Nerd Nite Melbourne
** SOLD OUT!** NERD NITE MELBOURNE EDITION #42
NerdNite Melbourne is back! We have a superb team of speakers leading the charge into 2021, promising to nourish our starved intellects after an excruciating 12-month hiatus. In lieu of our collective travel plans, Flavia Marcello is taking us on a worldwide tour of classical architecture. Ebony Monson is presenting an (extremely topical) in-depth look at hacking human immune responses to address incurable viral infections, and Matt McArthur will illustrate how physics and chemistry fundamentals are applied in the colourful world of trauma cleaning. We are excited to see you at Howler in Brunswick to resume our celebration of beer, burgers, and brains!
What’s with all the f***ing columns? Why we still love the architecture of ancient Greece and Rome
by Flavia Marcello
Description: Have you ever wondered why columns are just everywhere? Some are smooth, others have grooves; some have scrolls, others have a bunch of leaves on top. You’ll see columns, together with all the other bits and pieces with weird names like dado or dentil that we call Classical architecture on all sorts of buildings all over the world. They’re on ruined temples, suburban McMansions, Renaissance palazzos and those ‘I’m very important’ buildings like libraries and town halls. I’m going to take you on a world-wide romp through history (which is cool because we are not allowed to go anywhere) to tell the story of how our obsession with Classical architecture started, who kept it alive over the centuries, why we use it to communicate identity, wealth and power and why we still love it so much today (spoiler alert – it involves dead virgins and baskets).
Bio: Flavia Marcello is an Associate Professor of Architectural History which sounds kinda dry and boring but is actually loads of fun because she gets paid to look at old buildings, write about them and even (sometimes) point at them. She lived in Rome for eight years so is an expert on the history of one of the world’s oldest and most famous cities. She is an expert on the Italian Fascist period and how they used Classical architecture to communicate power. She also teaches architecture students about the architecture of the past so that they will (hopefully) design better buildings in the future.
Hacking Immune Responses
by Ebony Monson
Description: After 2020, the widespread devastation that viral infections can cause is clear to everyone. We know how viruses infect us. We have a good idea of the steps our immune systems take to respond to infection. But there’s still so much we don’t know. While vaccines offer one route to protecting the population, it’s not enough. As we’re seeing with UK and South African variants, vaccines are not a panacea. Better understanding of how our bodies respond to viral infections helps us to develop new drugs to treat newly emerging infections (such as SARS-CoV-2). By learning how to boost immune responses, we can rapidly respond to viral mutations and potentially even treat currently incurable viral infections.
Bio: Ebony is a postdoctoral research scientist at La Trobe University. She obtained her PhD earlier this year where she explored the role of lipid droplets in the immune response to viral infections. She is continuing her research this year to expand on the work produced during her PhD. Ebony enjoys sharing science and you can find her on various podcasts and on social media (@ebony_monson).
Knee Deep with Science as a Shovel
by Matt McArthur
Description: It's confronting when death comes unexpectedly stomping into our lives. The messy business of death is big business for those with the stomach, equipment, and PPE to attend to the aftermath of unexpected deaths. The grisly tasks involved in restoring a home, workplace, or public space to a biologically clean and a psychologically manageable state in the wake of extreme biological messiness throws up a lot of challenges. Those challenges are solved by the direct applications of large quantities of chemistry and physics. Where other presentations romp, this presentation trudges through the methodical, measured, and isolating day-to-day existence of the trauma cleaner and highlights how the application of scientific principles finds the shortcuts to get results in addressing even those most stubborn of stains.
Bio: Matt McArthur is a marine ecologist specialising in benthic habitats of temperate and polar waters, so it came as something of a surprise to him that he found himself working in and enjoying the challenges of trauma cleaning for two and a half years. Matt is a Nerd Nite Melbourne return speaker, who’s previous talk was, “diving with the Kiwis among the penguins.” Diver, mariner, Antarctic history lecturer, infectious materials handler — not exactly the career he mapped for himself as a teen, but so far never a dull moment.