> Nerd Nite No. 13, April 26, 2012: Philadelphia Science Festival edition

Nerd Nite No. 13, April 26, 2012: Philadelphia Science Festival edition

Dear Nerds,

The next Philly Nerd Nite is part of the Philadelphia Science Festival, a city-wide celebration of science.  We are thrilled to be a part of it, and we’re even more thrilled to offer you a scholarly ode to 2012 apocalypse mania.   Should you like, you may buy tickets online, but we will also be selling them at the door as always.

Note that Nerd Nite is on a Thursday this month and that the talks will start at 8:00 instead of 7:30.  Right before Nerd Nite will be “Meet and Geek“.  Admission to that gets you admission to Nerd Nite.  So many nerdly possibilities . . .

The haps:

Philly Science Festival Nerd Nite

Thursday, April 26th

Doors at 7:30 / Show at 8:00

Frankford Hall / $5 cover

We have three great talks and two performances by the West Philadelphia Orchestra lined up for you:

“The End is Not Nigh: Fact and Fantasy in the Maya 2012 Phenomenon” by Simon Martin

We’ve all heard that the world is going to end in a fiery cataclysm, or that a galactic alignment is going to herald a new world order, or perhaps that they’ll be a rain of pink elephants come 21st, or 23rd, December 2012. Moreover, whatever it is that’s going to happen, the Ancient Maya predicted it because their calendar comes to shattering conclusion on that date. We can dismiss the ideas of self-declared experts of this “ends of days”–even though they can be fun to listen to–but the science questions in this are: How did we get to this?  What did the Ancient Maya actually believe? Using hieroglyphic texts–including some only recently unraveled–we can form a real picture of ancient Maya beliefs about time-reckoning and the cosmos, and the 2012 phenomenon they have inspired.

Bio: Simon Martin, Co-Curator of MAYA 2012: Lords of Time and Penn Museum American Section Associate Curator, is an expert on Maya writing and specializes in Classic Maya history and politics. His work has been featured in the New York Times, National Geographic Magazine, Science, and Archaeology Magazine. He appeared in the Nova television program “Cracking the Maya Code” in 2008 and has collaborated on shows for Discovery and the History Channel.

“Apocalyptic Soul: Seeing Through Image in the Age of End Times” by Li Sumpter
From the History Channel’s Armageddon Week and Nat Geo’sDoomsday Preppers to AMC’s The Walking Dead, images and ideas of an impending apocalypse are virtually inescapable. If we are, in fact, what we eat, mindless consumption of fear-based media  could have harmful effects on the individual and global mind. Through an aesthetic approach to contemporary myth and media, this talk examines archetypal patterns of apocalypse and the metaphyiscal relationship between image and reality that shapes our collective vision of the future.Bio: Li Sumpter is a doctoral student in Mythological Studies and Depth Psychology at Pacifica Graduate Institute. She believes our future trajectory through the multi-verse is shaped by collective participation in a mythic paradigm that supports a corresponding reality. In her dissertation, Apocalyptic Soul: Seeing through Image in the Age of End Time Sumpter examines the impact of apocalyptic media on psyche, collective destiny and the phenomenological world.

“How to Survive the Apocalypse” by Scott Gabriel Knowles

In the winter of 1951 Philadelphia was leveled by two atomic bombs.  Fortunately, the city’s civil defense experts had planned for the worst, and the citizens of Philadelphia raised their city from the rubble back to its full industrial might in time to beat the Soviets and win the war.  (This did not happen–but it was planned for by top defense experts.)  The Cold War was an era full of apocalyptic nuclear fantasies–luckily we no longer imagine fantastical scenarios of disaster and recovery; or do we?Bio: Scott Knowles is an Assistant Professor and Director of the Great Works Symposium at Drexel University. He is a historian of modern cities, technology, and public policy–with a particular focus on risk and disaster and his most recent book is The Disaster Experts: Mastering Risk in Modern America.

And dance like it’s the end of the world to the mighty sounds of the West Philadelphia Orchestra!

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