> Nerd Nite No. 38: Grey Matter– Plastinated Brains, Morton’s Skulls, and Cerebral Supervillans

Nerd Nite No. 38: Grey Matter– Plastinated Brains, Morton’s Skulls, and Cerebral Supervillans

Greetings Nerds!

Are you ready for an extra-brainy Nerd Nite? Join us on Wednesday, June 11 for our next edition of Nerd Nite, featuring talks on that very special super computer we all have inside our heads. This special Nerd Nite in collaboration with the Franklin Institute’s Science After Hours program features a little something for everyone: software to visualize the brain, skull collecting, and a review of brainy characters in popular culture. Want more? We’ll have local video game developers Cipher Prime on hand for some brain games for your entertainment.

Check back soon for more details, but in the meantime…

The line up:

Brandon Zimmerman: Confessions of a 19th- Century Skull Collector

When it comes to collecting skulls, no one did it better than Philadelphia’s own, Dr. Samuel George Morton. Aided by a fiercely loyal and tireless network of skull collectors, Morton amassed the world’s largest collection of skulls and redefined Philadelphia’s relationship with the dead. Featuring stories about some of Morton’s most famous skulls and infamous skull collectors – from medical dissections to bloodthirsty pirates, from raided Egyptian tombs to Philadelphia’s own serial killers – it’s bound to be the best 20 minutes of entertainment involving a disembodied head since Pee-Wee’s Playhouse. Say it with me… Meka Leka Hi Meka Hiney Ho!!

Bio: Brandon Zimmerman is an award-winning illustrator, museum exhibition designer, historian, and photographer. He has worked as a consultant for a national forensic firm, a vaccine manufacturer, and several local museums. He also has an unhealthy fascination with tapeworms and an even unhealthier love of Chinese buffets and bad 80s comedies. Over the past 5 years, most of his time has been spent researching shrunken heads, books bound in human skin, and the history of the Samuel George Morton Cranial Collection, so yeah… pity his social life. You can contact him and see more of his work at www.brandozim.com

Jayatri Das: Your Brain Creates Your World

What is reality? Your brain creates a reality for you that’s different from anyone else’s, and scientists are still trying to figure out how your brain does it. Test your brain in a series of minds-on activities that investigate memory, attention, and language to discover how you perceive a unique world around you. What questions emerge from these “brain tricks” that will shape the future of brain science?

Bio: Jayatri Das is Chief Bioscientist at The Franklin Institute and a Fellow of the Center for Neuroscience & Society at the University of Pennsylvania. She has developed the science content for Your Brain, an exhibition about neuroscience and psychology of the human brain scheduled to open on June 14. When she’s not engaged in science outreach, she enjoys her ongoing at-home experiment with early childhood development, also known as her three-year-old twins.

Ben Leach: Brains Not Guaranteed: The Stupid Schemes of Supposedly Super Smart Supervillains

If you are a fictional character with an enlarged or exposed brain, chances are you’re going to eventually become a supervillain. Often, these clever creeps brag about how intelligent they are and how they are the masterminds behind the perfect plans to stop our favorite heroes and heroines. Thankfully, decades of pop culture have preserved many moments in which we’re able to catch these smart scoundrels with their pants down. From B-movie brain monsters to cartoon and comic supervillains, we’ll be highlighting some especially stupid moments involving fictional characters who should be in MENSA.

Bio: Ben Leach is a New Jersey-based science and medical writer. However, he is also a collector of the eclectic and unusual, especially if it’s something that relates to his childhood from the 1980s and 1990s. He has been a published author on collectibles since he was 19, with work appearing in Lee’s Toy Review, Toyfare, and about.com. Currently, he operates a website dedicated to antiques and collectibles with his family called The Collector Gene (www.collectorgene.com)

Plus: Interactive games from innovative local developer Cipher Prime will be available to try out between speakers!

The particulars:

Wednesday, June 11

Doors open at 4pm. Show starts at 7:30pm

$5 cover gets you happy hour specials all night plus admission to this fantastic night

Frankford Hall, 1210 Frankford Ave.

Philadelphia, PA 19125

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