All posts by katharina kropshofer

How do you get scientists onto the dancefloor?

(c) Roland Ferrigato

You hire the right DJs for the disco!

MEL MERIO started off as moderator within the Puls/Pro-7 group and has been working as DJane and singer for many years. She is a constant face in the Viennese scene and became known as designer and performance artist (at the Life Ball and other events). This year she will present her uplifting sounds in the ball disco. Her musical pallette? Very broad but always including good vibes, lots of energy and three main ingredients: Love, passion and lust for life. 21.20-00.00; Volkshalle

TEX RUBINOWITZ AND MAIK NOVOTNY are known as eloquent writers, illustrators and journalists for FM4, Falter and beyond – and as gifted disc jockeys with a preference for rare and classy tracks. Born in Germany, they have made Austria their home since many years, meddling with the local club scene at Club U on Karlsplatz or for the yearly Bachmann award (which was awarded to Rubinowitz in 2014). When Maik and Tex bring on their vinyl box, danceable beats and the finest sound are guaranteed.  00.30-end of the ball; Volkshalle

P.S.: You can find some inspiration for your dance moves from a 30 meter long decoration, designed by students of the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna with motives from flora and faune. Looking towards the turntables you will see transmissions straight from the beehive stemming from Martin Kampel, Computer Vision Lab (TU Vienna).

Andrea Möller


“As biologist and biology educationalist, I am especially happy about the motto for the ball. This year, those who don’t normally have a big lobby, are being heard: insects! Their image as ‘annoying naggers’ has long been outdated: 80% of our most important plants are pollinated by them, amongst them not only fruit and vegetables but also favourites of ball visitors like wine and coffee. 20.000 bee species are flying through the air, one of them the honey bee, which is the third most important livestock animal (just after cattle and pigs). The global decline in insects is therefore not only massively threatening biodiversity but also our nutrition and way of living. As humans we need to tackle the decline of more than 75% of insect populations (in protected natural areas). No surprise that the according study made it into the Global Risk Report 2018 by the World Economic Forum.  Be(e) educated: At the ball you can learn more about our environmental education project Bee.ed at our stand. We will show you how to protect wild bees and will introduce you to the language of bee dance, which was discovered by the Viennese biologist and Nobel prize winner Karl von Frisch. And who knows, maybe the bee dance will inspire your moves as well!”

Andrea Möller heads the Austrian Education Competence Centre for Biology (AECC Biology) and is professor at the Department for Evolutionary Biology (University of Vienna). At the AECC she is training most of the aspiring biology teachers in Ausria and researching the development of children’s knowledge and attitudes about the environment. As expert for ‘bee didactics’ and former Visiting Researcher at Yale University, she also leads the cross-national and award-winning environmental education project Bee.ed.

Photo: (c) Joseph Krpelan,

Pick up your tickets!

This season our ball office is located at the bookshop Kuppitsch/Thalia on Schottentor. Thanks to their hospitality we can be found at this central spot between the main university building and the Juridicum on working days starting on the 7 January 2019 until 24 January 2019 between 15.00 and 18.30. You will find us in their science department, located in the lower floor where we will be giving out ball tickets. Unfortunately we can’t accept credit cards but only cash. The exact address is Schottengasse 4 (1010 Vienna). You can reach us with public transport: underground U2; tram D, 1, 37, 38, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 71; busses 1A, 40A.

Scientist of the year 2019: Barbara Stelzl-Marx

Barbara Stelzl-Marx, professor for European History at the University of Graz and head of the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for War Consequences is scientist of the year 2019.
Barbara Stelzl-Marx headed several research projects on the second world war and its implication.  Even though the end of the biggest military conflict in the history of mankind took place 75 years ago, Stelzl-Marx’ work shows how relevant these happenings are still in today’s politics and society. Her work have been summarised in touching and popular books which despite their easy language manage to convey the brutal relevance of the research.
Photo (c) Roland Ferrigato

Ball-gown-swap at IMBA

Care for a different ball gown? Do not look any further.  ©Romar Ferry |

For the sixth Vienna Ball of Sciences, the organization team is focusing on topics like sustainability, climate change and an ecological crisis. Besides agenda items about biodiversity and a cooperation with the Fridays for Future activists, there will also be an event jointly organized with IMBA, the Institute of Molecular Biotechnology: On Thursday the 16th and Friday the 17th of January from 17.00-19.00  we will organize a ball gown swap at  IMBA in the 3rd district. You can offer gowns and cocktail dresses that you will not wear this year and borrow dresses for the night.

How it works:

Lenders: Deposit your dress(es) either in advance every day from 9-18 at the IMBA reception (leave your name, address, phone number and email address) or bring them to the swap events on 16th and 17th of January directly and borrow a dress in return if you like!

Pick up your dry-cleaned dress again in the week of Feb 10th-14th, Mo-Fr from 9.00-18.00 at the IMBA reception.

Borrowers: Looking for a dress? Come to the event, enjoy a glass of champagne and check the selection! You can try the dresses on right away.

After the ball: Have the dress dry-cleaned and mended if necessary and return it as soon as possible at the IMBA reception, daily Mon-Sun between 9-18, latest on Sun, Feb 9.


IMBA – Institute of Molecular Biotechnology GmbH
Dr. Bohr-Gasse 3
1030 Vienna
U3 to Schlachthausgasse,  trams 18 and 71, bus 74a to St Marx

If you have questions or want to help us get an overview in advance let us know you’re coming and whether you’re borrowing or lending. Just drop us an email at:

Sonja Paulick-Fabini will answer further questions also by phone Mo-Fr,  9-14:
Tel.: 0043 1 79044 4803

Can I also swap men’s evening wear? – Sorry, no menswear this time, only dresses! But we are thinking of expanding to the gents for next year.
Can I also sell my dress? If you would also be willing to sell your dress, please tell us the price when you drop off the dress in advance or just let us or potential buyers know at the swap event. If someone wants to buy and you’re not around, we’ll give them your phone number so they can contact you and arrange the sale.

Anne Wieben

“Vienna, city of my dreams!” The title of one of the most famous songs about Vienna could very well be the story of my life. 15 years ago I left my homeland, Minnesota in the USA, to study music in Vienna. It was love at first sight! What started as a one year study abroad experience has lead to a masters in music from the Music and Arts Private University of Vienna (MUK) and a career on the opera stages of the world. Yet no matter where my singing takes me, Vienna always calls me back. This is the city where  Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Haydn and so many others found their inspiration. What’s more, this is a city where creative thinking has been encouraged, valued, and celebrated for centuries– and that continues today. The Vienna Ball of Sciences is a perfect example.  For 6 years now, Vienna’s newest ball has been bringing together the most creative minds from across the world to share ideas– and, of course, to have a great time in true Viennese fashion!

It is my honor to not only be an ambassador for this year’s Ball of Sciences, but to also present the “Mitternachtseinlage” or “Midnight Show”.  Get ready for a performance full of beautiful music, passion, and a healthy portion of fun. Whether you are a physicist or a violinist, a bio engineer or a chemistry student, a singer or an astronomer, put your dancing shoes on– see you at the Vienna City Hall on January 25th! 

Anne Wieben is soprano and alumna of the Music and Arts Private University of Vienna (MUK).  Recently she starred as Rosalinde in Die Fledermaus with the “Wir sind Wien” festival, which took place across Vienna’s districts. She also toured through Vorarlberg and Minnesota, and performs regularly with Vienna’s Nesterval ensemble. She is the founder and creative director of Opera on the Lake, an operetta festival in Minnesota.” At this year’s Ball of Science’s,  she can be heard and seen during the midnight show, which includes a musical surprise.  


Photo: (c) Gregor Hofbauer

Jörg Menche

“The Vienna Ball of Sciences is the party of the year, which brings together what belongs together – but doesn’t manage to come together often enough. Scientists from all disciplines are celebrating a colourful, diverse night with “an attitude”. Modern research is meeting classic ball tradition and a rather sober academic gaze is enraptured by the cityhall’s fantastic scenery. In an environment known for its brain power, shaking one’s legs stands in the foreground, elegance has priority over function – even in the changing room. The Science Ball is bringing together the community of the curious, in a place it belongs: the heart of Vienna and of society.”

Jörg Menche is Principal Investigator at the CeMM Research Centre for Molecular Medicine , which is part of the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Vienna. His team is research molecular networks and how disturbances can cause diseases. Visitors can dive into this network through a virtual reality installation at this year’s Science Ball.

Photo: (c) Wolfgang Däuble

Andrea Zsutty

„One of the goals at the ZOOM children’s museum is to give children a sensory  approach to art and science. Touching, smelling, tasting, seeing and hearing makes complex topics more attainable. Children have a natural curiosity which stands at the basis of every learning process and scientific research. Already at a young age they get to know that all living spaces and organisms on Earth are connected. Biodiversity – one of the foci of this year’s Ball of Sciences – shows that humanity is also a part of this complex system.  Let’s celebrate the diversity of life with this ball, sustained by pillars of openness, tolerance and respect!”

Andrea Zsutty is the new director of the ZOOM children’s museum. As a studied art historian she is working in communication of art since 1996, most recently at the Bank Austria Kunstforum. The ZOOM children’s museum located at the Vienna Museumsquartier was founded in 1993 and welcomes over 120.000 visitors every year.

Photo: (c) ZOOM Kindermuseum

Martina Lindorfer

“Vienna is – in the best sense of the word – different and I cannot imagine any other city which successfully combines two things which, at the first glance, seem to be very distinct: a time-honoured ball tradition and future-oriented research. But since standing still is the enemy of a successful night (especially at a ball), Grace Hopper’s motto is also true for the Ball of Sciences: “The most dangerous phrase in the language is, ‘We’ve always done it this way.’” I am therefore looking forward to an extraordinary combination of a classical ball with scientific impulses.”

Martina Lindorfer is assistant professor in the Security & Privacy Group at the TU Wien and key researcher at SBA Research, the largest research center in Austria which exclusively addresses information security. In her research she is specialising on methods for automatic recognition and defense of malware on mobile devices. She was awarded the Hedy-Lamarr-Preis 2019 by the City of Vienna, which honours Austrian scientists for their innovative accomplishments within IT. In 2017 she graduated „Sub Auspiciis Praesidentis“ at the TU Wien, between 2016 und 2018 she was a Postdoc at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Grace Hopper was an US-American computer scientist and navy admiral who pioneered computer programming.

Photo: (c) privat

Alice Vadrot

“A ball facilitates social exchange and dialogue characterised by a sense of beauty and elegance. Traditionally, balls always had a special function within international diplomacy. Together with my team I am currently researching international negotiations regarding a new treaty for the preservation of marine biodiversity. Often we find ourselves in difficult stages of discussion in which the main goal – which is the protection of oceans  – has to take a back seat and in which countries don’t seem to be willing to move one millimeter in the favour of nature. These are the times when I am longing for a space of encounter and dialogue – and the Vienna Ball of Sciences is such a space, mixing tradition and innovation while embodying beauty and elegance, which is as much part of scientific thinking as it is of the ocean we need to protect.”

Alice Vadrot is assistant professor at the Institute for Political Sciences, University of Vienna, and principal investigator of the research project MARIPOLDATA, financed by the European Research Council. The project looks at political processes behind negotiations regarding marine biodiversity. She is also Visiting Research Fellow at the Centre for Science and Policy at the University of Cambridge and a member of the Austrian biodiversity council together with Franz Essl

Photo: © Centre for Science and Policy (CSaP), University of Cambridge