Category: Events

Nerd Nite DC November 18th: Frogs, Vagus Nerves, and Space Board Games

A poster for the show with a happy frog on it. It says Nerd Nite DC Nov 18, 2023, 6:30pm @ DC9.

(not really, but there is a lecture about frogs and a lecture about space board games. And one about the Vagus nerve! What a night!)

Gobble up some knowledge and a side of laughter at Nerd Nite DC’s pre-Thanksgiving feast of facts! We’re serving up lectures on the Vagus Nerve, Frogs, and crafting a space board game that’s the stuffing of dreams!

“The Fantastic and Freaky World of Frogs!” by Angela Trenkle
Talk Description: Join us in a deep dive into the weird, wacky, and wonderful world of frogs!
Bio: Angela is a scientific technical writer and herpetology enthusiast who was born and raised in Maryland. She is a certified Master Herpetologist and is an active volunteer with several environmental organizations that work to preserve the natural world. When she is not working or volunteering, she enjoys reading, writing, traveling, running, weightlifting, and spending as much time outdoors as possible.

“I Made a Space Board Game Instead of Doing my Post-Doc” by Mickey McDonald
Talk Description: We humans have visited a lot of worlds in our Solar System, and not just the 8 (plus Pluto!) you usually learn about in school. To date, the robots we’ve sent out to explore the Solar System have returned high-res, close-up pictures of more than 70 unique worlds including comets, asteroids, moonlets, and dwarf planets. I think this is pretty cool! So I made a board game about it, found a factory to make it for me, wrote a book on astronomy (despite not reallllly being an astronomer), and now I want to tell you how that whole deal went.
Bio: Mickey McDonald got his PhD in physics at Columbia back in 2016 learning how to make molecules wiggle in just the right way when hit with just the right kind of light, but his secret passion has always been learning about the universe. He currently lives in Colorado working for a company trying hard to build quantum computers, and spends his evenings making music and hanging out with his lovely wife and his three almost-as-lovely cats.

“The Polyvagal Theory: The Vagus Nerve And How Everything Around Us Transforms Our Body—Including, But Not Just, Trauma” by Seth Porges
Talk Description: What is the vagus nerve? Could simply feeling safe allow us to live healthy and happy lives? Why do pets make us happy? What does any of this have to do with trauma? Will somebody turn down that loud noise? Why is everything so overwhelming? Why does everything suck? What can I do about it?
Bio: Seth Porges is a journalist, author, and filmmaker. He wrote, produced, and directed the hit movie Class Action Park on (HBO) Max, as well as an upcoming stranger-than-fiction doc coming soon to Netflix. Previously, he was an editor at Popular Mechanics and Maxim magazines, and a columnist for Bloomberg Businessweek. He currently holds the world record for most unique Nerd Nite talks given, and is pretty good at pinball. His book Our Polyvagal World: How Safety and Trauma Change Us is available now.

Date: Saturday, Nov. 18th

Time: Doors at 6, show at 6:30

Where: DC9 Nightclub

Nerd Nite DC October 21: Gentrification, Boners, and Smutty Fan Fic

Welcome to the monthly Nerd Nite, where nerds can share their passions and unusual research with a room full of people eager to spend a weekend night in a bar learning.

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

“What Happened in DC Before Gentrification?” by Tanya Golash-Boza

Talk Description: Let’s explore how DC went from being the murder and incarceration capital to becoming one of the most gentrified cities in the country.

Bio: Tanya Golash-Boza was born and raised in Washington, DC. She is a proud graduate of DC Public Schools, the University of Maryland (BA in Philosophy), and the University of North Carolina (PhD in Sociology). She currently works as the Executive Director of the University of California Washington Program.


“Beakers and Boners” by Joe Meany

Talk Description: Chemistry these days is actually pretty cool, producing beer, vaccines, and batteries, but in the past it was a practice heavily seated in superstition. The history of alchemy was hyper-focused on perpetuating life and virility (cough cough male life and virility cough cough) and other discoveries are “well this is cool too I guess.

Bio: Joe is a science consultant and author currently living in Arlington, VA. He has a background in chemistry and materials science, and you can find him around the internet as The Crimson Alkemist.


“From The Enterprise to Anonymous: A Smutty Public Speaking AU History of Fan Fiction” by Lisa Crawford

Talk Description: Lisa will take you on a journey through a brief history of modern fan fiction starting with its “creation” in the 70s all the way to a recent hacker attack of a popular fan fiction site to punish us for our fictional degeneracy. She’ll discuss why something so dorky is so compelling, explain how fan fic writers transform their stories into best selling original works, demonstrate the science—nay! the art of choosing a good fic, and bring it home with a highly intellectual audience-participation game called “smut or angst” where the audience decides on the genre of a fic based solely on its title.

Bio: Lisa is a badass shark biologist who works for the government. In her spare time, she enjoys rotting her brain with television and reading excessive amounts of fan fiction. Lisa is a mother of 22 guppies—only because she can’t keep a shark in her apartment.

When: 6:30pm on Oct 21

Where: DC9 Nightclub

Tickets: $10 at

Nerd Nite DC Sept 16: Sci Fi Space Travel, Conspiracies, and the Sex Ed you never got!

DATE: 9/16
TIME: Doors at 6, show at 6:30
PLACE: DC9 Nightclub
TICKETS: $10 @
WHAT: Three irreverent-yet-informative lectures by passionate experts separated by short breaks for drinking and socializing with your fellow nerds!


“The Glomar Explorer: What we can confirm and deny about “vast government conspiracies” from Project Azorian” by Andrew Thaler
Project Azorian was the most expensive and  complex covert operation in US history, yet it was, by all accounts, a complete failure. What lessons can we learn from the OG Vast Government Conspiracy about how misinformation spreads, how government works (or doesn’t), and how projects like Azorian can shape international policy half a century later.

Bio: Andrew Thaler is a deep-sea ecologist, conservation technologist, and ocean educator whose work on high seas policy and the environmental impacts of deep-sea mining often collides with some of the stranger moments in the history of deep-ocean exploration.

“Sex Ed Summer School– Who Will Be Teacher’s Pet?” by Rebecca Rose Vassey, aka Diva Darling
Did vibrators cure hysteria? What sex toy is a disability assistive device? Will a yoni egg fix your haunted vagina? Forget STI scare tactics and condoms on cucumbers, sex edutainer Diva Darling fills you in on the erotic know-how you wish you’d gotten in school– and busts some myths along the way. You’ll be begging for detention!

Bio: Diva Darling is the producer and femme-cee of the sex-themed storytelling show Smut Slam DC. She’s a sex educator, dating/relationship coach, and writer for The Pincus Center for Inclusive Treatment and Education. She’s also a burlesque performer and teacher, actor, playwright/producer, and an author whose short story “Frenzy” was just released in Best Women’s Erotica of the Year Vol. 8. Follow her at

“Artificial Gravity and Faster-Than-Light Travel: Spacetime in Sci-Fi” by Erin McDonald
Join Erin Macdonald (PhD, Astrophysics and Star Trek Science Advisor) as she walks us through the history and science of spacetime physics and how we can cheat (or not) these rules to make long-term space travel in sci-fi possible!

Bio: Erin Macdonald, PhD (she/her) – Erin Macdonald is a tattooed one-woman STEM career panel, with recognition as a researcher, educator, speaker, engineer, and consultant before her current career. She lives in Los Angeles working as a writer and producer and is also the science consultant for the entire Star Trek franchise. She is also the founder and CEO of Spacetime Productions, a production company dedicated to lifting marginalized voices and providing opportunity in traditionally under-represented genre stories.