Nerd Nite London- January 20th 2016

Nerd Nite London is a monthly event where three speakers give 18-21 minute fun-yet-informative talks across all disciplines, while the audience drinks along.

Address: Nerd Nite, Museum of Childhood, Cambridge Heath Road, London E2 9PA

Details: Wednesday January 20th

Tickets: Early nerd tickets £6, general admission £7.50. Tickets available here:

Doors open 7pm

New year, new knowledge: Come join us for the first Nerd Nite of the year –you’ll learn about the sociological significance of a German pedestrian crossing symbol,the role of volcanoes in human evolution,and the amazing [/terrifying?] implications of developing robots as care workers. All at the Museum of Childhood- with beer.

Pedestrian Crossing Signals Used in the German Democratic Republic (Gdr): 1961 -1990

Designed by a traffic psychologist in East Germany, the Ampelmännchen have moved from pedestrian crossings to symbols of East German identity, and have now become a global brand. Does the popularity of this little hat-wearing figure illustrate capitalism’s ability to co-opt everything it encounters, or does his success over his western counterpart demonstrate the resilience of the human spirit?

James Ward is the author of Adventures In Stationery: A Journey Through Your Pencil Case and the founder of the Boring Conference, a one-day celebration of the mundane, the ordinary, the obvious and the overlooked

Our robot friends

This presentation will cover the very real and very current endeavours to get robotic personal assistants into our homes, especially where people needing care have few alternative options. Can robots care with compassion and what does this mean for dignity? Will robots steal our jobs? Once robots begin to take on humanoid forms, what will that do to our sense of individuality, or adequacy? This presentation may or may not revisit the issue of sex with robots, and will try not to scare you with predictions about the Singularity.

Jobeda Ali is the founder and CEO of Three Sisters Care, which provides home care services to your grandparents so you can do something more nerdy instead. Three Sisters Care has over 100 human care staff and is building robots to supplement its workforce. Jobeda may also be known to you as the founder of London Geek Chic, a group for science lovers. In her spare time she is an astronomer, comedian, sci fi writer and a some time steampunk samurai.

A handful of really bad days – a history of the human species in four volcanic eruptions

The occasional, episodic volcanic eruption has always provided Planet Earth with a way to release its inner heat. During humanity’s ≈200,000 year residency on its surface, we’ve had some close encounters with some hot rocks.

By telling the geological and archaeological stories of a handful of carefully chosen eruptions I’ll take you from an explosive event that made life difficult for our Palaeolithic hunter-gathering ancestors, through some of the darkest days of Crete’s Bronze Age Minoan civilisation, a brief hello to how Iceland contributed to the French Revolution, and winding up in 1980s USA when Mt St Helens reminded us it was there.

Simon is a PhD candidate at Birkbeck, University of London where his research is focused on volcanism in the Canary Islands, and previous to this he worked for 8 years at UCL’s Institute of Archaeology. While he really likes both excavating artefacts in arid, dusty countries, and analysing the end-products of magmatic events, he finds it much, much more fun when he gets a chance to combine the two.

All proceeds from Nerd Nite go to charity. This month’s charity is Mind. More information about Nerd Nite London can be found by following us on Twitter @nerdnitelondon, liking us on Facebook or visiting


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