Area. She is passionate about community work and bringing hidden histories to life through art. Check out what’s next on instagram: @christinali