“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.
“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.
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 www.wissenschaftsball.at as well as the channels on the social media under @SciBall.
Free photos of the Ball 2020 for download: https://www.wissenschaftsball.at/fotos-sciball20-lieferung-2/
Oliver Lehmann, ball organizer
Facebook, Twitter and Instagram: @SciBall
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
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