We do science.
We read xkcd.
We quite like loud socks.
We totally voted for Pedro.
We always read the liner notes, but never the instructions.
How about you?
Jonathan is a neuroscientist approaching the pointy end of a DPhil at Oxford. He kicked this whole thing off when he led teammates Blake and Joe to their televised demise in the second round of BBC4′s Only Connect. He sometimes moonlights as an actor and a singer, including playing Sweeney Todd and taking a concert of Tom Waits songs to the Edinburgh Fringe. He has also sung with Out of the Blue, appeared in a student film, and done a bit of writing and a bit of broadcasting. When it rains, he misses Adelaide. He loves OK Go music videos and is a bit addicted to these hyperlink things. He produces and co-presents the Nerd Alert podcast and also runs the website. To keep up to date with Nerd Alert, or with Jonathan, you can follow @jjbw on Twitter.
Neil comes from Perth. He also comes from South Africa. He has more hair than this cat. He co-presents the podcast and writes for the blog. He is good at physics and philosophy and computers and Boggle and auditory neuroscience. He once made albums and things. Now he mostly makes trouble. In New York.
Blake Aaron Richards, né Grimthorpe the Destroyer of Worlds, is a Canadian neuroscientist who did a DPhil at Oxford and went home again. Having managed to avoid falling into the family business of world eating, Blake is pursuing a career in academia, and is interested in cellular and systems level research on learning and memory. His undergraduate degree was in Cognitive Science and Artificial Intelligence, which thoroughly convinced him that people who talk about “the singularity” are absolutely full of shite. He lives with his sexy librarian wife and a newly acquired mini-person. Outside of spending time with them, he spends his time either in the lab or drinking single malt whiskey to ease the existential angst that comes with his convictions. He is on the podcast, except when he’s not, and he writes for the blog too. He is Nerd OT Level VIII.
Joseph’s middle name is Valentino. Being a bit of nerd he’s no ‘Italian Stallion’, however he is working on attaining full open-sauce crime-fighting superhero status in the near future. This involves perfecting various foliage-related acrobatic manoeuvres and patrolling the streets at night sporting highly visible Ubuntu-branded underwear. Being South African, Joseph is proficient on the vuvuzela and is obsessed with soccer, social justice, StarCraft and blowing things up. When not orchestrating a zergling invasion of Auir, Joseph is officially a medical doctor who also did a PhD in neuroscience at Oxford. This involved pottering about his basement laboratory tinkering with electrodes, brains, bubbling gases, high-powered lasers and fluorescing jellyfish genes, with an optional side serving of maniacal laughter. Most of these are habits he is yet to shake, but he’s taking them to Cape Town. Joe is the man behind the Wallpaper of the Week and he writes for the blog too.
George has been a scientist for some time, but this is the first biog that he’s ever had to write that wasn’t for a theatre program. He survived the death throes of a DPhil in the Condensed Matter Physics department, but he doesn’t want to give the false impression that there’s any physics involved in what he did; fortunately he was working within a broad church and everyone wanted their data extraction to be optimised. He did his undergrad at Warwick back when the decade was young and he was a real physicist, but the commitment to showing off onstage has been strong throughout. This led to him getting murdered on a nightly basis by Jonathan in Sweeney Todd and, eventually, writing this biography. He sometimes writes blog entries and has been known to boost the physics content of the podcast.
Pete is a microbiologist and when he turned up in Oxford he already had a PhD. So he worked as a postdoc until it broke him and then he studied politics and economics instead. He has now returned home to Brisbane but he still excels at pub quizzes and punting, which gives away just how long he spent in Oxford. He even did a bit of rowing and competed against Cambridge in blind wine tasting. When he tweets, he does it here – and his photography is on Flickr. Pete contributes to the blog and the podcast, as and when his services are required and his frantic schedule permits.
A biomedical engineer by trade, Alisa has only recently realised that her passion for talking science is more than just a symptom of copious hours in the lab. Upon discovering the existence of entire communities of welcoming, like-minded people, she has swiftly embraced the inner geek and progressed from entry-level to intermediate nerd, and is currently in training for the advanced diploma. She is interested in sustainable development, particularly the application of innovative, low-tech solutions to developing-world health-care problems. These interests have led her to get involved with Engineers Without Borders, and she has been vice-president of the Oxford branch. As well as blogging for Nerd Alert, she has written and edited for Bang!. She believes in the importance of communicating science to the world, is annoyed about science sensationalism in the media, and thinks that scientists, busy as they are, have a responsibility to ensure the correct interpretation of science by the public.
Róisín is Irish but since joining the Nerd team she’s mostly been in Canada or Australia. She took a little sabbatical from academia after her PhD, moving to Vancouver and working in sales for a biotech company. She still has promotional pens to prove it. Now she’s doing science again, but upside down in Brisbane. Róisín is interested in the communication of science in the media and is enraged on a weekly basis by the “science bit” at the back of Grazia magazine. She is hugely proud to have openly come out as a nerd. “When I finally told my parents, they confessed that they had always suspected it to be the case.”
Nicky is a condensed matter physicist masquerading as a laser physicist because he thinks that makes him sound more interesting. He was in Oxford far longer than was probably good for him, where he whiled away his time trying to control matter with light. Occasionally he got sent off to a warehouse in Germany to help them wrangle photons into doing useful things in the middle of the night. He could often be found watching the ducks in the park with fellow Nerd George, discussing the fundamental problems of physics and the difficulty of getting a nice cup of tea in the cafeteria. Now he works for Nature Communications. When not being a science nerd, Nicky is busy indulging the music and film geek within by writing for Hard Up, Hungover & The Bastard Landlord.