Let’s all be thankful for the last Nerd Nite East bay of 2013! As usual, we present you with three diverse talks: Will Johnson will describe the entire universe…or at least those parts that can be crammed into a single page of equations. Anna Lieb will hopefully reveal that the reason my weight keeps increasing may be due to the shrinking kilogram. Finally, Donnelly Gillen will unlock some secrets of early surrealistic art.

DJ Citizen Zain and Rick and Rebecca will keep the turkeys at bay.

Monday 11/25
Doors at 7 pm, show at 8
The New Parkway, 474 24th St, Oakland
(less than half-a-mile from the 19th St BART)
All Ages
FB event
g+ event


How much math does it take to describe how everything can interact and behave? How many assumptions do you have to make to do this? And is it even reasonable to expect math to be able to describe all the rules of our reality? Come and find out about one of sciences most lofty goals: to describe everything.

Will studied high energy experimental particle physics at Fermi National Accelerator Lab while a grad student at UC Davis; he failed to find Supersymmetry. Now he detects nefarious nuclear devices and builds fusion reactors at Sandia National Lab.


How much mass is there in a kilogram? It depends on when you ask the question! The SI unit of mass, based on a lump of metal locked in a vault in Paris, is getting smaller by the century. Why does this matter? What can we do? To understand the perilous past and uncertain future of SI units is to go from French Revolution-era politics to fundamental constants of nature, and to peer inside the quantum mechanical machinery that drives one of the world’s most unconventional clocks.

Anna Lieb is a PhD student in Applied Mathematics at UC Berkeley, where she works on computational fluid dynamics and optimization. In her spare time, she is often found cooking, trail running, cycling, or, on occasion, getting lost on account of her unreliable sense of direction.


When is an art movement not really an art movement? The scuola metaphysica, or metaphysical school of early 20th century Italy, wasn’t an organized group of artists who viewed each other’s work and shared ideas. In fact it’s more useful to think of the “school” as a state of mind, or a way of seeing, rather than a movement. This talk will focus on the work and philosophy of Giorgio de Chirico (1888-1978), a Grecian born Italian, who was the genesis of the metaphysical art movement. Comparing De Chirico’s work to that of contemporary movements, we’ll get a visual comparison highlighting how he attempted to use paint and canvas to express his philosophical manifesto. Unfortunately for De Chirico and the other metaphysicians, their approach may have been too subtle; their visual messages proved elusive for the public. But now that modern and contemporary art have thoroughly deconstructed classical painterly traditions, the public (that means you!) may be ready to discern and appreciate the more subtle variations and distortions of traditional painting evident in De Chirico and his brothers’ work.

Donnelly Gillen is a lawyer by trade who spent her college years nerding-out on art history. She jumped at the chance speak at Nerd Nite and reawaken her brain to the world of modern art and to hopefully teach her peers a little something or two in the process. When not practicing law she is usually busy riding horses, going to indie concerts, swimming in the bay, or drinking too much wine.