Archive for the ‘events’ Category

Nerd Nite XXI: Nerdventure!

Nerd Nite Amsterdam NNAms event nerdy face poster nerdventure geocaching water tension


The 21st edition will take nerdism out on a journey! So dust off those hiking shoes and lace up for a wild walk because we start the night off with… Geocaching! Yvette Cendes will share her adventures around the world using billion dollar GPS satellites to find tupperware in the woods. Awesomeness? Oh yeah.
From the woods we hike on… to walk on water! We kid you not. Stuff might just get tense as Ton van den Bremer reveals the driving force of the messias’ steps on water. AND he will give a live demo with cocktail boats. Believe it when you see it!

Friday March 20 at CREA Amsterdam, Nieuwe Achtergracht 170.
Be there and be square.


Yvette Cendes

Found it!: Geocaching around the world

Geocaching is a real-life treasure huYvettent that is happening right now, all around you, where people hide boxes all around the world and upload the GPS coordinates to the Internet for others to find.  In this talk I will give a brief overview of what geocaching is, and share some stories from my adventures geocaching around the world.

I am a 29 year old Hungarian-American, born in the USA to a Hungarian family, and I came to Amsterdam 3.5 years ago for a PhD. In addition to my PhD (which focuses on radio astronomy), I do some professional freelance writing for various science magazines in the USA.  Beyond geocaching and travel, my hobbies include embroidery, my boat “Sterrestof”, collecting fake Internet points on Reddit, amateur ham radio, and planning for what I politely call “galactic domination”.



Ton van den Bremer

Fluids under tension: how to walk on water

Ever wondered why tears appear on the inside of a wine glTonass? Or why a drawing pin floats? Ton van den Bremer will reveal these secrets by introducing you to Mr Marangoni. He is not a magician, but a 19th century physicist who discovered the mechanism behind these phenomena. Ton will show you how the surface tension of a fluid may cause a flow, which is used deftly by water-walking insects as a propulsion mechanism. He will also bring along 3D printed boats and, in a real-life experiment, show how this Marangoni propulsion can make you the most interesting person at any cocktail party!

Ton is a PhD candidate in geophysical fluid dynamics at the University of Oxford. He currently works as a research associate at VU University Amsterdam in collaboration with the University of Oxford, and lectures Environmental Economics at Amsterdam University College. He does not like cocktails himself.


Nerd Nite XX: Go, and data-driven nerdism!

Nerd Nite Amsterdam NNAms event nerdy face poster go boardgame mobile data nerdism

The twentieth edition of Nerd Nite will portray some excellent hibernation projects! Serving both nerds that are out to save the world and those simply wanting to kill time while waiting for warmer and sunnier seasons. Our first speaker, Johannes von Engelhardt will shine his light on demographics in Africa using the modern take on Maslow’s pyramid… with ‘Cell Phone’ at the bottom level. Can’t wait to hear what he has to say? Second speaker, prof. Jean-Sébastien Caux, will most definitely have a suggestion for you to pass the time: he’ll share his passion for the board game Go. A simple yet simultaneously complex game that is honoured with full-time tv coverage in eastern Asian countries.

Curious? January 30th. Be there. Be square.
Doors open at 20:00, first talk starts at 20:30.

(Ooh, and don’t forget to sign up for Nerd Speed Dating! (pre Nerd Nite, from 18:15-19:30) )

Johannes von Engelhardt  Speaker150130JohannesvonEngelhardt

Mobiles, data and development: mobile surveys in challenging environments

Did you know that 75% of all simcards worldwide
are in use in developing countries? In these poorer parts of the world, it is one type of data that matters more than any other: survey data. Contrary to television, computer and landline phones, the mobile phone has the potential to actually affect the lives of even the poorest of the poor. Yet what does this mean for the developing world? Can mobile phones battle poverty, cure diseases and spread democracy? Talking directly to citizens is invaluable for tracking change and working toward targets such as the UN Milennium Goals. This is not an easy task, but in order to make a start, we probably need to change the way we think about data, and how to use technology. This Nerd Nite, Johannes will tell you how the advent of mobile phone technology can be used for gathering much needed real-time data in times of crises such as wars or epidemics. Data matter.

caux-personen-portret-hoogleraar-fnwi-sebastiencaux-fotojeroenoerlemans-caux3 Jean-Sébastien Caux

Go, godly nerdism

Go – arguably the simplest yet most unfathomably complex board game – is the ultimate mind bender. Even the great chess grandmaster Emanuel Lasker admitted that “it is something unearthly… If there are sentient beings on other planets, then they play Go.” Mostly ignored in the West until recently, it has been played for thousands of years in East Asian countries, where nowadays it even enjoys full-time TV coverage. This Nerd Nite Jean-Sébastien will open your eyes to a new level of nerdiness by introducing you to the subtleties of this addictively profound game.

Pre-Nerd Nite XX: Nerd Nite Speed Dating!

Are you still looking for your intellectual significant other? Join in the 3rd edition of Nerd Speed Dating (for straight and gay nerds!) on 30 January. Sign up by filling out this form:
Nerd Nite Amsterdam NNAms event poster speed dating

Nerd Nite XIX: Power systems for body and soul!

Nerd Nite Amsterdam NNAms event poster power systems body soul coffee space travel

Nerdsters! Feeling tired and slow?

Well, buckle up for the 19th edition of Nerd Nite Amsterdam and get ready to be launched out of your mind! To jump-start our adventure, we’ll fuel the mind with…coffee! Elmer Oomkens will teach us the nerdy details of how to brew the perfect cup. If you weren’t an all-around coffee connoisseur before, you will be after this. Afterwards, ESA fellow Thijs Versloot visits us for some outer space trend-spotting: next-level energy propulsion systems.Migrating to Mars might become a reasonable option. Be there and be square.

Elmer Oomkens 

A hot perspective on your morning grog: Tasty coffee, from seed to cup

Speaker141128ElmerOomkensSorry to break it to you, but you’re probably drinking bad coffee. In spite of what we have grown accustomed to in terms of its flavour, coffee doesn’t need to taste sharp, bitter, or burned. The coffee bean is actually the seed of a fruit — the coffee cherry — so it’s no surprise that the underlying flavour of coffee itself should be sweet and acidic, and can develop many intricate flavours depending on where it grows. By stripping down coffee to its essentials we can do away with flavour enhancers such as milk and sugar, and enjoy it for its own sake. In this talk I’ll simplify the chemistry that gives coffee its taste and share my passion for coffee’s journey from humble seed to your cup. Maybe you’ll find that (good) coffee really is your cup of tea.

After finishing master degrees in both psychology and law, Elmer choose to pursue the perfect cup of coffee instead of an academic career. Working in several coffee bars and roasters inspired him to start his own coffee roastery: White Label Coffee. In his spare time he used to develop websites, play soccer and dj electronic music, but since very recently he spends that time taking care of his first-born daughter Thura 🙂

Thijs Versloot 

Reaching the Final Frontier: Next generation space travel

Speaker141128ThijsVersloot-1How fast do you need to go to escape Earth’s gravitational field? How much faster to reach the edge of our solar system? A massive amount! But as they say, size does not matter. What matters is whether we manage to produce this enormous amount of thrust. Ever since the dawn of space travel, this quest has fascinated many scientists – and aspiring astronauts. In my short talk I will explore the physical mechanisms available, ranging from the historically proven to the downright insane and futuristic, and you will see that the problem is by no means a lack of imagination. Buckle up for the next generation of space travel!

Thijs Versloot is a researcher with an interest in next-next-generation technology in the areas of energy and propulsion. After his PhD in fusion physics and a brief flirtation with industry, he is now exploring novel technologies in the Advanced Concepts Team at the European Space Agency in Noordwijk. During his time off, he is either training hard for a promising-yet-dreaded triathlon, pretending to be an amateur landscape photographer, or fully submerged in the art of artisan bread making.


Join us on November  28th (8:00 pm) at CREA Amsterdam: Nieuwe Achtergracht 170, 1018 WV Amsterdam.

Nerd Nite XVIII: On Purpose or by Accident? The Urban Conspiracy.

Nerd Nite Amsterdam NNAms event poster urban conspiracy theories failed architecture



























Well hello Nerds! It’s time to boost those brains after the summer recess. Join us for the 18th edition of Nerd Nite filled with ruins and paranoia. Yes, you read that right! The breathtaking photography of Mark Minkjan will take you on a journey through failed architecture. From the tangible we go to the cerebral and move into the wondrous world of conspiracy thinking. Crazy crackpots? Not according to our next speaker: Richard Newell. Psyched? Well, we are. Be there and be square.

Mark Minkjan – Failed Architecture
Fascinated by Failure

MinkjanWhen you see, hear or read about architecture and the development of cities it is virtually always about progress: highlighting the newest and the shiny, and holding the promise of a better future. However, there is perhaps much more to learn from the failures: from architecture-gone-wrong, urban decay and (creative) destruction. Since the built environment is a product of our societies, the causes of urban failure can teach us about how cities work, malfunction and change over time. Simultaneously, decay, ruination and imperfection appeals to the imagination and produces fascinating imagery, art and ideas. It stimulates creative thinking, emotions of melancholia and nostalgia and a historical understanding.

Mark Minkjan is an urban geographer interested in contemporary urban phenomena from a historical perspective. He is Editor in Chief at Failed Architecture, a research endeavour into urban failure, and part of Non-fiction, an office for cultural innovation focussing on urban development, heritage and arts. He co-edited and contributed to the books Farming the City and We Own The City.


Richard Newell – Conspiracy Theories
Live long and Conspire

Schermafbeelding 2014-08-28 om 11.15.34 Conspiracy theories and those who study them are viewed in our contemporary society with a certain suspicion. In my short talk I want to change your view of conspiracy theories by taking you on a journey through the many aspects of this alternate culture and explaining to you my attraction to it. I intend to show to you that the rise in conspiracy theories represent a perfectly understandable reaction to an increasingly complex world in which traditional trust in authority is declining and show that in many cases they are nearer to the truth than you might think. I hope to convince you that the healthiest thing to be both individually and as a society are conspiracy theorists.

Richard Newell is a scientific publisher based in Amsterdam and also a PhD candidate finishing his studies in experimental physics at the UvA. In his free time he likes nothing more than to delve into the world behind the headlines and immerse himself in the stories that lay beneath the surface. He likes English beer, progressive rock and science fiction. He dislikes plastic cutlery, piped music and modern celebrity culture. Ask him why if you think you have the time!!


Join us on September 26th (8:00 pm) at CREA Amsterdam: Nieuwe Achtergracht 170, 1018 WV Amsterdam.

Nerd Nite XVII: Infinity and Beyond! A Stressful Situation.

Nerd Nite Amsterdam NNAms event handwritten poster infinity math stress videogames
For the last edition of the season, June 6th, Nerd Nite will show you how to harness yourself against the mighty destruction of stress by playing video games! Additionally we’ll provide you with some excellent nerdy knowledge on the concept of infinity, a great conversation maker for that summer love. Including a special break edition: the Liar’s club. Be there and be square.

Michiel Renger – Infinity
Imagine the unimaginable.

Everyone has some intuitive ideas about infinity… but does it really exist, and if so: what is it exactly? If we are willing to make a few simple assumptions, then mathematics provides us the answers to many of these questions. Foto MichielAlthough the assumptions are very straight-forward, the answers can be very surprising. This is really the kind of mathematics that can teach us something about philosophy, reality, and to some even spirituality. (There is no need to be afraid of mathematics; anyone should be able to understand the arguments of this talk.)

Michiel Renger studied mathematics in Delft, and after some years of non-math-related jobs, he realised that he really should be doing math. Currently he works as a researcher at the Weierstraß Institute in Berlin, studying limits of an infinite number of particles. If he doesn’t do math, he likes to play dance music on his saxophone and didgeridoo.

Adam Lobel – Gaming for Mental Health
Beating stress one boss battle at a time

Dealing with stress can be, well, stressful. But what if a favourite nerdy hobby for unwinding could also help moderate stress before it starts? Adam explains how playing certain video games may help train one’s ability to manage emotions in everyday stressful situations. Mindless fun on the surface for some can be a highly stressful experience for others! Adam will specifically discuss the game Starcraft 2, highlighting the similarities between the real world and the game world. This talk will include some suggestions for awesome video games that were recently developed with the sole goal of helping you handle stress better.

Adam Lobel is PhD candidate at the Radboud University in Nijmegen’s Behavioural Science Institute. His PhD focuses on how people persevere in the face of failure. He is a Brooklyn, NY native gone Dutch after completing his master studies in Amsterdam. When not testing stressful gaming situations scientifically, he likes to explore these possibilities on his Playstation, buff up his record collection, and revel in live music.

Nerd Nite XVI : Political Junkies & Science Heroes!


On April 4, your bimonthly dose of nerd-nourishment will be served. Learn how to tumble a house of cards from real political junkie Jelmer Uitentuis, and watch how astronomer Lucas Ellerbroek debunks some of science’s greatest myths. Be there and be square!

Jelmer Uitentuis – Becoming a political junkie: A crash course in political communication.

jelmerPolitical junkies are not only junkies because they are addicted to watching politics, can imitate politicians, and know a lot of politics trivia. Real junkies watch politics differently.They recognize spinning and framing, they know the communication strategies used. In this talk we watch and analyze some of these strategies. The conclusion is that politicians have a few things in common: they think that other politicians react rationally, but they also think that voters mostly don’t. Both of these propositions are untrue.

Besides being a political junkie, sociologist Jelmer Uitentuis is a program maker, moderator, journalist and self-proclaimed “broker in curiosity”.

Lucas Ellerbroek – Planet hunters and escapists: Who are your scientific heroes?

lucas2We like heroes as much as we like science. Discoveries and theories are often identified with the great personalities who announced or developed them. Newton equals gravity. Darwin equals evolution. Einstein equals the universe. However, some of history’s great thinkers, while rightfully credited for their brilliance, really did not know what they were doing at the time. Some, if not most, discoveries were made by neglecting written and unwritten rules of sanity. We will review some of the most remarkable episodes and characters in the quest to endless confusion which we call science. And even if it is a tragic heroism that surrounds a milestone – it is heroism nonetheless.

Lucas Ellerbroek is an astrophysicist and science writer. Besides organizing Nerd Nite, he enjoys playing the violin and indulging in nerd fare like comics, ’80s-movies and rare marbles.

Pre-Nerd Nite XV: Nerd Nite Speed Dating!

It’s almost that time of year again: February 14th, national “hey, your life would be so much more awesome only if you had somebody to share it with” day, or perhaps from another perspective: an evil construction designed to make you buy things.
Nevertheless it is of the utmost importance that nerds find each other, as nerd babies are a great asset to the world at large.

Are you still looking for a soul mate? Do you want to find your intellectual significant other? Somebody to play axis and allies with? And Tinder isn’t offering you a content-based approach? Oh boy/girl, do we have a pre-Nerd Nite program for you!

Are you psyched? Sign up at

Date: February 14th
Time: 18:30 (admittedly a bit early, but necessary as we all need to be finished in time for the Nerd Nite of course)
Required item: Bring a prop that relates to you (examples: origami bow-tie, picture of your cat, favorite book, Luke Skywalker action figure, homemade cake)
Sex preference: separate pools for gay & straight

You will be sent a confirmation email and participation manual (just kidding) after registering and a reminder email a few days before the event. If you have any questions please email amsterdam [at]

Nerd Nite XV: Sparks fly on Nerd Nite’s Valentine’s Day edition!


On this special edition of Nerd Nite, graphical story-teller Laura van de Graaff will immerse you in a world which is being drawn as Rutger Bos speaks. After the break, allow yourself to fall in love with the greatest nerd of all time: Nikola Tesla. His current-day embodiment, professor Kjeld Eikema, will tell us about this extraordinary inventor, scientist and all-round genius, and give a positively dangerous demonstration of his most famous experiment: the Tesla coil. “Command & Conquer” players and “The Prestige” watchers will know exactly what we’re talking about…

Laura van de Graaff & Rutger Bos – Fantasy Fans – A short trip to Terry Pratchetts world

lauraThe power of words lies in the variety of things one can do with them. This describes Rutger Bos’ look on fantasy novels. He will discuss three epic series and one comical one: Wheel of Time, a Song of Ice and Fire, Malazan – Book of the Fallen and Discworld. Other themes are our being raised among fantasy stories (think fairy tales), the mainstreaminization of nerd culture, and the fact that fantasy is more everyday thanrutger many people think. Laura van de Graaff will accompany the story with live illustrations, thereby creating a synergy of sound and image in an analog Powerpoint presentation. Which sounds nerdy, and is even more so.

Rutger Bos: reader, dreamer, fascinated by all forms of knowledge, and full-time nerd. Laura van de Graaff: talker, visual thinker, fascinated by language and illustrating fantasy, and part-time nerd. By a twist of fate they are family, and everybody knows: among family you can be who you really are. A fantasy nerd, for example.

Kjeld Eikema – The amazing inventions of Nikola Tesla
Including a demo of some seriously high voltage

Nikola Tesla was one of the most brilliant inventors, a true genius, who lived from 1856 till 1943. Most people do not realise how many things he invented that we all use today! Ever wondered who invented things like AC current, (high voltage) transformers, radio, fluorescent light tubes? (just to mention a few). Some of his ideas were really ahead of his time, which also inspired people to come up with conspiracy theories and the most bizarre ideas about UFO’s and the like. In the talk I will try to give you some idea about the amazing inventions and experiments of Tesla. At the end of it there will be a demonstration with one of his most famous inventions, the “Tesla coil”, generating sparks with insanely high voltages.

Kjeld is a professor of experimental physics at the VU University, with a particular liking for things and devices that tend to be dangerous. After his first experiments at age 6, connecting a 1.5V light bulb to the mains, many other experiments followed at home with high voltage, lasers, robots, rockets, and explosives. That was still possible back then, and great fun. Besides hobbies like playing the piano (sort of) he currently likes to test fundamental physics theories using precise (and of course dangerous!) lasers.

Bring roses, and be square!

Nerd Nite XV
Friday, 14th February, 2014
CREA Muziekzaal
Door 20:00 – First talk 20:30
Admission Free
Nieuwe Achtergracht 170, Amsterdam

Nerd Nite XIV: The Occult Edition

Friday the 13th of December, will appropriately be the setting of an occult bonanza. Join Steije Hofhuis to learn about how witch-hunts came into existence and Martijn Loth & Ton Siedsma will preach on protecting bits.

Steije Hofhuis– “How to explain witch-hunting? A Darwinian attempt”.

From the late fifteenth century until the early eighteenth century many Europeans did something quite strange. They killed thousands of people for being witches. While actually, as we now know, witches don’t exist. So why on earth did people do it? Historians, but also sociologists and anthropologists, have found all kinds of explanations, but none, so far, have been convincing. Therefore, historians now often believe that we should better be giving up on the whole project of finding an explanation. Steije, however, is foolhardy enough to still give it a try and comes up with something new. Something Darwinian.

Steije is a historian with the firm belief that we can understand a whole lot more of history if we apply Darwinian theory. He is also sort of the only historian who believes this. And that could be the beginning of a heroic scientific epic! Or of an early career flop, as happens in most cases when people believe to have found something new. Which is very Darwinian by the way. You see, the theory works!

Martijn Loth & Ton Siedsma- “Protecting Internet Freedom – One bit at a time”.

TonWe all love the way technology makes our lives easier and connects us with friends and family. This admiration has allowed technology to permeate our daily life in ways previously unimaginable, allowing us to process massive quantities of information wherever we are. But all capabilities come at a price and it’s no wonder that governments are
battling for control over our personal information. They want to be able to intercept communication for reasons of national security, to prevent crimes or just because it *could* be useful in future scenario’s. They claim that  encryption is endangering the effectiveness of interception. To tackle this issue, governments are seeking out other means. One of these Martijnproposals includes allowing officials to hack your computers. The Dutch Secret Service, the AIVD, has had the authority to do so since 2002, but the Dutch law enforcement agencies aren’t allowed to do so yet. But this is about to change if the Minister of Justice, Ivo Opstelten, gets his way. We strongly oppose this – and we will explain to you why. And while the police wants to play with the toys  the AIVD already has, the AIVD is pushing the limits of their own capabilities and are striving towards the tapping of cable bound communication. We will tell you why this endangers the internet as we know it. Protecting ourselves online is still possible and we will share some suggestions as how to increase your privacy-superpowers.

Martijn is a geek trapped in a law student’s body. He has contributed to several open source projects and continues to preach the FLOSS-gospel. Working at Bits of Freedom has made it possible to combine his love for all things tech with his passion for IT/IP law. When he’s not reading up on the latest legal scoops or defending civil rights online, Martijn likes to work out religiously and perfect the lost art of straight razor shaving.
After years of denying, Ton finally gave in and let his inner nerd out. He now works for Bits of Freedom, mostly on cybercrime and cyber security. In the evening, he experiments with his raspberry pi. He also recently bought a Yubikey, but lost it on the same day he got it. Since this nearly fatal security flaw, he has been rethinking the whole
concept  of external security devices. Ton has a very latent ambition to boost the beautiful art of curling. He cycles vigorously. He recently purchased a far too sophisticated Tacx, which allows him to bike indoors while virtually ascending the Mont Ventoux.

And like on any good Friday, there’s drinks and music. Bring your black cats!

Nerd Nite XIV
Friday, 13th December, 2013
CREA Muziekzaal
Music by Jordi Bouman
Door 20:00 – First talk 20:30
Admission Free
Nieuwe Achtergracht 170, Amsterdam

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