All posts by Oliver Lehmann

Peter Klimek: Let’s be loud and proud!

“Less than a year after the first description of the SARS-CoV-2 genome, vaccination campaigns (sometimes faster, sometimes slower) could begin in January 2021. In January 2022, it was still unclear whether vaccinations would be able to withstand the onslaught of new omicron variants. In January 2023, we expect this to continue to be the case, allowing events like the Science Ball to finally take place again. A triumph from a scientific point of view.

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Keya Baier: When, if not now!

“We students are delighted that after difficult years of pandemic-related break, the Vienna Ball of Sciences can finally take place again. Especially in times like these, the Science Ball  has an even more fundamental role than in previous years. While the status of universities and students is currently being renegotiated politically, anti-scientific attacks and tendencies are on the rise at the same time.

So when, if not now, is it fitting and necessary to dedicate an evening of joy, celebration, and affirmation to science? Let’s celebrate science together – to vigorously defend its freedom and importance today as well as tomorrow.”

Keya Baier is the chairwoman of the federal representation of the Austrian National Union of Students (ÖH). She studies political science and economics at the University of Vienna and ran as the top candidate for the Greens and Alternative Students in the 2021 election. Before, she was chairwoman of the ÖH at the University of Salzburg.

Barbara Prainsack: Science as model for society

Photo: Johanna Schwaiger

“Before the pandemic, most people only had contact with science when there was a breakthrough to celebrate. The pandemic offered the first time the opportunity for people to watch science at work ‘live.’ This has brought greater interest in scientific topics, but also misconceptions – for example, that science must always speak with one voice to be considered sound. Yet doubt and dissent are hallmarks of good science – as long as they are voiced in a respectful exchange. Science characterized by open exchange about how to understand the world can be a model for an equally open and respectful democratic society.”

As a professor at the Department of Political Science at the University of Vienna, Barbara Prainsack focuses on aspects of medical and health policy – as most recently and especially visible during the Corona pandemic – as well as practices, institutions, and politics of solidarity. Prainsack is a member of the Austrian Bioethics Commission and, since 2022, chair of the European Group on Ethics and New Technologies, an advisory body to the European Commission.



Thomas Maurer: The good news

Photo: Ingo Petramer

“One development in recent years is the attempt to equate faith (in whatever) with knowledge. This is, of course, bullshit and extremely dangerous. But faith has an advantage in such a situation because we are all insecure people in a world that is increasingly difficult to control. The longing for certainty is understandable. But giving in to this longing is not much wiser than giving in to laziness and never getting out of bed again. This is difficult and only works if you have enough money to lead a corresponding Oblomow existence. But sealing yourself off watertight against thinking and thus insecurity, that apparently works quite well. After all, we’ve seen some very successful political movements in recent years that thrive on precisely that.

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Start of ticket sales for #SciBall23

The world’s largest pea will be visiting the Science Ball in honor of Gregor Mendel’s 200th birthday./ Photo: Boku

Starting today, tickets for the 8th Vienna Ball of Science on January 28, 2023 are available in the webshop.

The chairman of the ball committee, Oliver Lehmann, recorded a remarkably high level of interest even before tickets went on sale, from both Austria and abroad. Tickets can be booked now at The prices: € 100 for regular tickets, € 30 for students. Tables and boxes can also be booked at

Lehmann: “After two years of pandemic-related break, we dare the experiment. The Science Ball represents the diversity, size and excellence of the universities, universities of applied sciences, private universities and research institutions in the greater Vienna area. This season, the ball illustrates in a special way how we all benefit from research.”

The program in the ballrooms on the Beletage of City Hall promises a mix of cleverly crafted presentations, surprising tastings and music ranging from waltz and jazz to soul and tango, including the opening committee and midnight quadrille. Thanks to the commitment of the 400 orchestra and band musicians, dancers, event technicians and catering staff, the Science Ball makes a significant contribution to Vienna’s cultural and event scene.

Lehmann: “In the past months we  designed a colorful and clever program. Music from all directions from waltz to swing, world and tango to hip hop awaits you from 8 p.m. to 4 a.m. on five stages. Presentations from the world of science (including, in honor of Gregor Mendel, the world’s largest pea!) will transform City Hall into an open-air laboratory of enlightened pleasure.”

Once again, the rectors, presidents and heads of all Viennese universities, private universities, universities of applied sciences as well as the ÖAW, IIASA and IST Austria will form the honorary committee, thus underlining the relevance of Vienna as the most important university and research location in Central Europe. Highlights of the program will be announced in the course of the coming weeks, as will the Ball Ambassadors from science, business, culture and society.

The marketing measures for the ball are meanwhile fully started. Central information base is the homepage as well as the channels on the social media under @SciBall.

Free photos of the Ball 2020 for download:

Enquiry notice:
Oliver Lehmann, ball organizer
Facebook, Twitter and Instagram: @SciBall

Congratulations to Anton Zeilinger!

He was one of the very first supporters of the Science Ball – and has been a regular ever since! Today, he has received the well-deserved Nobel Prize for Physics 2022. We are very happy for him and we are looking forward to his visit to the Science Ball 2023 on 28 January 2023! Here is his ball message from December 2014:

“What would Vienna be without its balls? Definitely not Vienna. To have ‘one’s’ ball in this city means to play a visible role in the life and self-perception of the city. The sciences and research have long played a significant role. Now they are also visible in the ball calendar, alongside the traditional balls of Viennese universities. Seen in this light, the Vienna Ball of the Sciences is actually long overdue. It is good that it now exists.”

o. Univ.-Prof. Dr. phil. DDr. h.c. Anton Zeilinger, President of the Austrian Academy of Sciences

Photo by Jacqueline Godany

Photo by Jacqueline Godany

8th Science Ball 2022 cancelled

Omicron dynamics not calculable • Organizing committee follows research findings •  New date planned for January 2023

The current Covid forecasts leave us no choice but to cancel the Science Ball in January 2022 and to consider a new date on Saturday, January 28, 2023.

As a science ball, we are committed to research and its findings. Due to the omicron variant, it is currently very difficult to predict the dynamics of infection development. Therefore, we as the organizing committee have decided – like our colleagues from the TU-, WU-, Blumen- or Opernball – to cancel the Science Ball for this season.

We would like to thank all the artists, scientists, ball ambassadors and contributors who have participated in the planning with great energy. We thank all the experts with whom we developed an excellent security and access concept. And we would like to thank all our customers, whose bookings have once again demonstrated their enormous interest in the Science Ball. Tickets can be canceled free of charge until early February. As of February 10, 2022 the tickets are transferred to the 2023 ball.

We hope that as many people as possible will be vaccinated or boostered in the coming weeks. In this way, they will protect themselves and their fellow human beings – and ultimately enable us all to enjoy a ball season in the winter of 2022/23.

Elke Ziegler: reason to celebrate

Ursula Hummel-Berger, ORF

Science is the basis of a sustainable modern society. It provides the tools to understand the dimensions of the challenges we face. It proposes solutions, highlights their potential and thus prepares the ground for reasoned political action – from pandemics to climate warming to species extinction. Trust in science means understanding the path to knowledge and appreciating results. This basis should be put beyond dispute in the political debate – then science and society would have reason to celebrate far beyond the pandemic.

Elke Ziegler is science editor with Ö1 and was awarded the Robert Hochner Prize 2021 for her coverage of the pandemic in journals, features and podcasts. The jury found that Ziegler had “tirelessly prepared the sometimes contradictory wealth of information for radio listeners in a factual, comprehensible, balanced, level-headed and always cutting-edge manner”.