SciFact vs SciFi: Nerd Nite Goes to the Movies

By Michael Unger


Over the past five years Nerd Nite has helped grow a community of curious adult learners by facilitating a social environment conducive to conversation and exploration. At Nerd Nite, we aim to bring together experts and audience in a collegial and engaging space, in a bar, with friends to encourage learning across diverse disciplines. Importantly, we are part of a larger Nerd Nite family, as the event itself is part of a global phenomenon with its roots in Boston in 2003. With over 100 chapters around the world, Nerd Nites can vary not only from city to city but from night to night. Topics which are three a night, vary from the science of disease-causing fungi, to the feminism in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, all done with drinks in hand!

Planet of the Apes

To make science accessible and fun, we focus on storytelling. Narrative is an effective tool for sharing science and can be more readily digested by an audience because we are inherently drawn to stories in our communication from cave art to modern film. That last aspect is something that we’ve always been curious to explore more. Movies play a significant role in our collective understanding of who we are; they tell and broadcast our stories, and a lot of those stories are rooted in science.


This is why Nerd Nite Vancouver is extremely excited to be partnering with the Vancouver International Film Festival for a summer series that will bring a few of our favourite Nerd Nite contributors and delve into some film clips on four diverse themes. Topics will range from learning about ape behaviour from Dr. Carin Bondar in Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011), to exploring the black holes in Interstellar (2014) with Dr. Douglas Scott, to the genetic screening performed in Gattaca (1997) with Dr. Greg Bole. We’ll also have geologist Mika McKinnon who is a natural disaster nerd, who will delve into a few films that cover those big events like San Andreas (2015). A lot of these films – whether deemed box office hits or flops – pose questions about the science behind them, what’s real, what’s not? Join us, Nerd Nite hosts Kaylee and Michael, as we make it so and delve into these questions over beers. Bring your curiosity and your appetite for popcorn. We can’t wait!

Join us for our SciFact vs SciFi: Nerd Nite Goes to the Movies series:

July 10 – Dr. Carin Bondar, Animals According to Hollywood

July 31 – Dr. Douglas Scott: The Universe According to Hollywood

August 14 – Mika McKinnon: Disaster According to Hollywood

August 28 – Greg Bole: Evolution According to Hollywood

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