While Central Oregon might not be a nerd hub on par with, say, Portland — home to the epic Powell’s Books — there are plenty of amenities for those with nerdy needs to get their nerd fix. And really, you can nerd out on just about anything. Case in point: vitamins. Oregon State University-Cascades will host Monday’s Science Pub on the subject of vitamin C. You don’t even have to be a nerd about what you’re putting in your body. In the virtual program “Vitamin C and Health: Fact versus Fiction,” Alexander Michels, a research associate at OSU’s Linus Pauling Institute, will share the truths and myths of health claims made about the vitamin. The free event runs from 6 to 7:30 p.m. and will be webcast on YouTube Live. Register (required) at beav.es/Jyo.
You could do worse — that is, less nerdy — than the online program “What Happened Before the Big Bang?” at 6 p.m. on April 20. No, it’s not about the years before the CBS sitcom. It’s a virtual lecture by astrophysicist Ethan Siegel, a senior science contributor to Forbes magazine, who will discuss what the last 40 years of research have contributed to our understanding of what happened before the expansion of the universe. Tickets are $5. Visit cocc.edu/foundation/vsp to register or learn more info.
But there’s nerd-fun aplenty year-round in Central Oregon. Here are but a few places and ways to get your geek on:
Pegasus Books — Long before anyone regarded nerds as cool, owner Duncan McGeary was working away to create a bastion of nerd culture in downtown Bend. Pegasus is more than just a comic book store (though it is that, too): games, toys, graphic novels, figures, literature, masks, used books, Pegasus has you covered. pegasusbooksofbend.blogspot.com, 105 NW Minnesota Ave., Bend.
High Desert Museum — If temporary exhibits such as ”Cosmic Microscapes,” which looks into the similarities of terrestrial rocks and those from space, don’t do it for your inner nerd, perhaps learning all about the history, culture and natural wonder of the Columbian Plateau will. The parking lot of the museum even has charging stations for electric car-driving nerds. highdesertmuseum.org, 59800 Highway 97, in Bend.
Sunriver Nature Center and Observatory — Nerds and non-nerds alike will dig this Sunriver spot situated on 8 acres next to Lake Aspen in Sunriver. The Nature Center is home to wildlife such as Luna, a Eurasian Eagle-owl, the largest species of owl in the world, and the dark skies of the area make stargazing at the Observatory — the largest publicly accessible observatory in the nation — a special experience. Tickets are required for the observatory. Visit snco.org for more. Located at 57245 River Road, Sunriver.
Pine Mountain Observatory — Usually, the University of Oregon’s observatory atop Pine Mountain, located east of Bend, allows the public to visit on Fridays and Saturdays from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Due to COVID-19, it won’t be opening on Memorial Day, but its website, pmo.uoregon.edu, suggests it could open later in the summer.
Vector Volcano — Revisit your past via vintage ’80s and ’90s video games such as Asteroids, Galaga and Defender, along with pinball games. vectorvolcanoarcade.com, 111 NW Oregon Ave., downtown Bend
Rock hounding — Central Oregon is a popular destination for rock and mineral hounds. Petrified wood, agate, thundereggs and our personal favorite, jasper, can be found here. Visit oregondiscovery.com for more details.