Who will be crowned Geek of the Year?

Tim Quirino of Geekadelphia (second from left) will join the city's geekiest at the Philadelphia Geek Awards. Credit: Jackie Sauer/ Clever Girl Photography
Tim Quirino of Geekadelphia (second from left) will join the city’s most innovative geeks on the red carpet this weekend.
Credit: Jackie Sauer/Clever Girl Photography

With more than 40 nominees in 14 categories, this year’s Philadelphia Geek Awards honor a wide range of local scientists, artists, teachers and entrepreneurs — united not by any particular interest but by the intensity of their particular interests.

“The term ‘geek’ doesn’t necessarily refer specifically to technological innovation,” says Tim Quirino, co-founder of local blog Geekadelphia, which presents the Geek Awards in conjunction with the Academy of Natural Sciences. “It’s more about having a hobby or a side project that you feel really passionate about, that you care so much about that you pour yourself into it.”

This year’s nominees include an archeology professor working with Dogfish Head Brewery to revive ancient beer recipes; giant “Pong” games played on the Cira Centre; a startup helping to teach adolescents with autism to use digital and social media; a visual artist creating work inspired by hot dogs; and a card game involving mutant dinosaurs. For the first time this year, those nominees were discovered with the help of Philly’s larger geek community, who were encouraged to submit suggestions and ideas through the Geekadelphia website.

“Informed as I and the rest of the team try to be, we all have normal jobs that keep us really busy,” says Geekadelphia co-founder Eric Smith. “So something incredible could slip under the radar. In the end, we received over 600 emails and had this gigantic pool of resources to pull from that we didn’t have the past two years. I think it really helped us to find things that we might not have come across otherwise.”

The black-tie, red carpet awards show takes place at the Academy of Natural Sciences, where the pre-show cocktail hour will feature science demonstrations and live animals. The ceremony itself will include presentations by local “celebrigeeks” like “Mystery Science Theater 3000” creator Joel Hodgson, cartoonist Brad Guigar, and photographer Kyle Cassidy.

The evening’s most coveted award, of course, is Geek of the Year. This year’s headline nominees are molecular biologist, game designer, and comedian Matthew Akana; Drexel engineering prof (and Cira Centre Pong mastermind) Dr. Frank Lee; and Central High robotics team leader Dan Ueda.

“That’s like our Best Picture,” Smith says of the award. “We look for people who have done outstanding things in the community that isn’t just about themselves or about making a product, but that’s inspiring others or that gives back in a really big way. When you look at the nominees, they’re really inspiring people that I think the community should look up to.”

Philadelphia Geek Awards
Saturday, 6:30 p.m.
The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University
1900 Ben Franklin Pkwy.
$25, 215-299-1000
www.phillygeekawards.com


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
International

Powerful 7.2 magnitude earthquake rattles Mexico

A powerful earthquake struck Mexico Friday, shaking buildings and sending people running into the street, although there were no reports of major damage.

Local

Leech therapy: Bloodsuckers in Brooklyn

The Old-World practice of leech therapy makes a comeback in New York.

News

OMG! Exercise can make skin (and butt) look…

A moderate exercise regime can turn back time and actually reverse the skin's aging process, according to new research. The study showed that a minimum…

International

Jews in eastern Ukraine ordered to register, Kerry…

Secretary of State John Kerry condemned reports that Jews in eastern Ukraine had been ordered to register with the authorities "or suffer the consequences."

The Word

Kate Middleton made fun of Prince William's bald…

Kate Middleton and Prince William are in Sydney, Australia, right now, and it sounds like that brash Aussie sense of humor might be rubbing off.

The Word

Is Tom Cruise dating Laura Prepon?

"Mission: Impossible" star Cruise is said to be dating Laura Prepon, star of "Orange is the New Black."

Television

'Scandal' recap: Season 3, Episode 18, 'The Price…

Sally is Jesus, Olivia caused global warming, and Mellie's still drunk. Let's recap the Scandal finale. A church full of Washington insiders is about to…

Movies

Review: 'Transcendence' is not stupid but sometimes lacks…

The cyberthriller "Transcendence" explores artificial intelligence, nanotechnology and other ethical quandaries, but has too much ambition, if anything.

NBA

Carmelo Anthony agonizing over Knicks future as season…

There’s still the cloud hanging over the franchise’s head as to the pending free-agent status of All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony.

NFL

Jets host players with eye toward NFL Draft

The Jets hosted a number of NFL Draft hopefuls for workouts on Thursday, with an eye toward some under-the-radar players.

NFL

Chris Johnson: I wanted to go to 'a…

Now that Chris Johnson is a Jet, the team has to figure out if one of the most explosive players in the NFL over the last half decade has anything…

NHL

Rangers' speed versus Flyers' size makes interesting playoff…

Among the myriad aspects that will make this Metropolitan Division semifinal series fascinating will be the battle between the Rangers' speed and the Flyers' size,…

Style

Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.

Wellbeing

Why is dance cardio taking off in NYC?

Instructors at some of the city's hottest classes explain why.

Travel

Earth Day travel in the Florida Keys

See why this eco-friendly destination deserves your attention.

Tech

Sorry, Facebook — FarmVille goes mobile with 'Country…

Zynga has released a version of the hit "FarmVille" tailored for smartphones and tablets in the hope of reaping a bumper crop of players.