Michael Köhlmeier

(c) Hassiepen

“Science – why not think about it with joy? Some say, it is easier to think of God as someone who knows how to dance – Nietzsche even advises to exclusively think of him in this way. Even though the ball was established with a political message in mind, it would be nice to spend a night without talking politics – unless, it is a joyful one just like science.”

Our ninth ball ambassador, Michael Köhlmeier, is one of Austria’s most renowned authors. In addition to his studies of political science and German philology in MarburgKöhlmeier also dedicated a second academic pathway to mathematics at the Justus-Liebig University Gießen. His affection for the subject becomes apparent in works of his like “Abendland” (Hanser, 2007), in which he refers to the Austrian mathematician Leopold Vietoris. Among his many accolades he was also awarded the Austrian Cross for Science and Art in 2016 – an appropriate appreciation for the traveller between the spheres of science and art.

Foto: (c) Hassiepen

Andrea Grill

“You can dance even if you can’t dance. You can also understand something and not understand it at the same time – think of the evolution of the human brain, while living with one. It is in this paradox that dancing and scientific thinking touch each other. Bouncing back and forth between knowing and not knowing is the daily business of researchers. And from these movements spring, for me, the joy and strength of scientific research. Try it out, in the sober environment of a lab and on the dance floor of a ballroom.”

Our eighth testimonial, Andrea Grill, works as an author and evolutionary biologist. She teaches at the University of Vienna and Salzburg, where she researches – among other things – how anthropogenic changes in landscape can alter the behavior of butterflies. In her book “Butterflies” she tries to make that factual knowledge available for a broader audience. The book has been translated into several languages and she received several awards for her novels. In the near future her first children’s book about the life of a carnivorous plant will be published by the Vienna publisher Luftschacht Verlag.

Foto (c): privat / Paul Zsolnay Verlag

Julia Ebner

(c) Daniel Novotny

“In times of viral fake news and the online spread of conspiracy theories, we need to ascribe science a new role to prevent a flashback from logos to mythos. Vienna is good at science, Vienna likes to dance – the Vienna Ball of Sciences is combining these two strengths. It shows how much fun it can be to create knowledge instead of ignorance, and to understand complex connections instead of being satisfied with simplified depictions of reality.”

The Austrian Julia Ebner researches extremism and terrorism and is a Research Fellow at the  Institute for Strategic Dialogue in London. In her book “The Rage” she looks at goals, strategies and motivations of extremists. For her research she acquired covert identities and developed conversations with IS- sympathisers and ultranationalists in online chatrooms.

Foto (c) Daniel Novotny

Herbert Edelsbrunner

(c) Paul Pölleritzer

“A great many smart things have been said about the connection between mathematics and music, so I feel justified in keeping this half-a-page personal. That there is mathematics in music has been amply demonstrated, but equally important is the music that is in mathematics. For unfathomable reasons, the path to a practicing mathematician is long and laborious so most of us do not walk it and do not ever experience the beauty that mathematics exudes. It is very much like that of music, sometimes intoxicating and at other times hampered by dissonances. Indeed, at times it seems unclear why the two are not the same, and why we do not yet have a direct mapping between them that does not appeal to feelings and opinions. Pythagoras apparently claimed ‘there is geometry in the humming of the string, there is music in the spacing of the spheres’. Perhaps he wrote these words in a state in which music and sound took on geometric reality in his mind and he could hear the intricate rock formations on Greek islands.

There is a more concrete thought to be mentioned in this context: both mathematics and music are built on unforgiving rules whose violations imply embarrassment or worse. Paradoxically, this opposition helps in the creation of beauty and perfection. We learn faster if our mistakes are told right away and without ambiguity. Beyond these parallels, there are surely deeper connections between mathematics and music that are tied up in areas of the brain that are not yet accessible to scientific investigation.”

Herbert Edelsbrunner is professor at the Institute of Science and Technology Austria. The mathematician is world-wide considered a pioneer in the fields of Computational Geometry and of Computational Topology.  In 2018, Edelsbrunner was honored with the Wittgenstein prize, Austria’s most prestigious scientific award.

Foto (c) Paul Pölleritzer

Hannah Lutz

(c) PhilippStoisits

“The Vienna Ball of Sciences combines several wonderful things: science, research and the fun of a ball night. Since its first edition the ball has established itself as an important counter event to the Akademikerball and is therefore contributing to science not being pocketed by far-right poltics.

Together we can make sure that right-wing fraternities, right extremists and other nationalists will never again gain the upper hand over science and society. Let us dance, especially against those who repeatedly want to spread their hate in the Hofburg!”

Hannah Lutz is chairwoman for the Austrian Students Association, ÖH. She is studying law at the University of Vienna and was the top candidate for the VSStÖ, Socialist Students of Austria. In the years before she was already a mandatary at the ÖH Wien and spokeswoman for the VSStÖ.

(c) Philipp Stoisits

Karl-Heinz Wagner

(c) Karl Ranger

„The vision of combining science with a societal event like a ball is showing its fruits for the fifth time in form of the Vienna Ball of Sciences. Science and research have not only modernized their methods: more and more young researchers are living their passion of discovering new things and passing on their knowledge to the public. It makes me particularly joyful that part of my research will be presented at this year’s ball in form of regional and qualitative products. Enjoy your night and bon appétit!

Univ.-Prof.Mag.Dr. Karl-Heinz Wagner is Professor for nutritional science and food quality at the University of Vienna. His research focuses on the links between nutrition, health and aging. At this year’s ball – that much be said – he will be introducing superfoods in an interactive way.

Foto: (c) Klaus Ranger

Ursula Hemetek

Ursula Hemetek (c) Doris Piller

„The Viennese ball tradition is without any doubt part of this city. Different communities make use of this to ensure their feeling of belonging and to transport messages. These communities are of interest to ethnomusicologists because we can interpret their musical demonstrations and ascribe meaning to them. At different balls you will also hear different performances, so it becomes a unique emblem. But you can also find common patterns in the sequence of every ball: the introduction, Quadrille and midnight events are just some examples. The Vienna Ball of Science probably still has to develop its musical identity since something like this takes years. But there is definitely not a lack of corporate identity within the scientific community – and that should stay that way.”

Ursula Hemetek is head of the Department of Folk Music Research and Ethnomusicology at the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna. 2018 she was awarded the prestigious Wittgenstein Prize for her research in the field of minorities within ethnomusicology.

Foto: Doris Piller

Franz Kerschbaum

(c) Karl Leitner

“Maybe Nicolaus Copernicus already mentioned in 1543 in his most important work ‘On the Revolutions of the Celestial Spheres’ a connection between the movements of our planets in the solar system and those during the Viennese Waltz? ‘Alles Walzer’, meaning ‘let the waltz begin’, or rather the reverse waltz is also true for our eight planets. Thus, as an astronomer, I am all the more pleased to be taking place in an elated, colorful, vibrant, moving and also important Vienna Ball of Sciences 2019.”

Univ.Prof.Dr. Franz Kerschbaum (Foto © Karl Leitner) is working as an astrophysicist at the University of Vienna. His research focuses on space instrumentation, late stages of stellar evolution and the History of Astronomy. The communication and enthusiasm for astronomy and science in general, is one of his main objectives. To do that, he also engages in excellent photography, as this gallery shows:

Lilli Hollein

„Design – for most people – means creation in the sense of arranging something in a nice way. That might be the right thing for a ball night but on the intersection of science and design, it certainly isn’t all about decor. Research and experiments can unify this field, within design and science these people are helping our advancement. Interdisciplinary exchange can spark our imagination – and something that happens in three-four time on the dancefloor.“

Lilli Hollein is the festival director of the renowned Vienna Design Week. Since 1996 she is also works as a curator, author and journalist in the area of architecture and design. Together with Tulga Beyerle und Thomas Geisler she founded the group „Neigungsgruppe Design“. They organise conferences at the University of Applied Arts Vienna and brought the Vienna Design Week to life.

Foto: ©Katharina Gossow

Start of ticket sales 2019

Strong Increase in reservations – 2019 more space available in the townhall

Vienna (OTS) – Starting Monday, the 12th of November 2018, tickets will be available in the webshop for the 5th Vienna Ball of Science, which will be taking place on the 26th of January 2019. Due to the strong increase in reservations, Oliver Lehmann, chair of the organising commmittee, is expecting a high demand for tickets; especially since the semester break is only starting one week after the ball. Tickets can now be bought at www.wissenschaftsball.at/shop/. Prices stay the same with €90 for regular tickets and € 25 for students. Tables and boxes can be bought under the same link as well.

The most important novelty of this year’s ball is the extended space available. From 2019 the ball will be taking place on the ground and the first floor: In addition to the ballrooms, the so-called “Volkshalle” will also become part of the “experimental arrangement of the genious mind and the good taste”. In doing so, about 4000 guests can be accommodated.

The rectors, presidents and directors of all nine Viennese universities, five private universities, five technical colleges (Fachhochschulen), as well as the ÖAW (Austrian Academy of Sciences), IIASA (International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis) and IST (Institute of Science and Technology) will constitute the honorary committee and will therefore underline the relevance of Vienna as one of the most important sites for universities and science in Central Europe. Highlights of the programme will be announced throughout the next weeks, as well as the testimonials from the area of science, economics, culture and society.

One of the main partners of the ball is the refugee initiative “more”, brought to life by “Universities Austria” (uniko), constituted by all Austrian universities, the National Union of Students, Caritas, Diakonie Austria, the Federation of Austrian Industries (IV) and other institutions. Revenues from the ball casino – sponsored by Casinos Austria, one of the ball’s partners – will be made available for the initiative “more”.

Advertising activities are underway. The homepage www.wissenschaftsball.at will be the main source of information for the ball. Posters, which were again designed by Lilly Panholzer, are already decorating the city.  Social media campaigns have begun at @SciBall.

As in the previous year,  Austrian Airlines and Austria Trend Hotels are offering special deals and discounts for international guests and visitors from other Austrian states. Packages have already been booked by foreign universities and are underlining the high interest for the ball. Oliver Lehmann, chair of the organising committee:  “Last year we have been sold out before christmas. Due to the late start of the semester break and the additional space, we are counting on an even higher number of prospective guests. The Vienna Ball of Science has become an indispensable part of the ball season.”

Queries & contact:

Oliver Lehmann | Chair of the Organising Committee | E-Mail: lehmann@wissenschaftsball.at | Homepage: www.wissenschaftsball.at | Facebook, Twitter and Instagram: @SciBall

Mag. Alfred Strauch | Media spokesman of the Executive City Councillor for Cultural Affairs and Science | Email: alfred.strauch@wien.gv.at

Foto: R.Ferrigato / © SciBall