Nerdnite 6 – Review and Science!

By Elf Eldridge 21/07/2011

I was lucky enough to attend the 6th installment of Wellington’s ‘Nerdnite’ on Monday evening at Bodega. As expected, I was treated to a glorious cacophony of different thoughts and experiences, from beer to cryptic crosswords to film editing to 3D printing.  By way of review, I’ll just say that the first 2 speakers were ok, having a little difficulty keeping to time causing their presentations to come across as a little ‘unrehearsed’. Subsequently the stage was taken by film editor, Nick Swinglehurst, and just WOW. His presentation was not only totally immersive, but provided some deep insights into the manipulation we are exposed to every day via the medium of film. His comments centreing on John Gardner’s

“…vivid and continuous dream” – The Art of Fiction

left me totally reconsidering how best to approach science communication, where typically facts are given pride of place, often to the exclusion of an engaging storyline! If you have a spare half hour I highly recommend watching this talk (avaiable here), scientist or no, for an intriguing glimpse into perception manipulation.

Finally, centre stage was occupied by the fantastic Patrick Herd, who spoke on the current state of 3D printing/rapid prototyping. To top off his talk he threw the floor open to questions (as did all the speakers) but one stuck with me. An audience member asked where the science was at with 3D bioprinting and Patrick responded by quoting an example where the matrix of a kidney was printed and then a  functional kidney was grown by implanting some basic cells into this. I’ll cover this in more detail in an upcoming bionanoengineering post, but if you want to find out more about the experiments, a great current review of current technologies is here. Essentially bioprinters form the first step on a long road towards complete organ biosynthesis, but the steps that have been taken so far are crucial to allow this to happen in the future! Makes me dream of a certain scene from the 5th Element, one of my favourite childhood movies, and I wonder how far away some thing like this is in reality. Enjoy. Nerdnite was a great success, and I’m certainly looking forward to the next one!