Does science always have to be sensational and/or educational?

How much can science communication be simplified without lying?

We invite doctoral candidates from the Vienna Doctoral School in Physics (VDSP) from the University of Vienna and the Vienna School of Mathematics (VSM) to join us for an interdisciplinary discussion on science communication.

In-person event

Tuesday, 22 March 2022

ESI, Boltzmanngasse 9A, 1090 Vienna

Registration period: 1 - 15 March 2022.

16.30 Entrance and 3G check
16.50 Intro
17.00 Start of discussion/live-stream

Questions for discussion

“We have lied to you, and we will do it again!”

This is the introduction to a video about science communication posted on the YouTube Channel ‘Kurzgesagt’. In many ways, it highlights the challenges of science communication!
Think about your last research presentation: How much did you have to simplify—or even “lie”—by skipping full details in order to reach the audience?

Scientific findings are complex and even uncertain. But some might still be relevant to the public. Thus we need strategies to present scientific discoveries, despite those challenges.

Science nowadays is often communicated to the broad public via Youtube, Podcasts, TikTok and social media. To reach as many people as possible, content is often sensational and shortened. Fake news is spread on the same platforms with the same tricks and it can be hard for users to differentiate proper science and alternative facts.

In this event, we are organising a panel discussion with a professor, a journalist, an EdTech-startup founder and a podcaster about the challenges of communicating science to a general audience.

In particular, we would like to discuss questions such as

  • How can a consumer distinguish “communicated science” from fake news?

  • How much can you simplify science communication without lying?

  • Does science communication need to be sensational?

  • Does real science always have to be educational?

  • Is real science boring?

We are hoping to tackle these and similar questions from perspectives of various communication strategies, including “conservative” written form, modern approaches via social media and efforts by academic institutions.



Michael Drmota, TU Vienna

Professor for Discrete Mathematics at the Institute of Discrete Mathematics and Geometry, member of TUForMath, a forum promoting the influence of Mathematics to a broad audience, where he is responsible for science and overall coordination.

Jeanette Gehlert, Mandelbrot Talks

Physics student working in materials science research and the host of the "Mandelbrot Talks" podcast, where she holds feature-length interviews with scientists from various fields to let broader audience learn about their work

Karim Saad, ClassNinjas

Founder of the mathematical e-learning app “ClassNinjas”, working in the tech and media industry for more than 15 years including activities for Red Bull and ORF.

Tanja Traxler, derStandard

Head of the science department for the daily paper “derStandard”, graduated in Physics at the University of Vienna and author of award-winning popular scientific books.

Moderated by Florian Aigner, TU Vienna alumni in Physics, scientific editor at TU Vienna, columnist for the daily paper “Kurier” and free-lance journalist.


Due to regulations by state and university, only a limited number of seats is available and is treated on a “First Come, First Served” basis with priority given to first year PhD students. Currently the following rules apply: "3G rule" (vaccinated, recovered, tested) and FFP2 mask requirement. The regulations might be subject to change.

Depending on the number of registrations, we may also stream the event with the possibility to contribute questions to the discussion. If necessary, given the current COVID situation, the event will be shifted to an online-only setting.

Registration is now closed.

Organizing team

Organized by VDSP students Anne-Catherine de la Hamette, Viktoria Sophia Kabel, Ksenija Simonović and VSM students Eva-Maria Hainzl, Stephan Pfannerer-Mittas, Steffen Plunder, Denis Fabio Polly, Jakob Reiffenstein, Michael Sedlmayer.