> Chapter 10

Chapter 10

So we sort of almost have a theme this month, with talks from three people who work with places that are both far away and quite close at the same time – cosmology, the past and under the sea. This months line up is quite frankly, superb. So for those of you who missed last months (also superb) talks about geckos, cricket statistics and ancient Egyptian orgies, I recommend you gather your geeks and come along next Tuesday, August the 6th, to Nectar in Kingsland. Around 6:30 is a good time to get there.

And now, without further ado, ladies and gentlemen, I now provide you with the full speaker list for the August Nerdnite …


One fish, two fish, Big fish, little fish Tom Trnski is an authority on the larval stage of fishes from Auckland Museum. He studies their identity and the consequence of their behaviour on dispersal and connectivity in marine populations. Museums have collected specimens for centuries and they continue to make new species discoveries, providing a record of the distribution of species over time, and evidence for the mechanisms responsible for the observed distributions. Tom will be taking us through the results of two recent expeditions to islands north of New Zealand, demonstrating the interplay between environment and behaviour that explains unexpected species distributions.


Richard Easther – you remember him? The physics professor chap who gave that very cool talk about Beatrice Tinsley earlier in the year? When he’s not helping authors write books about physicists, Richard is a physicist whose research focusses on the mechanism of the big bang and the evolution of the overall universe. And he’s back. This time, with a talk called: Dead Man’s Hand: Does the Sky Play With A Stacked Deck? The universe is big. Very big. But we only have one of them. So how could we tell whether our universe was weird? And what does “our” mean in that last sentence? You mean there is more than one universe?? That would be weird. Richard will talk about the structure of the universe on very large scales, what we can learn from it, and what we already know.


And finally, one I’ve been trying to organise for quite some time now, Brigid Gallagher, archaeologist, lover of dirt and jigsaw puzzles. Dirt conceals evidence associated with decay, survival and a treasure trove of information. An archaeological jigsaw is a 3-dimensional puzzle that comes on a micro and macro scale, and enables the ultimate detective story that delves into the recent and ancient past to unfold. These are the stories that describe the birth of nations. Brigid has worked on sites dating from 50 to 9000 years old, for Auckland Museum, at Catal Hoyuk in Turkey, all over England with Time Team and for her own company in Waihi Beach. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. I imagine her talk will involve dirt, but as anyone who’s watched Time Team knows, dirt can be very, very exciting.

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