Nerd Nite SF #13: History of Guitars, Science in The Simpsons, and the National Ignition Facility

Event has passed (Wed Jun 15, 2011 - Wed Jun 15, 2011)
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School may be out for the summer, but we’re not! And what true nerd ever looked forward to summer vacation, anyway? This month’s Nite is a total dork fantasyland: guitars, giant laser beams, and The Simpsons teaching science. Be there or be square!

Wait, what is Nerd Nite, you ask? It's three ~30 minute talks given in a bar, with a couple hundred other nerds in attendance, and with the beer a-flowing. It's funny, inebriated, and smart. And very, very nerdy.

"Strum und Twang: A Brief History of the Guitar & Its Cousins" by Brian Davis

Most people have picked out a few chords, and all of us have enjoyed some of its repertoire. But: "Why guitar?" It's not as easy to play as the ukulele nor as sexy as the theorbo. This talk will cover the guitar's 4,000-year history, and what its dominance means for music's future.

Brian Davis is a game designer and amateur luthier who focuses on the modernization of early musical instruments.

"Science in The Simpsons" by Kishore Hari

"Ah, there's nothing more exciting than science. You get all the fun of sitting still, being quiet, writing down numbers, paying attention…Science has it all." - Principal Skinner. We'll take a look at all the science those beloved Simpsons characters have taught us: genetic engineering, artificial intelligence, quantum physics and more.

Kishore Hari is the director of the first-ever Bay Area Science Festival (, led by UCSF.

"Building a Star on Earth: The National Ignition Facility" by John Post and Tim Frazier

The National Ignition Facility (NIF) is the world's largest and highest-energy laser. Just the sort of thing we need to blow up Alderaan and crush the Rebellion forever, right? But the NIF also has the goal of being the first to achieve laboratory-based, self-sustaining nuclear fusion. 2 NIF staffers will guide us through its achievements so far.

John Post is an assistant principal associate director for the NIF/Photon Sciences Directorate organization at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL).

Tim Frazier leads the Information Technology (IT) organization for the NIF and Photon Science Principal Associate Directorate (PAD) at LLNL.

Plus: DJ Alpha Bravo

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