From the glacier to the ball room

We are very much looking forward to the visit of guest of honor Andrea Fischer! The Tyrolean glaciologist is Scientist of the Year 2023. The award was presented to her at a press conference in the Concordia press club by the Club of Education and Science Journalists for her impressive skills in communicating science.

After congratulations from club chairwoman Eva Stanzl and ÖAW president Heinz Fassmann, ball organizer Oliver Lehmann presented her with her personal ticket. She likes crampons more than dancing shoes. Fischer revealed that her visit to the science ball will be a first. She had never been to a ball before. Fischer will be a guest of Science Minister Martin Polaschek in the town hall.

Andrea Fischer conducts research at the Institute for Interdisciplinary Mountain Research at the Austrian Academy of Sciences (ÖAW). For many years she has been considered a proven expert on the condition of Austria’s glaciers, has drawn attention to the consequences of melting for the Alpine country of Austria and is committed to measures against global warming. In recent years she has been, among other things, played a key role in the annual glacier report of the Austrian Alpine Club, in the “Glacier Diary” published regularly on, and most recently in the first report on cryosphere monitoring Austria (KryoMon AT).

Born in 1973 in St. Johann in Tirol, Andrea Fischer studied theoretical physics and environmental systems science at the University of Graz. During her dissertation on remote sensing of Icelandic glaciers at the University of Innsbruck, the passionate mountaineer discovered her love for glaciers, to which she has been dedicating her research work since 1999 – after the University of Innsbruck at the COMET Competence Center Alp-S and since 2010 at the ÖAW Institute, of which she is currently deputy director. Fischer’s research stays took her to the USA (Boulder) and Chile (Punta Arenas). In 2011 she completed her habilitation at the University of Innsbruck, in 2014 she became a corresponding member and in 2022 a full member of the ÖAW. Fischer is also a member of renown scientific associations at home and abroad, represents Austria at the World Glacier Monitoring Services and works as a reviewer for numerous scientific journals.

The Club of Education and Science Journalists has been presenting the “Scientist of the Year” award since 1994. For the 30th time the honor goes to a researcher who has made outstanding contributions to the clear dissemination of scientifically based facts.

“Communicating scientific findings to a broad audience – both through serious science journalism and through the committed public appearance of researchers – makes it easier for citizens to separate facts from opinions and make informed decisions. Science communication makes an important contribution to the fight against “fake news,” underlined Eva Stanzl, chairwoman of the Club of Education and Science Journalists.

Photo: R. Ferrigato