Big Picture Talks

Aiming to see the Big Picture

With the "Bic Picture" talk series organized by VISESS PhD students, the doctoral school aims to present current topics of scientific and societal interest to the wider scientific community and interested public. There are up to three Big Picture events per year, supported by school funds. Teams of PhD students of all three branches of the doctoral school plan and host the invitation of (international) experts on interdisciplinary topics, also deciding about the topics. | Insta: @sebastianvoltmer

Registration closed. Many thanks to the more than 80 participants!

The current worldwide situation has once more shown that the (mis-)representation of science in the media has the potential to impact and shape public opinions.

This illustrates even more the necessity and value of proper science outreach work.

However, especially for young researchers, there are many open questions about science communication and public outreach, such as:

  • Which impact do we and should we as (young) researchers have on public opinions?
  • What are the current and future social challenges for science communication and how can we overcome them?
  • How can we communicate science in a fair and inclusive way, regarding social inequalities?
  • How should we deal with mis-representation of science in the media?
  • How can we communicate understandably while being scientifically correct? 
  • Which opportunities does science communication offer for (young) researchers?


This meeting shall provide an interdisciplinary discussion platform for both young and experienced researchers and science communicators to address these and other important questions. Participation is free and open for all levels of experience.

Day 1: Influence of science communication on society: Modern challenges and responsibilities
Welcoming words by Vice-Rector Jean-Robert Tyran and VISESS director Franz Kerschbaum


Joao Alves, Faculty vice dean (FGGA), professor of stellar astrophysics (University of Vienna)

Florian Freistetter, Science Busters, blogger, book author

Karoline Iber, Director of the Children’s Office (Kinderbüro, University of Vienna)

Christian Köberl, Former director of NHM Wien, professor of planetary geology (University of Vienna)

Elisabeth Oberzaucher, Science Busters, behavioural biologist (University of Vienna)


Moderation: Christine Ackerl


Day 2: Opportunities and obstacles for young researchers: Why and how to participate in public outreach?
Welcoming words by Vice-Rector Jean-Robert Tyran and VISESS director Franz Kerschbaum


Ruth Grützbauch, Founder and head of Public Space

Caroline Haidacher, Responsible for ORF broadcast Universum History 

Gabor Herbst-Kiss, Head of digital planetarium, NHM Wien

Hanna Möller,  Public Relations, University of Vienna

Stefan Wallner, Astronomy To Go, Outreach for Department of Astrophysics (University of Vienna)

Heidi Weinhäupl,  Faculty communication (FGGA, University of Vienna)


Moderation: Daniel Raithofer


Big Picture 1: The exoplanet revolution

Professor Didier Queloz (Nobel laureate 2019)

University of Cambridge, University of Geneva

Over the past 25 years, spectacular discoveries of exoplanet systems have modified our perspective on planet formation as a whole and, more specifically, our place in the Universe.  Nobel Laureate Didier Queloz, who discovered the first exoplanet in 1995, will introduce the audience to the diversity of exoplanets and describe what we have learnt about their structure and formation mechanisms.  Based on recent work about the origin of life on Earth, he is going to present new perspectives about the minimum conditions required to form the chemical building blocks of life. In this talk he will also explore a possible pathway to detect Earth-like systems amenable for future work on the origins of life.

Curriculum Vitae of Prof. Queloz

The event was planned for Friday, September 25, 2020, but had to be postponed to next year due to the current COVID-19-situation. We will inform you about the new date!

Didier Queloz, 2019 (privat)