Nerd Nite 38


 

Are humans predetermined due to their genetics just like plants? Or does the environment molds us? Our first speaker of this Nerd Nite, Klaas Seinhorst, believes that genes cannot be the only answer when looking at the similarities and the evolution of our languages. He will present us a theory which, as it turns out, is working against a deep-rooted genetic idea used by linguists. Our second speaker, José Guerra, is more interested in data processing. With the pursuit of global food provision, he will show us how he can and must limit the immense amount of genomic data to obtain the ideal plants by not only considering biology but also time and money! Join us to discover more… and don’t forget to wear a nerdy T-shirt!

Time flies like an arrow: how the passage of time shapes languages
By Klaas Seinhorst

 “Nerd”: noun, “ nerdy”: adjective. These are common things we need to learn for our language class. But have you ever wondered why unrelated languages seem to have a similar grammar structure? Linguists have come up with a theory called “Universal grammar” around the 1950s to explain this. More precisely, it assumes that we are all born with a genetically specified language ability. But what if grammar evolved through necessity? Klaas will talk about such an alternative hypothesis: that the similarities are due to the function of a language (communication) and their limitations, our cognitive capacities.  And it turns out that this hypothesis can even be applied in other fields! Discover more about the evolution of languages with Klaas’ help!

The global demand for food: a data challenge
By Jose Lima Guerra 

Data, data, data: it’s everywhere! With technology we create new data and find existing data. Did you for example know that the so-called Next-Generation Technology generates an unrivaled explosion in the amount of genomic data? A good thing of course, but also challenging: how to select the best characteristics, also known as features, and at the same time minimize the number of features? Jose Lima Guerra has a passion to solve these challenges by analyzing these endless data sets to find a very efficient feature selection system to identify the minimum amount of information needed. And for a great cause: he will explain how he focuses on optimizing plant crossings to meet our future global food demands in light of the growing population, limited land and global warming. Hungry for more? Come to Nerd Nite and satisfy your hunger!

 

DETAILS:

Friday 23 November
Doors open at 20:00
First talk at 20:30

at CREA Muziekzaal
Nieuwe Achtergracht 170
1018 WV Amsterdam

Nerd Nite 37

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Are you someone who counts the number of blue bikes crossing you or who waits until the clock shows a full minute before starting a new task? You are not alone in this, as our first speaker also has a slight obsession over mathematics… to the point that it ru(i)ns his life! Donovan will lead you along in his labyrinth of numbers. Is this obsessive behavior only possible if you have psychiatric problems? Our second speaker, Afra knows all about this. She will enlighten us about common misconceptions in psychiatry (which even nerds have!) and how people often diagnose themselves with psychiatric illnesses. Join us for the psychedelic last Nerd Nite of season 7 on the 8th of June. Be there and be square!

 

How mathematics ru(i)ns my life
By Donovan Carroll

Inhuman force, laser eyes, flying in the air…Who never wished to have some superpowers? At Nerd Nite 37, you have the rare opportunity to meet Mathman, aka Donovan Carroll in his secret identity. Donovan has always been “good at math”, but only recently started developing his math sight and exploring his superpowers to make the world a better place. Being a superhero is not always rainbows and sunshine: driven by a constant mathematical curiosity, Donovan has been put into some interesting situations – both good and bad – which have changed the way he approaches life. Come to Nerd Nite and discover some of the experiences of our superhero and be blown away by his abilities!

Common misconceptions about psychiatry
By Afra van der Markt

Do you know somebody who diagnosed himself and/or others with OCD, autism and other psychiatric illnesses? This could be due to the many misconceptions the “general population” (and probably you too, nerds!) have about psychiatry. People who work in the mental health sector often have to answer questions like whether they can read people’s thoughts and have to explain again and again what the difference is between psychiatry and psychology. Do you think you already know all misconceptions? Come and make sure you don’t miss a single one by listening to Afra!

DETAILS:

Friday 8 June
Doors open at 20:00
First talk at 20:30

at CREA Muziekzaal
Nieuwe Achtergracht 170
1018 WV Amsterdam

Nerd Nite 36


Next Nerd Nite will lead you on a culinary travel just to end up in the hospital! When cooking, do you think of skipping the oil or the butter? Come and listen to Bas Robben to discover the yummy culinary secrets of fat and how it makes the food so delicious! And worry not, as after overindulging, Lydia Mennes will take you to the hospital!  In a time where neural networks and Artificial Intelligence are omnipresent, hospitals are so messy with your data that we need AI to make sense of the records. Discover why and how AI will be able to determine the future of hospitals and our healthcare system. Join us at Nerd Nite 36 on the 23rd of March. Be there and be square!

DETAILS:

Friday 23 March
Doors open at 20:00
First talk at 20:30

at CREA Muziekzaal
Nieuwe Achtergracht 170
1018 WV Amsterdam

Facebook event page

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Don’t fear the fat!
By Bas Robben

 

Fat is the key in every cuisine, but why are so many people scared of it? Do you feel guilty after indulging in food prepared with/in fat? Don’t be! Bas will convince you to add more oil, lard, ghee and butter in your pan and present you the three main functions of fat in cooking: as a core ingredient, a cooking medium, and a seasoning. Conserving, deep frying, infusing, baking and confit are the techniques you should use to make your food even more delicious. In the end, you’ll know why pasta tastes better in a restaurant, why deep-frying is such an excellent cooking technique and how to step up your deep-frying game and build a fatty larder full of flavors at home!

 
 

 

Lydia
What it would take for Artificial Intelligence to take off in hospitals

By Lydia Mennes

 

Do you recall your last visit to the doctor? He was probably filling out a form about half of the time. Every visit you make to the doctor, the hospital, the pharmacy or any other medical service is collected in multiple forms and all your data goes into your own Electronic Healthcare Record. Such a record is stored for every person in the Netherlands, imagine what we could learn from all of this data using artificial intelligence! So why is your doctor not using a virtual assistant yet? That is exactly what Lydia explains during her talk. She will show that lots of advanced models have been trained with great results, but that real-life healthcare records are so messy that a special AI system is needed to make sense of the records, even for humans! Curious what happens in this gap? Lydia will explain it all in her talk at Nerd Nite 36!

 

Nerd Nite 35: Love and War!

We will wander into the path of love and war this Nerd Nite!
Our first speaker Marieke van Gelderen will show us the evolution of psychotherapy and how she spreads her love by helping war-veterans with PTSD using active solutions that involve virtual reality. Afterwards, we’ll be swept way back to the bloody battles in the dark Middle Ages, where Ivan Toshev will crush our misconceptions implanted by non-historians by means of (Hollywood) movies, and guide us through the medieval weaponry! Join us on the 19th of January to debate about love and war, be there and be square!
Oh, and interested in (more) love? Sign up for the speeddating session at 18:30 here: Your Love Path!

DETAILS:

Friday 19 January
Doors open at 20:00
First talk at 20:30

at CREA Muziekzaal
Nieuwe Achtergracht 170
1018 WV Amsterdam

Facebook event page

Forward, march! Virtual reality and movement incorporated in treatment for war-veterans with PTSD
By Marieke van Gelderen

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When you think of psychotherapy, you probably think of Freud and a nice fluffy sofa. Well, think again: nowadays you have to get up off the couch and get moving. In her quest to help war-veterans with a posttraumatic stress disorder, Marieke researches how she can combine walking, music, pictures and virtual reality to deliver an inspiring and effective treatment to these veterans. She will show us how all of these elements support the same goal: helping the patients to confront their fears by increasing engagement and lowering avoidance of the traumatic memory. Curious or maybe a bit anxious? Don’t be! Marieke will help you through it…

Bio: During her Master studies in neuropsychology Marieke first started to work with veterans and policemen with PTSD. She was instantly fascinated by the deep and severe impact stressful events can have. She is currently conducting her PhD in which she focusses on improving care for veterans with PTSD that have not responded to treatment so far. In her spare time she enjoys board games, yoga, and playing the drums.


Misconceptions About Medieval European Warfare
By Ivan Toshev

Picture Ivan (1)Dragons, castles, swords, magic… Perhaps scenes of Game of Thrones or Lord of the Rings pop into your mind right now. Actually, many popular books, movies or video games take place in an old-timey setting with all these elements. But when it comes to fighting with medieval weapons there are a lot of myths and misconceptions we learn from these books, movies or games. Ivan Toshev will enlighten our thinking on battles in the Middle Ages and help us answer questions like what the most important piece of armor is or whether swords are really the best melee weapon. He will draw on research and experience of modern Medieval enthusiasts and sharpen our look at Medieval warfare! Make sure to come, wear your heart on your sleeve and listen at Nerd Nite 35!

Bio: Ivan has been interested in history since high school, and also likes to read about biology and psychology. It’s practically all he ever does. That, and also working (in an unrelated field), movies, video games, and preparing to launch a website.

Nerd Nite 34

 

Let’s get animalistic at Nerd Nite 34! Elmar will tell us all about breeding challenges in zoos and aquaria. Our speaker specializes in helping save populations from extinction and letting them fornicate (almost) like rabbits. This is however not as easy as it sounds but don’t worry, some of the unforeseen challenges encountered will be revealed! Our second speaker Juan will blow our minds by literally keeping our ears busy with psychoacoustics. It is one of the sweet spots where physics meets psychology. Does our personality modify what we hear? Or vice-versa? Come the 24th of November to Nerd Nite 34 to learn more about it! Oh, and don’t forget to wear your Nerdy T to be admission free! Be there and be square!

DETAILS:

Friday 24 November
Doors open at 20:00
First talk at 20:30

at CREA Muziekzaal
Nieuwe Achtergracht 170
1018 WV Amsterdam

Facebook event page

 

Psychoacoustics: Perception cannot be measured in decibels
By Juan Manuel Perafán

What feeling do you get when you hear nails scratching on a chalkboard? Horrible, right? This is actually simply due to a particular frequency our body would like to avoid hearing. But why do we like a song so much but cannot stand the one our neighbor cannot stop listening to?  This is where it gets even more interesting! Juanphoto1Hearing sounds is not just a pure mechanical process which can be fully described with physics. Your expectation, social context and personality are as important in your perception of sound. In his talk, Juan will elaborate on this sweet spot where physics meets perception. Come to the next Nerd Nite, open your ears and listen carefully!

Bio: Juan Manuel Perafan has always been intrigued by the effect that external influences have on behavior. He has a Master’s in Applied Social Psychology and he currently works as a Marketing Intelligence Specialist. Besides from psychology, his professional interests include data, statistics, graphic design, user research, and linguistics. His hobbies include Toastmasters, cooking, online courses, and playing tennis.

 

Population management in zoos and aquaria
By Elmar Fienieg

Did you ever “like” a video of a cute baby animal or an exciting reintroduction project on Facebook? Chances are, that some of these were Elmara result of one of the 400 breeding programmes, cooperatively run by many different zoos and aquariums under the umbrella of the European Association 
 of Zoos and Aquaria. Come to this talk to learn about animal Tinder; matching on genetics, taxonomy (to hybridise or not to hybridise) and differences in ethics (to cull or not to cull). Let Elmar tell you how the answers do not always come easily!

Bio: From an early age, Elmar was intrigued by evolution, not knowing that one day he would be putting evolution on pause in zoos and aquarium populations. As a population biologist working for the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA), he helps coordinators of breeding programmes in different zoos maintaining genetically diverse populations for the future and many other challenges. Who wouldn’t love to analyse the genetics of different population every week, while traveling all over Europe? Clearly, he’s living the dream! When not saving animals from extinction, he likes to run away from it all by participating in half marathons.

 

 

Nerd Nite 33

 

Be prepared for the start of this season’s Nerd Nite Amsterdam as we will go into a battle of wills and courage. Have you ever dreamed about having your own company? But are you struggling with the thought of it being only a “one-day-fly”? Then you should definitely listen to Tomislav Ladika! He will explain some helpful concepts to start your own firm and how to survive the first hype to make your dream true. For the second battle-round, hear out Marleen Balvert, fighting against one of the top 10 causes of death with radiation. She will show us that mathematics are the tools to use to kill cancer cells! Join us on the 22nd of September, be there and be square!

DETAILS:

Friday 22 September
Doors open at 20:00
First talk at 20:30

at CREA Muziekzaal
Nieuwe Achtergracht 170
1018 WV Amsterdam

Facebook event page

Startups: Believe the Hype?
By Tomislav Ladika

ladikaEver heard of startups called unicorns? Today’s high-flying startups are fittingly described like magical creatures, because the way they are valued has more to do with fantasy than reality. How can a company with no sales three years ago be one of the most-hyped public companies now? Or how did Tesla become the most valuable U.S. car company this summer despite negative profits? Tomislav will give you the answers to these illogical questions at the next Nerd Nite. He will guide you through this fantasy of startup valuation by giving an overview of the models used to value young firms. He explains how expectations about the future and the costs to scale-up determine the value and success of these magical animals. Curious? We are!

Bio:  Tomislav Ladika is inherently suspicious of over-hyped investments. His passions include studying young firms’ business models—the Financial Times is prime bedtime reading—and staking out contrarian positions on those that rely on questionable assumptions. He is on the finance faculty of the University of Amsterdam Business School, where his teaching and research focus on how companies make investment decisions, and how analysts in turn value those companies. He has an economics PhD from Brown University.

 

Math to the rescue – How mathematics can personalise radiation therapy treatments
By Marleen Balvert

MarleenBalvert_photoWhen somebody mentions mathematics, you probably think of complex equations. Who doesn’t? But what if you can apply mathematics to have an impact on society? Marleen took on this challenge and began her research on how to best treat cancer. The difficulty in radiation treatment of cancer patients is that the high-energy beams that are aimed to the tumor not only kill the evil cells but also healthy cells and organs. How could you minimize this effect for every individual patient? The complexity of this problem lies in its immense amount of possibilities within the radiation therapy hardware: think about beam position, dose rates and many more! This optimization might already seem impossible to you, and gladly, that’s where Marleen’s math comes to the rescue! Sounds too complex? Come to Nerd Nite and find out!

Bio:   When not running outside – weather permitting – or baking cakes, Marleen loves to solve complex problems using the straightforward logic of math. She also wants to find out the best way to treat cancer without killing the patient. She combined these two passions in her PhD on radiation therapy plan optimization. Currently she continues pursuing her dream job as a scientist and works as a postdoc on the relation between genetics and complex diseases.  During the second talk of the evening, she will share with us a drop of her passion!

Nerd Nite 32

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DETAILS:

Friday 9 June
Doors open at 20:00
First talk at 20:30

at CREA Muziekzaal
Nieuwe Achtergracht 170
1018 WV Amsterdam

Facebook event page

Fasten your seatbelt and hop on a journey through time at Nerd Nite 32! Our first speaker Arthur Neeteson will take us back to the ancient days when Indo-European still hadn’t evolved into half of humanity’s languages and he will explain how seemingly completely different words are actually related. Don’t like living in the past? Then keep on travelling to the future of encryption with our second speaker Jaya Baloo, Chief Information Security Officer at KPN. Jaya will discuss current developments of cryptography in the light of new quantum computing systems and persistent government surveillance. Looking forward to it? Join us on 9 June, be there and be square!

Indo-European – the evolution of half of humanity‘s native tongues
By Arthur Neeteson

How many languages do you speak? Did you know that it is highly likely that those languages once came from the same origin? About half of all the people alive, grew up speaking a language originated from the “InPasfoto Arthur Neetesondo-European” origin, after India and Europe, where most of these languages originated from. In his talk, Arthur Neeteson will take you back in time to show the ancient connection between words like ‘father’ in English and ‘pater’ in Latin. With him, you’ll reconstruct what your linguistic forefathers called their mothers, teeth and feet. You may even be able to count to ten like your linguistic ancestors 200-odd generations back. Come and listen to his talk to be amazed by this origin of languages. Especially if you belong to the 46% of the world with Indo-European roots.

Bio: Arthur Neeteson made his first alphabet when he was five and he has never lost his love for languages. He studied Comparative Indo-European Linguistics in Leiden, while completing another full time study in Groningen at the same time (long live the ov-jaarkaart). Arthur has since left the path of linguistics, and is now developing a seaport in Indonesia.

 

 

 


Everything is quantum! The future of cryptography & quantum technologies
by Jaya Baloo

You finally got used to the extraordinary powers of computers? Get ready for the new kid on the block: quantum computers! A new technology that holds big promises for the future, as can be seen by huge investments made by Microsoft, Google and the NSA. But as the race for quantum computing systems rapidly evolves, the threat to modern cryptography becomes more pressing. Will this lovechild of physics, mathematics and computer science be a blessing or a curse? There must be new strategies and clear options to ensure data protection for the near and long term. Jaya Baloo will discuss current developments and projects in this area, which is set against the background of ever more persistent government surveillance.

 jaya_v67Bio: Security girlboss Jaya Baloo has probably the most busy schedule you could imagine. From dusk till dawn she leads the Chief Information Security Office of KPN. She is a quantum crypto expert and a frequent speaker to share knowledge and raise awareness. In her spare time Jaya has a passion for reading, she is a real content junky. And by the way, she is also learning to be a pilot.

 

 

Nerd Nite 31

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Get ready for some serious science Nerd Niters, and save the date for an evening all about neurology and linguistics! Will there ever be a world without Alzheimer’s? Is it possible to early diagnose this terrible disease? Our first speaker TedX Amsterdam Award winner Jurre den Haan will talk about his research on early diagnostics of Alzheimer’s through the eye and try to find an answer to these questions. And after all, what would science be without the right questions? Our second speaker IgNobel winner Mark Dingemanse will tell us all about their power and share how studying misunderstandings can teach us deep lessons about language itself and human nature. Join us at Nerd Nite XXXI on 31 March, be there and be square!

DETAILS:

Friday 31 March
Doors open at 20:00
First talk at 20:30

at CREA Muziekzaal
Nieuwe Achtergracht 170
1018 WV Amsterdam

Facebook event page

 

Alzheimer diagnosis: the eye as a window to the brain?

by TEDx Amsterdam Award 2015 winner Jurre den Haan

1The brain is the most intriguing organ we possess. It makes us think, communicate, feel and love. Always wondered what goes wrong in the brain during Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) when you lose all these abilities step by step? How can we end the series of failed trials so far? It turns out the eyes are the window to the… brain! The eye might be the source of early and patient friendly diagnosis. This could mean a first step towards a world without AD. Jurre de Haan will take a bird’s eye view on the advances of 15 years of AD-research and the importance of awareness that AD is a public rather than a medical cause.

Bio: Jurre den Haan is intrigued by the brain and its function ever since he studied medicine at the VU University. In his PhD in neurology he aims to visualize Alzheimer’s disease(AD) in the eye; the retina in specific. He also combines running and charity for AD-research in two editions of ‘de Damloop voor Alzheimer’.

 
 

The Power of Questions

by IgNobel Prize winner Mark Dingemanse

What is the goal of science? Finding answers, you may say — but that means we had better be asking the right questions. What better place to start than “Huh?”, the simplest question known to humans. In everyday life, we use expressions like this all the time to briefly halt the conversation to fix some trouble, then seamlessly pick up where we left off. Amazingly, this practice seems to be uniquely human: no other animals seem to be able to fix communicative trouble ibb_1609_2015_06_square twn this way. Ig Nobel prize winner Mark Dingemanse provides a guide to asking the right questions by taking us into the world of linguistics, the science of language. From “Huh?” he leads us to more complex questions, and shows us that some of the deepest lessons about language and human nature lie in what we do when things go wrong.

Bio: Mark Dingemanse is a language scientist who studies people in the wild and in the lab to understand why languages are the way they are. He and his team discovered that rarest of things, a word shared by languages across the globe — a serendipitous finding weird enough to be awarded with an Ig Nobel prize in 2015. He works at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics.

 

Nerd Nite 30

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The new year has just begun and what better way to start than sprinkling it with a bit of nerdiness? Join us on 3rd February for an inspiring evening on maths, language and love at Nerd Nite 30! Want to find out if you and your significant other have the right numbers? Our first speaker Tim Bush will reveal how he can predict divorces by simply using the most universal language of all: mathematics! More interested in syntax than algebra? Fear not! Our second speaker Melanie Mueller will talk about Dothraki, Loglan and Esperanto, discuss why people construct artificial languages and delight us with an Esperanto crash course. Finally, if you’re still looking for your soul mate you can sign up for our pre Nerd Nite speed-dating here https://goo.gl/forms/jP8GmftdOcFEEXhk2! Be there and be kvadrato!

 

DETAILS:

Friday 3 February
Doors open at 20:00
First talk at 20:30

at CREA Muziekzaal
Nieuwe Achtergracht 170
1018 WV Amsterdam

Facebook event page

 

The mathematics of love: a combination of the sensual and the statistical

By Tim Bush


TimBushPictureWant to save yourself from the pain of one-sided love? Tim Bush will save your love life using maths! Unrequited love is not something you wish for your worst enemy, even more so when your loved one is leading you on. He’ll discuss a mathematical model describing a famous instance of unrequited love using data that goes back to 14th century love poems. Afterwards the evening will be brought to a climax by discussing another mathematical model with a shockingly high success rate of 90% at predicting divorces, based simply on a 15 minute video of the couple.  Are you ready for a combination of the sensual and the statistical, the arousing and the analytical, the titillating and the trigonometric, the X-rated and the exact? Learn to look at love from a mathematician’s point of view!

Bio:

Tim Bush became interested in the mathematical modelling of romantic love while studying for his PhD in Physics at the University of Edinburgh. He has also worked on mathematical models of bacteria, honeybees, geology and astrobiology, and now works as a Data Scientist in London. Previously, he worked on mathematical models of lakes at the University of Amsterdam. In his free time he enjoys board games, video games and boxing.

Esperanto, Loglan and Dothraki: Why do people construct new languages?

by Melanie Mueller

MelanieDid you know that there’s a language that can be played on musical instruments? That there are native speakers of Esperanto? That there’s a language with only 120 root-words? That languages were designed to test a scientific hypothesis? In this talk, I’ll give a short tour through the colorful and eccentric world of constructed languages, and the reasons behind them. I’ll end with a mini crash course in Esperanto. Estu tien aŭ kvadrata!

Bio:

Melanie likes to find patterns, and play around with them. This led her to play with Lego, get a PhD in Theoretical Physics, speak Esperanto, and do biology research at Harvard. Currently, she works as a data scientist at Booking.com, where she helps to transform patterns in customer data into fun holidays.

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