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Chris Paparo hosts the Geek Talk series at übergeek Brewing Co. (Credit: Lee Meyer)

Chris Paparo is a bit of a punk rock scientist.

The manager of the Marine Sciences Center at Stony Brook Southampton’s School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences, he shares his wealth of knowledge through lectures at libraries and other places that don’t quite feel like lectures.

That’s certainly the case at Geek Talk, the series he hosts at übergeek Brewing Company in Riverhead. The events are attended by about 65 to 100 guests every other Thursday night. Attendees are treated to an interesting lecture about a unique topic while enjoying craft beer and a rotation of food trucks.

For the talks, Paparo has one rule.

“No charts, no grids, no statistics,” he said.

He’s found the success of the series comes through its accessibility.

“I’m like, ‘Look, leave the science at home,’” he said. “Put up pictures, videos and tell me a story. Why do you do your research?” 

The successful series, which started in 2014 as Nature Talks at Moustache Brewing Co. before übergeek took over the space, grew from word of mouth and Paparo’s popular Fish Guy Photos instagram account.

The nights are a big deal for übergeek, said owner Rob Raffa.

“Come summer, we get 100, 120 people here for the lectures,” he said.

Upcoming topics include a history of Irish emigration to New York and an overview of the Montauk Project.

“There’s other things that people geek out about, right?” Raffa said. 

We had to see for ourselves. 

On Thursday, around 65 people filed into übergeek to attend a talk by the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation on “Big Fish in New York State.” The bar was hopping, and the All American Wonton truck outside was constantly busy. 

After Paparo introduced the speakers to the rapt crowd, marine biologists Caitlyn Craig, Chris Scott and Jesse Hornstein talked about their work, from researching the health of striped bass to monitoring shark activity across Long Island. 

The audience, which was filled with everyone from Stony Brook University students to locals just interested in the topic, was incredibly warm and enthusiastic. There was a particularly excited reaction when Scott mentioned the Shark Spotter program, which lets people upload photos and videos of shark sightings for all to see.

“These lectures are really cool,” said Toni Ann Montiglio, attending the talk with her boyfriend, Will Henry. Both are undergrads at Stony Brook.

“They show stuff you don’t see everyday,” she said. Montiglio and Henry also follow Paparo’s Fish Guy Instagram account and are interested in joining the SoMAS program.

Rich Spinello, an übergeek regular, is not a marine sciences expert, but enjoys the talks.

“There’s not enough opportunities for people to learn about science,” Spinello said. “We need more of that. And if you pair it with beer, I’ll attend anything. I was not into marine science, but I was in a brewery, and now I am.”

Check out the schedule of talks below, and find Chris Paparo on Instagram at Fish Guy Photos and übergeek Brewing Company at 400 Hallett Avenue, Riverhead.

Feb. 10 “Paddling Around Paumanok”

Feb. 24 “Rocks and Hopes – The Geology of Beer”

Mar. 10 “Journey of Hope – The Irish in New York”

Mar. 24 “Peepers, Salamanders and Fairy Shrimp”

Apr. 7 “Hungry Hungry Humpbacks”

Apr. 21 “Baby Critters and Tiny Monsters”

May 5 “Just Like Dracula: Do bats hold the key to fighting old age?”

June 2 “Shark ID – From the Air, Land and Sea”

June 16 “Mysteries of the Montauk Project”

June 30 “Comets, Asteroids and Near Earth Objects”