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Nerding out at Vancouver nightclubs

Vancouver trending: Experts take research out of the ivory tower and explain it to the masses – and are paid in beer

A crowd came out to listen to the experts at Nerd Nite at the Fox Cabaret in Vancouver.


A crowd came out to listen to the experts at Nerd Nite at the Fox Cabaret in Vancouver.

A professor of neuroscience holds sway over a crowd of hipster nerds in the darkened Fox Cabaret – this is science for the masses and beer drinking is encouraged.

For a growing number of Vancouverites, learning about science has never been so much fun.

Kaylee Byers, organizer and co-founder of Nerd Nite's Vancouver chapter along with Brandon Doty and Michael Unger, aim to "make science more accessible."

With more than 70 chapters worldwide, Nerd Nite's three presenters give 20-minute talks and take questions at the end.

Participants are paid in beer "for their nerdery," said Byers.

Presenters "take research out of the ivory tower and bring it to the people, explaining it in a simple way that a lay person can understand."

Not only are Nerd Nites largely jargon free, but they are often fairly low brow and feature unorthodox topics ranging from sex with androids to animal genitalia, she added.

Byers noted that the city has a reputation for coldness, but Nerd Nite allows people to meet and mingle with like-minded, curious Vancouverites. Science is important because it "shows us how things work. It's all around us," said Byers.

Curiosity Collider, a community hub for innovators, also encourages connections among scientists, artists, teachers and business people. Events range from a Science Meets Art workshop at Britannia Mine Museum where participants explore the connections between chemical reactions in art and mining to a collaborative sound piece inspired by botany.

Anecdotal Evidence, held at venues from Lana Lous to the Fox, explores the human side of science by offering up stories of death, love, failure and triumph, illuminating the impact of science on individual lives.

Cafe Scientifique is a forum for public discussion and debate on science issues in a relaxed atmosphere. One recent talk at Yaggger's sports bar featured Pleiatocene megafauna and evolutionary radiation.

As Byers put it, "Science helps you understand the puzzle of your life."

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