Science Year 2023 – Our Universe

"Our Universe" is the motto of the Science Year 2023.

The Science Years have been in existence for more than 20 years and are a joint initiative of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and "Wissenschaft im Dialog" (WiD) to promote exchange between research and society.

In 2023, the focus was put on getting people excited about astronomy and linking age-old questions of humanity with current research: Are we alone in the cosmos? What makes our Earth a habitable planet? What are black holes?

A wide variety of events and formats were designed to appeal to the general public – from kindergarten children and families to young people and researchers – as well as to multipliers in science, education, politics and the media.

On this page, you can find information about the events of the Science Year in which the AIP participated.


14 July - December 2023: Open air exhibition "Beam me up, Potsdam! Once to the Milky Way and back"

The exhibition was located in the center of Potsdam, at "Alter Markt", and will be moved to the Volkspark. Here you can find pdf files of the stelae and links to the accompanying podcasts (in German):

1 Milky Way and spiral arms: pdf, Podcast
2 Black holes: pdf, Podcast
3 Solar system: pdf, Podcast
4 Interstellar medium: pdf, Podcast
5 Binary stars: pdf, Podcast
6 Stars and stellar clusters: pdf, Podcast
7 Dark matter: pdf, Podcast
8 Gravitational waves: pdf, Podcast

Credit: Questacon

16th - 28th September 2023: Mars sphere in Potsdam

The planet Mars was visiting the city of Potsdam in the form of a work of art from 16 to 28 September. The ceremonial opening took place on Saturday, 16 September at 5:30 pm in the St. Nicholas Church. The event started with a panel discussion titled “The Dream of Mars – Gods, Dust and Martians” and was then graced by organ music. Lieutenant Colonel Dr Harald Potempa from the Bundeswehr Centre for Military History and Social Sciences, religious scholar Prof. Dr Johann Ev. Hafner from the University of Potsdam, Dr Janine Fohlmeister from the Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics Potsdam (AIP) and moderator Thomas Prinzler were present at the opening. Afterwards, the seven-metre, illuminated Mars sphere could be seen during opening hours Monday to Saturday from 9.30 a.m. to 5.30 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m., in the St. Nicholas Church until 28 September.

For more information, see The red planet on tour in Potsdam

Photo of the starry sky with the Milky Way

3 – 14 June 2023: Theme week in the Bildungsforum "Our Universe"


The MS Wissenschaft

Credit: Retusche: Simon Esser / WiD

9 - 28 May 2023: MS Wissenschaft in Berlin und Umgebung

The science ship "MS Wissenschaft" started its journey in Berlin and docked around Potsdam. Also on board: an exhibit of the AIP on lights of the universe!

25 May 2023, 2 - 5 pm: Meet the Scientist & presentation of the AIP exhibit in Ketzin, with Dr. Iris Traulsen, Dr. Christian Vocks und Dr. Peter Weilbacher,

More information:

Credit: BMBF/Wissenschaftsjahr 2023. Bundesfoto, Christina Czybik

17 - 21 May, 2023: Roadshow "Universe on Tour" in Potsdam, Luisenplatz

The roadshow "Universe on Tour" stopped at 15 locations throughout Germany with a mobile planetarium. It was accompanied by an activating exhibition that provided information about the importance of light as an information carrier and the impact of light pollution on the environment, the population and astronomy. Guests could broaden their horizons about the starry sky through participatory event formats and engaged with the facets of the topic of "light". The AIP contributed content for the planetarium show and was on location with scientists on Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday.

18 May 2023, 8 pm: Public lecture by Prof. Dr. Christoph Pfrommer: Fascination galaxy clusters – the biggest collapsed objects in the universe" (in German)

More information:

Bettina Stark-Watzinger opens this year's Year of Science.

25.01.2023: Opening

Opening event of the Science Year 2023 – Our Universe at the Futurium Berlin, with extensive programme. A recording of the event can be found here: live stream - recording.

Last update: 22. January 2024