Why Communicating Science and to whom?

The future of planet Earth is shaped by its citizens. How can we stand together and do what is best for our future and that of our home planet? As individual and as part of the organization Astronomers for Planet Earth, I see profound opportunities in the unique astronomical perspective to facilitate and support the ongoing transformation towards a fruitful, responsible, and sustainable future.

I am convinced that the present and future global challenges demand scientists to engage in the public debate and to build bridges to society. As scientists, we have the privilege to understand the complexity of global challenges and to evaluate associated risks. We are also a fundamental part of society. Our job is not only to expand the horizons of knowledge but also to make the achievements of humankind accessible to the community. It is a natural desire of humans to ask questions, but also to understand the answers and be part of the process. This can only work, if scientists are trusted. I believe that open communication and in particular public engagement should become a key part of the education and future careers of scientists.

A vivid, critical, and lucid exchange between fellow scientists is absolutely necessary to maintain and continuously improve on the quality of research, to tackle the complex and interconnected problems of the globalized world, and to allow research results being trusted. In that context, I am a strong believer of interdisciplinary, transdisciplinary, and multidisciplinary research.

As the COVID-19 pandemic hauntingly demonstrates, it is not always very easy to make the right decisions. What is the right decision anyway? It is getting more and more difficult for society to form an opinion given the overflow of information. It is not only the responsibility of us as researchers to produce knowledge, but to take on a guiding role in the complex web of the "infodemic" (a term initiated by the WHO). We have the potential to assist society to make decisions in every-day life that are based on science. This also requires us scientists to speak up and intervene whenever needed. Keeping a healthy balance between information and understandability is certainly a challenge. I am keen to meet this challenge together with my colleagues.

Credit: Nils Pickert

Public Talks and Events

Public talks, events, and unique experiences are one way to bridge the gaps between science and society. As a scientist, I want to take on a guiding role and allow deep insights into cutting-edge research. I want everyone to understand, feel, and experience the wonders of science and also the complexity of science, which plays an important role in all our daily lives. For this to happen, I strongly believe in mutual trust and unique connections.


Credit: Nils Pickert

Science Slams

Accelerated developments in fundamental research require elaborate science-communication techniques. “Science-Slams” are highly effective. The basic aim is to make research approachable and relatable. This approach should remove barriers between science and society, facilitate trust in science, and foster interdisciplinary research. Science-Slams also help us scientists to improve our skills to pitch our work.

Outreach Projects

My intrinsic motivation behind dedicated outreach projects is participation. Science needs to be relatable and experienceable in order to build sustainable bridges between science and society and in order to foster trust in science.

  • 06/2023 — Interactive exhibit "The World under the Microscope" dealing with food (insecurity) and Planetary Health, on display at the Klimacamp Munich, June 18 - 21, 2023
  • 01/2023 — Interactive exhibit "The World under the Microscope" dealing with food (insecurity) and Planetary Health, on display at the Science Communication Lab, Deutsches Museum, January 6 - February 28, 2023
  • 04/2020 — Support of the final assignment of Pierre Rottmair, student of communication design, with an interview. What is the future of humankind when facing the long-term effects of climate change? Can space exploration provide a plan B? After consulting with colleagues from the space exploration department at ESA, I provided answers to these and many more (scientific) questions, also providing my personal take as astronomer. His final work, the illustrated information magazine titled "Millionen Lichtjahre von Wiesbaden entfernt", contains an exciting balance between hard facts and science fiction, as well as our interview.
  • 2014-2017 — Master Classes in Astroparticle Physics: Fundamentals of Astroparticle Physics, live experiment with a nebular chamber, extraction of real data taken with the Pierre-Auger Observatory
  • 10/2017 — Feeding the Instagram Channel of the Univ. of Erlangen-Nürnberg (#FAUtakeover) with impressions from our daily work at the astronomical institute (Dr. Remeis Observatory)
  • 06/2017 — Project with the faculty for design (Univ. of Würzburg): design of astrophysical outreach material
  • 02/2016 — Project interfacing sciences and arts with the school of design (Munich, Germany): design of outreach material on orders of magnitudes in the Universe and on Earth; free art- and photographic works on the basis of scientific information provided in an informal Q/A session.
“Science is the process that takes us from confusion to understanding.” (Brian Greene)
Image credit: DESY, Science Communication Lab