The highlights of the #SciBall24 program

Season’s greetings from the senate meeting room at Vienna City Hall: Mayor Michael Ludwig, City Councillor for Science Veronica Kaup-Hasler with ball organiser Oliver Lehmann plus Sophie and Kevin from the Kraml dance school / Photo: Sabine Hauswirth

Poldi the whale emerges in the town hall

Mayor Michael Ludwig and Science City Councilor Veronica Kaup-Hasler present the program for January 27, 2024

“Vienna and science simply belong together,” explains Mayor Dr. Michael Ludwig on the occasion of a photo session in the town hall together with city councilor Veronica Kaup-Hasler and ball organizer Oliver Lehmann. “The 9th Vienna Science Ball will once again bring the relevance and excellence of research in Vienna into the spotlight of the public, at home and abroad. Recently, the rush to the newly opened Vienna Museum impressively demonstrated how great the interest in the city’s history and thus in science is. Speaking of city history: Poldi – the famous whale from the Wiener Wurstlprater – a very special exhibit from the Vienna Museum will make a guest appearance in the Vienna City Hall and will amaze the ball visitors,” said the Mayor of Vienna.

On the one hand, the new heraldic animal of the Wien Museum stands for the rich and diverse folk culture of Vienna and the local history of the Prater, according to Science City Councilor Veronica Kaup-Hasler. On the other hand, the model also illustrates the challenges of climate change: “It is impressive how many researchers in Vienna are dealing with this question at the highest scientific level.” This is so important because the rational approach to the challenges of our time provides solutions enables, shows ways out and thus curbs irrational fears. The ball therefore belongs to a series of activities by the City of Vienna, such as the Climate Biennale 2024, which deal offensively and creatively with climate change, said Kaup-Hasler.

“On Saturday, January 27th, 2024, the town hall will once again mutate into an open-plan laboratory of intellectual fun. We are expecting 3,600 guests from home and abroad. All of the town hall’s ballrooms on the first floor and on the ground floor will be used,” explains ball organizer Oliver Lehmann the program in detail. “This year’s general theme is the climate and how we deal with it.” The ball is now taking up the megatrend in science. Research into climate change and its effects is no longer limited to the natural sciences. “Practically all branches of science are now concerned with the climate.” A life-size and 3D appearance by Poldi as well as the model of a ton of CO(and how it can be reduced or avoided) illustrate the topic impressively and in a selfie-friendly manner.

Ball board of trustees and honorary committee: The rectors, managing directors and presidents of all universities, private universities and technical colleges as well as IIASA, ISTA, ÖAW and WPI are members of the honorary committee and thus represent the central message of the ball: “Fun with decency – dance with Attitude”. The official organizer of the ball is the Wolfgang Pauli Institute. As in the past years, the realisation lies with the Wien Wissen association.

Federal President Alexander Van der Bellen takes over the protection of honor. The chairman of the honorary board is Mayor Dr. Michael Ludwig, members of the honorary executive committee are Vice Mayor Christoph Wiederkehr and Science City Councilor Mag. Veronica Kaup-Hasler.

Ticket prices and social dimension: As in recent years, interest is remarkably high, both at home and abroad. Once again the ball is practically sold out. The regular admission ticket costs 100 euros, student tickets cost 40 euros.

This year’s central partner of the ball is once again the refugee initiative of the umbrella organisation of all Austrian universities (uniko) “MORE”, in which, in addition to all Austrian universities, the Austrian Students’ Union, Caritas, Diakonie and the Industrial Association are involved as supporters. All proceeds from the photo box benefit “MORE”.

Program: In addition to the ball classics such as the ceremonial opening by the debutante committee, the midnight quadrille and dance music from swing to disco and rap to Latin and tango, the ball is characterized by charging the classical elements with scientific findings:

  • The climate die has been cast: a model of a ton of CO2 awaits guests in the arcade courtyard at the entrance. In cooperation with Wiener Stadtwerke, the Vienna Science Ball illustrates the dimensions of 1,000 kilos of carbon dioxide – but above all how it can be reduced or avoided entirely. In the spirit of sustainability, the cube with a circumference of 8x8x8 meters will be used after the ball by the municipal utilities at events in 2024 to mark the company’s 75th anniversary. The tasting of vegetarian delicacies (prepared by the French company Cassegrain), the design of the floral decorations with climate-adaptive plants by the city garden department and the creation of the spectacular wall decorations in the ball disco (this time in the Volkshalle) by students from the Academy of Fine Arts complement the climate theme.
  • Poldi swims through the town hall: The new heraldic animal of the Vienna Museum appears at the science ball. The 3D model is projected onto a fog curtain by Günther Lebisch’s team, which usually makes Kruder and Dorfmeister’s gigs stand out visually, and enables the guests to chill out into the depths of the ocean.
  • Preservation and renunciation: A participatory installation – inspired by the visual artist Sabine Müller-Funk – invites guests to document those elements in times of climate change that they want to preserve and do without.
  • Midnight performance: The widely celebrated Schmusechor (“cuddly choir”) will present an excerpt from its current successful program under the direction of conductor Verena Giesinger on the main stage. Beforehand, the colorful troupe will sing several interventions on the town hall’s festive steps – goosebumps are guaranteed. The second part of the midnight performance will be rehearsed live with the audience on site based on the model “Last Night of the Proms” and performed: The “Ode to Joy” by Ludwig van Beethoven.
  • The music program continues the close and excellent cooperation with the Music and Art Private University of the City of Vienna and the ball opens with a specially composed fanfare. The ball orchestra Divertimento Viennese under the direction of Vinzenz Praxmarer, which was formed from musicians from the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna, plays in the ballroom – at the beginning with the overture from “Der Silbersee” by Kurt Weill. The senate meeting room will once again become a tango bar and thus the setting for a milonga to the sounds and rhythms of Pico Tango. The JAM Music Lab Private University presents itself in the north buffet with the Latin All Star Band. Mel Merio and DJ Pyromania are in charge of  the club in the Volkshalle. At 1 a.m. Bex, the rap sensation of the Popfest Vienna 2023, will take the stage.
  • Dancing with the Stars: ORF Dancing Star Thomas Kraml will choreograph the opening by the debutante committee and lead the midnight quadrille. Due to the great demand, the midnight quadrille will be rehearsed at 8:15 p.m. and 8:45 p.m. in the discotheque (in the Volkshalle) by dance master Florian Vana, like last year.
  • Premiere of the Vienna Lecture on Science Communication: Marc Abrahams, creator and spirit rector of the legendary Ignoble Prizes, was already a guest at the premiere of the Science Ball in 2015. In 2024 he will support the ball at another premiere: for the first time, the organizing committee will be organizing a ball lecture together with the Austrian Academy of Sciences. On January 26, 2024, one day before the ball, Abrahams will give the first-ever Vienna Lecture on Science Communication. The setting is the ÖAW campus in the center of Vienna.

Ball ambassadors: This year, the Vienna Science Ball is once again relying on people who use their messages to make it clear that science is not limited to laboratories or libraries, but also has its place in the public eye.

Marc Abrahams: Creator and Spiritus Rector of the legendary Ignoble Awards. Herwig Czech: Medical historian (MedUni Vienna) and professor at the Josephinum. Maria Eichlseder:  Computer scientist (TU Wien), winner of the Hedy Lamarr Prize of the City of Vienna 2023. Adrian Goiginger: Film director (“Der Fuchs”, “Rickerl”). Georg Gottlob: Logician (University of Oxford) and President of the Wolfgang Pauli Institute. Daniel Huppmann: Climate researcher (IIASA) and co-author of the IPCC report. Sophie Lecheler: political scientist (University of Vienna). Nina Mathies: Chairwoman of the Austrian Students’ Union. Carmen Possnig: ESA astronaut. Hannelore Veit: long-time ORF correspondent and chairwoman of the Alumni Association of the University of Vienna. Oliver Vitouch: Chairman of the uniko university conference and rector of the University of Klagenfurt. Jessica Wade: Materials scientist (Imperial College London) and author of 2,000 Wikipedia articles about women and people of color in science

Media Contact:

Oliver Lehmann
Head of the organizing committee
Vienna Ball of Sciences

Philipp Stoisits
Media spokesperson StRin Mag.a Veronica Kaup-Hasler
+43 1 4000 81175