Café & Kosmos in Munich

Bringing the Universe to the Pub

Munich and its surroundings belong to the most important scientific regions of Germany. In astronomy and astrophysics alone, there are no less than five great research institutes and organisations, as well as several other research groups, which try, in different and complementary ways, to understand the Universe.

For many of us, research is “far away” and happens behind the closed doors of laboratories.  Admittedly, there are many science magazines in print or on television and most newspapers have a page about science, but the contact between science and the public is often very indirect. Many scientific institutions organise Open Days, which are a great success, but these take place only once a year at most. Public conferences on scientific themes are also often very successful, but they generally follow the same academic scheme: the scientist speaks and the public listens. Direct exchanges between scientists and the public take seldom place.

With the idea of “Café and Kosmos”, ESO and its partners want to bring researchers and non-scientists together, and to do so where people live: in the centre of the city of Munich, and in a pub, a place where communication traditionally takes place: people meet, share their thoughts, discuss business, and debate about big and small things. With Café & Kosmos, we want to give people the chance to speak with scientists about fascinating scientific themes.

Café & Kosmos is a joint initiative between ESO, the Excellence Cluster, and the Max-Planck Institutes for Physics, Astrophysics, and extraterrestrial Physics.

The concept

We want to discuss themes from astrophysics, cosmology and particle physics, and have chosen themes that are also very exciting for non-scientists, such as “what are black holes?”, “what do we know about dark matter?”, “why did CERN build the LHC?”, “what do we know about planets outside our solar system?”, and so on.

These and other topics will be discussed in the relaxed atmosphere of a pub once a month on a weekday. The duration of the discussions will be about one hour.

This format is of course not new: in many cities in the world such events are organised, with great success. In autumn 2009, a pilot scheme took place in Garching, with five events, each attended by about 60 to 70 people. The resonance was excellent and encouraged us to make this a regular event in the centre of Munich.

The first of these events took place on 31 May 2010 and then on 5 July 2010, with themes, respectively, about the Large Hadron Collider and exoplanets. Following this, the discussions will take place every first Monday of the month. Later themes will be announced as soon as possible.

In the past Café and Kosmos took place at Café Jasmin and the Vereinsheim. Since autumn 2014 the Café & Kosmos discussions now take place at the Muffatwerk, Zellstr. 4, 81667 Munich. Entrance is free. The discussions are held in German. For more information on the upcoming events, please visit the official website (in German).

Calendar of events

  • 30 July 2019: "Schwarze Löcher nah und fern" by Prof. Thomas Boller (MPI for Extraterrestrial Physics) Read more
  • 11 June 2019: "Die Entstehung und Verstärkung von Magnetfeldern in Galaxien" by Ulrich Steinwandel (MPI for Astrophysics and LMU) Read more
  • 14 May 2019: "Die Dunkle Energie und die bechleunigte Ausdehnung des Universums" by Prof. Dr. Jochen Weller (LMU) Read more
  • 17 April 2019: "Wenn Teilchen Wellen reiten: Teilchenbeschleuniger der Zukunft (II) Was kommt nach dem LHC?" by Prof. Dr. Allen Caldwell (MPP) Read more
  • 19 March 2019: "Was kommt nach dem LHC? Die Teilchenbeschleuniger der Zukunft" by Dr. Stefan Kluth (MPP) Read more
  • 12 February 2019: "Das Universum, die Stringtheorie und das Sumpfland" by Dr. Florian Wolf (MPP) Read more
  • 15 January 2019: "Warum scheint die Sonne?" by Prof. Dr. Stefan Schönert (TUM) Read more
  • 18 December 2018: "Strahlung im Weltall – Wie schützen wir Astronauten auf dem Weg zum Mars?" by Dr. Martin J. Losekamm (TUM) Read more
  • 06 November 2018: "Ein Jahr am Südpol: Forschen und Leben im ewigen Eis" by Dr. Martin Wolf (TUM) Read more
  • 09 October 2018: "Planetenbabys gesucht – wie Astronomen versuchen, Planeten bei der Geburt zu beobachten" by Prof. Dr. Til Birnstiel  (LMU) Read more
  • 11 September 2018: "Ein Stern wird rot... und gibt Einstein recht" by Prof. Dr. Susanne Mertens  (MPP) Read more
  • 26 June 2018: "Das Neutrino auf der Waage" by Prof. Dr. Susanne Mertens (MPP) Read more
  • 15 May 2018: "Großbaustelle unter Tage: Wie ein neuer Detektor für Dunkle Materie entsteht" by Dr. Tina Pollmann (TUM) Read more
  • 24 April 2018: "Das Belle II-Experiment: Phänomenen jenseits des Standardmodells auf der Spur" by Prof. Dr. Thomas Kuhr (LMU) Read more
  • 27 March 2018: "Gamma-Astronomie: Der Blick in die Tiefe des Weltalls" by Dr. Martin Will (Max-Planck-Institut für Physik) Read more
  • 20 February 2018: "Und nirgends eine Teflonpfanne: Wissenschaftliche Fragen und Technologie-Entwicklung rund um die Astronomie" by Dr. Frank Grupp (Max-Planck-Institut für extraterrestrische Physik) Read more
  • 16 January 2018: "Lichtspur des Urknalls" by Prof. Simon White (Max-Planck-Insitut für Astrophysik) Read more
  • 19 December 2017: "Neutrinos und der Materieüberschuss - die Suche nach dem neutrinolosen Doppelbetazerfall" by Dr. Béla Majorovits (Max-Planck-Insitut für Physik) Read more
  • 15 November 2017: "Kollidierende Neutronensterne - wie Gold, Platin und Uran entstehen" by Prof. Dr. Hans-Thomas Janka (Max-Planck-Insitut für Astrophysik) Read more
  • 24 October 2017: "Axionen und Mikrowellen: ein neues Experiment zum Nachweis Dunkler Materie" by Stefan Knirck (Max-Planck-Institut für Physik) Read more
  • 04 July 2017: "Interstellare Raumfahrt zu nahen Exoplaneten - ein Traum rückt näher" by Dr. Markus Kissler-Patig (ESO) Read more
  • 20 June 2017: "Wie viele Dimensionen hat unsere Welt?" by Dr. Patrick Vaudrevange (TUMRead more
  • 09 May 2017: "ALMA – das weltgrößte Radio-Observatorium" by Dr. Wolfgang Wild (ESO) Read more
  • 14 March 2017: "Das Weltraum im Labor" by Dr. Vadim Burwitz (Max-Planck-Institut für extraterrestrische PhysikRead more
  • 20 February 2017: "Licht ins Dunkel - experimentelle Suche nach Dunkler Materie" by Dr. Raimund Strauss (Max-Planck-Institut für PhysikRead more
  • 31 January 2017: "Planeten, entstanden aus Gas und Staub" by Prof. Dr. Barbara Ercolano (Ludwig-Maximilians-UniversitätRead more
  • 13 December 2016: "Astronomie vor Kopernikus: Sternkunde in Byzanz" by Alberto Bardi (Ludwig-Maximilians-UniversitätRead more
  • 15 November 2016: "Navigation im Weltraum: Pulsare als kosmische Wegweiser" by Mike Georg Bernhardt (Max-Planck-Institut für extraterrestrische Physik) Read more
  • 10 October 2016: "Gravitationswellen: Beben der Raumzeit" by Ewald Müller (Max Planck Institute for AstrophysicsRead more
  • 20 September 2016: "Dark matters: Ein Einblick in die dunkle Seite des Universums" by Maximilian Totzauer (MPI MPP). Read more
  • 19 July 2016: "Sein oder Nichtsein: Existiert Schrödingers Katze?" by Johannes Kofler (MPI MPQ). Read more
  • 14 June 2016: "Warum gibt es mehr Materie als Antimaterie?" by Björn Garbrecht (TUM). Read more
  • 17 May 2016: "Was uns historische Supernova-Überreste verraten" by Wolfgang Kerzendorf (ESO). Read more
  • 12 April 2016: "Wie heiß war der Urknall?" Read more
  • 8 March 2016: "Top Quarks - zerbrechliche Giganten der Quantenwelt"
  • 2 February 2016: "Die Geheimnisse der Galaxienhaufen"
  • 12 January 2016: "Asteroiden - Gefahr aus dem All"
  • 8 December 2015: "Kein Leben ohne explodierende Sterne"
  • 10 November 2015: "Einblicke in das extreme Universum"
  • 20 October 2015: "Was ist Gegenwart?"
  • 15 September 2015: "Gravitationswellen: Nachhall des frühen Universums"
  • 14 July 2015: "Live-Schaltung zum LHC am CERN: Die Jagd nach neuen Teilchen geht weiter"
  • 12 July 2015: Die dunkle Seite des Universums
  • 16 June 2015: "Wie die Elemente in die Welt kamen"
  • 12 May 2015: "Spuren von Sternexplosionen auf dem Meeresboden"
  • 22 April 2015: "Galaktische Nebelhaufen: Die Könige im Universums-Zoo"
  • 10 March 2015: "Das weltgrößte Fenster zum Himmel"
  • 11 December 2014: "Zündfunke für eine Supernova-Explosion"
  • 18 November 2014: "Wie sieht das Innere der Materie aus?"
  • 21 October 2014: "CRESST — Licht ins Dunkel der Materie"
  • 23 September 2014: "Raumsonde Rosetta — Verabredung mit einem Kometen"
  • 29 July 2014: "Die Suche nach der zweiten Erde"
  • 6 July 2014: "G2 - eine Wolke auf dem Weg ins schwarze Loch"
  • 20 May 2014: "Der Seltsamen Materie auf der Spur"
  • 8 April 2014: "Neutrinos: Die Rätsel der himmlischen Botschafter"
  • 18 March 2014: "Die kosmische Inflation und der Ursprung des Universums"
  • 25 February 2014: "Zwischen den Planeten: Von Asteroiden und Kometen"
  • 14 January 2014: "Stringtheorie und Teilchenphysik"
  • 3 December 2013: "Die Dunkle Energie - immer noch rätselhaft"
  • 12 November 2013: "Black holes: The brightest objects in the Universe" Read more
  • 8 October 2013: "Particle accelerators: the next generation" Read more
  • 19 September 2013: "HETDEX: A look into the nursery of the Universe" Read more
  • 9 July 2013: "The invisible scaffold that supports the Universe" Read more
  • 18 June 2013: "Hooray! We found the Higgs boson. So, what’s next?" Read more
  • 7 May 2013: "Observing the Universe with the Tools of 21st Century Physics" Read more
  • 24 April 2013: "How on Earth could terrestrial life survive for so long?" Read more
  • 05 February 2013: "What is time?" Read more
  • 08 January 2013: "G2: A cloud on its way to the black hole" Read more
  • 13 November 2012: "Galactic storms in the infrared universe" Read more
  • 11 September 2012: "Ultra-cold neutrons to solve the mystery of antimatter" Read more
  • 10 July 2012: "String theory: unde venis et quo vadis?" Read more
  • 12 June 2012: "Technology of the future for new X-ray telescopes". Read more
  • 15 May 2012: "Digging down into the quantum world". Read more
  • 10 April 2012: "The Particle Accelerators of the Future: Larger, Faster, Further". Read more
  • 14 March 2012: "The Sun, Sunspots, and Climate Change". Read more
  • 08 February 2012: "The Extremely Large Telescope". Read more
  • 10 January 2012: "Particle accelerators: In search of new physics". Read more
  • 21 December 2011: "Plasma crystal research on the International Space Station". Read more
  • 8 November 2011: "Mysterious supernovae — secrets of the most powerful cosmic explosions". Read more
  • 11 October 2011: "Dark matter — an underground search for mystery particles". Read more
  • 13 September 2011: "From Ghostly Neutrinos to Active Galactic Nuclei: Latest Results in the Field of Astroparticles". Read more
  • 12 July 2011: "ALMA, the new radio telscope in the desert". Read more
  • 07 June 2011: "Quantum mechanics, on Earth and in space", Dr. Stefan Kluth (Max-Planck Institute for Physics). Read more
  • 10 May 2011: "The Dark Traps of Space-time",  Dr. Andreas Müller (Excellence Cluster Universe, & TUM), at Vereinsheim. Read more
  • 04 April 2011: "What is the Universe?", Dr. Bruno Leibundgut (ESO), at Café Jasmin. Read more
  • 14 March 2011: "The Cosmic Microwave Background — looking back to the ancient history of the Universe", at Café Jasmin. Read more
  • 07 February 2011: "Dark energy - why is the Universe expanding faster and faster?", Prof. Stefan Hofmann (Excellence Cluster Universe), at Café Jasmin. Read more
  • 06 December 2010: "The Secret of Dark Matter", Dr. Georg Raffelt (Max-Planck Institute for Physics), at Café Jasmin. Read more
  • 08 November 2010: "At the heart of the Milky Way", Dr. Stefan Gillessen from the Max-Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics, at Café Jasmin. Read more
  • 04 October 2010: "How large is the Universe?", Dr. Wolfram Freudlin from ESO, at Café Jasmin. Read more
  • 06 September 2010: "String Theory",  Prof. Ilka Brunner & Marco Baumgartl, from the Universe Cluster, at Café Jasmin. Read more
  • 02 August 2010: "Black Holes", by Stefan Gillesen from MPE, at Café Jasmin.
  • 05 July 2010: “Are we alone in the Universe?”, Markus Kissler-Patig from ESO, at Café Jasmin.
  • 31 May 2010: “The Big Bang in the Tunnel”, Stefan Stonjek from the Max-Planck Institute for Physics, at Café Jasmin.



Mathias Jäger
ESO, Garching
Tel: +49 176 62397500

Hannelore Hämmerle
Max-Planck-Institut für extraterrestrische Physik
Tel: +49 89 30000 3980

Barbara Wankerl
Max-Planck-Institut für Physik
Tel: +49 89 32354-292

Petra Riedl
Technische Universität München
Tel:+49 89 35831 7105



"The Big Bang in the Tunnel" was the first event of the Café & Kosmos series, which took place on 31 May 2010. The speaker was Stefan Stonjek from the Max Planck Institute for Physics.