UPDATE: The videos of the talks are now available, and linked to below, under the description of each talk! You can also peruse the nerd nite Wellington Vimeo channel here 🙂
Greetings, all, and welcome to 2012!
In this, the first nerd nite of 2012 (and hopefully not the last session, it being, well, 2012 and all*), we’ll be covering superheavy elements, our history with computers, negotiation and radio and our relationship therewith.
Getting a special mention are speakers Peter Schwerdtfeger and Heinz Gäggeler (who is actually based in Switzerland), who are flying down from Auckland to be with us!
It’s taking place on Feb 13th, from 6pm, at the HOTEL BRISTOL (Cuba St). Please do get in touch if you have any brilliant leads on venues which can seat over 100 people, are in central Wellington, and have a good ambience. No function rooms 😛
And, as always, please do indicate by RSVP whether you’ll be coming! Our Facebook page is a good way to go about that 🙂
Beyond the Periodic Table – Going for the Super heavy Elements
Peter Schwerdtfeger and Heinz Gäggeler
The first Periodic Table of the Elements was proposed by Mendeleev in 1869, compiled on the basis of arranging the elements in ascending order of atomic weight and grouping them by similarity of chemical properties. He predicted the existence and properties of new elements. At that time it was not known how far in the atomic number we can go before an atom becomes too unstable and radioactively decay. A century later, it was assumed that the Periodic Table would end at nuclei with about 100 protons.
In the last decade we have seen the production of new elements for the Periodic Table up to nuclear charge 118, the so-called superheavy elements. They have fascinating chemical properties related to Einstein’s theory of relativity. Experiments on these exotic species are currently in progress at an atom-at-a-time scale. How far can we go? Where does the Period Table end? Can we do some chemistry with such exotic elements? What is the chemical and physical behavior of these exotic elements?
Peter is the Head of the Centre for Theoretical Chemistry and Physics at The New Zealand Institute for Advanced Study, Massey University Auckland. He is a recipient of the New Zealand Hector Memorial Medal, and the Humboldt Prize.
Heinz is joining us from the Paul Scherrer Institute in Switzerland.
Personal Computer Revolution: Our Changing Relationship with the Machine
In the 60 or so years since the first electronic computers the role they have played, and our relationship with these remarkable machines, has changed as profoundly as the machines themselves. From huge, building sized computers that used enough electricity to power small villages, to pocket sized devices that run for days on a battery, these have inspired, augmented and frustrated humanity like no other invention in history
This talk will look at the evolution of these machines, and our changing interaction with them.
Andrew got his first computer at age 10, and today collects early personal computers of the 70s, 80s and 90s. He works by day as an Information Security boffin to support this borderline unhealthy habit. Andrew lives with a surprisingly tolerant wife, two children, a motorcycle and approximately 180 dusty, recalcitrant computers.
Video of talk here.
Negotiation for Nerds
Nerds have a reputation for being poor negotiators, some of it is deserved; however, nerds happen to also generally be the types of thinkers that are capable of becoming great negotiators if they take the time to improve their skills.
The field of negotiation covers everything from the car salesmen to convincing friends to help you move a couch. As a practice negotiation has evolved significantly over the last few decades and become far better recognised as a develop-able skill. This talk will illuminate some of the ways the practice of negotiation has developed and some of the methods that have appeared for creating agreements that satisfy everyone involved.
Breccan does things, mostly to do with the web. He alternates between developer, project manager and ranty consultant. He can be found at http://breccan.com
Video of talk here.
Our Wireless Love Affair
For a hundred and thirty years, radio-wave technology has evolved in response to our social demands. Learn about the basic principles of wireless radio transmission, our intense social relationship with radio throughout its consumer availability, and how wireless technology is adapting to today’s tremendous demands on limited radio bandwidth.
Emily Cotlier is a Senior Technical Writer at Aviat Networks, where “we make wireless work.” She is also vice-president of the Technical Communicators Association of New Zealand, and an occasional cabaret emcee around Wellington.
Video of talk here.
Nerd nite Wellington is a free event, held in Wellington every two months or so and hosted by aimee whitcroft (@teh_aimee). It gets three or four people to get up and talk, for about 20 minutes, on subjects about which they’re passionate. So far, we’ve had everything from cryptic crosswords to scrabble, geonengineering to flinging things into space in expensive and dangerous ways, and about everything else in between. It’s generally held in bars, because aimee believes that alcohol, learning and socialising go well together.
Bring your friends, family and everyone else who like learning! But beware, the venue fills up fast 🙂