Nerd Nite DC is DC’s original science + nerd + drinking event. See us nerd out!

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Nerd Nite April: Rockin’ the Penguins

Penguins are adorable, American rock and roll is cool, and your immune system is, well, essential.  At Nerd Nite DC this month, come and learn about the awesome ways NASA is going to save penguins (and other critters of the cold too), how the American Civil War sparked a tradition of folk music that continues to today, and how your immune system has some seriously ninja-like capabilities.   Spring is here and its time to take your brain out of that winter deep freeze.  So as always, come and join us to be there, and be square.

Date: Saturday April 11th, 2015 A.D.
Time: Doors 6:00PM, Show 6:30PM
Where: DC9, 1940 9th St NW
Tickets: on sale now at


And the talks are…


Space, Penguins, and Poetry
by Peter Aquino


The NASA’s ICESat-2 (Ice, Cloud, and land Elevation Satellite) is slated for a 2017 launch. In this talk you’ll learn about the nifty science behind the ICESat-2 and the lasers, detectors and mirrors that will make it possible. Hear about how the ICESat-2 is effectively shooting lasers to earth at the ice caps and taking thickness measurements to conclude where it’s melting the fastest, thus being able to tell scientists where fawn and flora are most endangered, and saving all those dang little adorable penguins. And if that wasn’t enough, there’s also a math poetry finale!?

Bio: Peter is a mechanical engineer working at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. His work deals with the design, assembly, testing, and launch of NASA’s ICESat-2. But while he’s not trying to figure out the change in the thickness of the polar ice caps, he’s out composing some arguably rad poetry. Watch out Da Vinci, there’s a new Renaissance Man on the scene.


Hidden in Plain Sight: The Civil War, and the Origins of American Popular Music
by Jonny Grave


In 100 years, how did we go from “Rally Round the Flag” to Bob Dylan’s “Blonde on Blonde?” The Mid-19th Century was a turning point for America– The Civil War, the Industrial Revolution, a massive influx of immigrants, and a whole host of songs springing out of the ground. For this talk, Jonny Grave will show you how the end of the Civil War sparked the century-long fire that ignited rock and roll.

Bio: Jonny Grave is a guitarist, songwriter, singer, bandleader, teacher, musical historian, journalist, photographer, and Bluesman from Washington DC. Growing up in a very musical family, Grave was introduced to the sounds of American traditional folk music early on. At age fifteen he found himself learning slide guitar techniques from old Blues records, and by seventeen he was performing them live.


The Body’s Not a Battlefield, But Get That Guy Out of Here!
by Jeff Teigler

Nerd Nite JT (1)

We usually hear about the body as some kind of fort with your immune system manning the walls. They fend off attacks from microbial armies (the usual), vikings (more interesting), or ninjas (way more interesting). But it’s a lot more like your immune system is trying to stop someone from sneaking into the party that is your body. I’ll give you some examples of how your body recognizes crashers and how this helps explain why we get sick. I’ll also hopefully show you that I’m a lot better at making analogies than you might think.

Bio: Jeff is a postdoctoral fellow at the U.S. Military HIV Research Program. His work focuses on understanding how the immune system can be trained to fight infections in new ways. When he’s not in the lab he likes traveling, learning languages, and basically anything that gets him outdoors.

Nerd Nite DC: Be There and Be Square!