A special conference year deserves very special hosts
The 27th International Planetarium Society conference is destined to be very special as it lies in the middle of the centennial celebration of the first projection planetarium. Berlin, a truly special city of reunification, along with Jena, the city where the projection planetarium was born, are therefore bidding together to organize IPS 2024. We believe that hosting will be a wonderful opportunity for all delegates to learn, network and grow as planetarians. It will also be an opportunity to discover Europe, and the country where our profession was born, and to work together to guide us forward into the next 100 years.
We believe that the planetariums and astronomical facilities of Jena and Berlin embody everything that the planetarium field and community represent – innovation, accessibility, and a passion to inspire critically thinking lifelong learners from all over the world. Participants will have the opportunity to immerse themselves in the history and innovation of the planetarium world in Jena, and come together and work as one community in the undivided city where everyone from all over the world is welcome to be themselves.
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Planetariums have transformed into palaces of wonder, knowledge, and even entertainment over the last 100 years. They are a place where everyone is welcome marvel at the sky and our universe (and even other subjects like the human body and aquatic life). It doesn’t matter who you are, where you are from, what you look like, and what you believe; the sky belongs to everyone.
We have chosen the theme United Under the Sky for IPS 2024. We feel it truly sets the tone for not just the conference, but the next 100 years of planetaria. We planetarians are united in our common goal of sharing our passion for astronomy with others. When we work together with our colleagues all over the world, we see the most success. It is in sharing our diversity that planetariums and planetarians are able to shine.
The sky is what brings us together, but United Under the Sky also has another meaning for us here in Berlin and Germany. 2024 will also be the 35th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. For 40 years, Berlin was a divided city and Germany a divided country. It did not matter if you were in the East or the West; the beautiful sky was still something that could be shared. We feel that bringing everyone together from all over the world (East and West) here in Berlin and Jena during the Centennial of the Planetarium and the 35 Year Anniversary of the beginning of reunification makes perfect sense. We are indeed, United Under the Sky.
During the IPS 2024 Conference, it is our goal to enable participants to explore new and different ways to work together. Naturally, we will continue to learn about best practices and new technology. However, we want everyone in our community to be able to branch out and make new connections around the world to create the best programs for our planetarium visitors.
WHY BERLIN AND JENA?
Berlin is a city dedicated to science, culture and education. Berlin’s startup tech scene has really boomed over the last few years, bringing the cream of the crop from all over the world to live in Berlin. Furthermore, many prestigious and world-renowned institutions and research organizations are in Berlin. This includes the Robert-Koch-Institut, Humboldt University, several Fraunhofer-Institutes and Leibniz-Association research facilities, the Max-Plank-Institut, and the European Institute of Innovation and Technology.
On top of the afore mentioned scientific facilities and the three planetariums and two observatories of SPB, Berlin is also home to the Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt (DLR; German Aerospace Center), which partners regularly with the SPB.
Berlin is also home to the Long Night of Science, Long Night of Museums, and the Long Night of Astronomy celebrations.
Berlin is truly a place of informal learning as well, boasting almost 200 museums around the city. Museums in Berlin range from traditional history and art museums and zoos to pop culture museums like the David Hasselhoff museum.
Finally, it is impossible to talk about Berlin and not point out the endless arts opportunities. Berlin is home to two major and two minor opera houses, a symphony and many theaters.
Berlin lies on at 52.6° Northern Latitude, which means in June, we have very long days – you can enjoy natural light until about 22:00 (about 17 hours of sunlight per day)! June is typically when the weather starts warming up a little more in Berlin. Temperatures are typically around 17°C (62.6°F) in the early morning and at night, while during the day it can reach at least 22°C (71.6°F). Berlin does occasionally experience heat waves in June, but the really hot weather doesn’t usually start until later in the summer. Usually, in June, it is quite sunny. However, there are usually about 14 days of rain within the month. The good news is that these showers are often brief (offering the perfect amount of time to grab a cup of coffee).
Berlin has much to offer when it comes to spare time. Of course, there are the major tourist sites like the TV Tower, Brandenburg Gate, and East Side Gallery. There are also many hidden gems, four opera houses and many other music venues, and lots of museums to explore as well. We recommend checking out VisitBerlin’s guide. The guide has a search option, which allows you to narrow down your options to fit your taste perfectly! https://www.visitberlin.de/en/sightseeing-in-berlin
Jena is home to the birthplace of our community, our profession, our vocation. The first projection planetarium was created in Jena and started an amazing 100-year journey that has brought us all together. If you ever wanted to perform some planetarium genealogy, Jena is the place to go!
Jena is also home to scholars and scientists as well. Students come from all over the world to study at the university and colleges in Jena. The schools offer a broad spectrum of subjects, but specialize in Applied Sciences.
Jena is very much a city with small town charm. You will find regular markets in the square for produce and hand made goods, as well as excellent gastronomy throughout the city. The white asparagus is definitely a Jena must… as well as a Thüringen Bratwurst! Even just walking through the heart of town, you will find yourself completely immersed in the culture of the city.
Jena is situated about 163m above sea level. The climate in Jena is warm and moderate. Jena has a considerable amount of rainfall during the year. This also applies to the driest month. The climate in this Jena is classified as Cfb (warm and temperate, fully humid with a war summer), according to the Köppen-Geiger classification. June is the month with the highest precipitation of the year with 77 mm of precipitation. The sun does come out in June as well, though, and temperatures can be as low as 12°C (53.6°F) over night or as high as 23°C (73.4°F) during the day.
On nice days, there several options for recreation in and around Jena. There are fabulous hiking trails into the different mountains that surround the city (usually with a Biergarten and Restaurant at the top). If you would like to stay in the city, there are also public thematic city tours (culinary, musical, philosophical) which can also be booked as group offers up to 25 people.
If the weather turns rainy, there are still many things to enjoy inside! Jena has several nice museums and historic buildings that can be visited, such as Imaginata, House of romance Jena, and the Deutsches Optisches Museum.
For those itching to get away for the day, there are places near Jena that make perfect day trips. We suggest exploring the following:
- Leuchtenburg Castle
- Saalfeld Fairy Grottoes
- Heidecksburg Palace
- Naumburg’s Cathedral of St Peter and St Paul
The central location, or home base, of the conference in Berlin is planned to be at the Estrel Berlin Congress Center and Hotel. The Estrel Congress Center is Berlin’s top event location, hosting more than 1,600 events each year, and the Estrel Berlin is Germany's largest and foremost hotel of the capital. Located on the world-famous Sonnenallee, Estrel Berlin is situated perfectly between all three of the Stiftung Planetarium Berlin sites. Connected to the S-Bahn, it is an easy train ride to any of the other conference locations in the city. It also has views of the water with pleasant walking paths, a dock for boat tours, and several different restaurants and bars that can meet any taste buds’ demands.
Sites of the Stiftung Planetarium Berlin
The Stiftung Planetarium Berlin (Berlin Planetarium Foundation) was established on July 1, 2016 and unites the three astronomical facilities of Berlin for the first time in the history of the city.
The houses of the foundation are modern bridges to the cosmos, serving around 400,000 visitors each year. As a joint institution, they are at the top in terms of technology and content and are an essential part of Berlin's educational and cultural offering.
The Zeiss Planetarium Jena is the world's oldest and longest serving large planetarium, opening its doors to the public on July 18, 1926. The 23-meter dome with 260 seats boasts the beautiful skies of both its opto-mechanical projector and its beautiful new fulldome system. When not enjoying programs in the dome, guests can enjoy visiting with each other in the Bauersfield Restaurant and Biergarten.
The planetarium theater is fully equipped with modern planetarium and audio-visual technology. All other supporting rooms of the planetarium are perfect for hosting conferences and have all modern A/V equipment as well.
Schedule and Program Description
Full Conference Schedule at a Glance
You will notice in the schedule that there is ample time for networking, getting to know new colleagues, and time for special interest groups to meet too. We are also offering language support and mentoring to help facilitate discussions and break the ice for those who may not feel comfortable doing so on their own.
IPS 2024 Program Description
The conference will begin on the evening of Sunday, 16 June 2024 and end the evening of Thursday, 20 June 2024. There are pre-conference activities the week leading up to the conference, and post-conferences tours the Friday and Saturday after the conference. All participants will receive a week pass for the public transportation system in Berlin.
Special Activities, Tours and Trips
The pre-conference activities take place from 12-16 June 2024, and begin where the projection planetarium was born: in Jena, Germany. The festivities start with the famous Fulldome Festival, held at a special in 2024 for IPS attendees!
Mid-conference tours and exciting post conference tours round off the IPS 2024 program.
Participant Costs, Travel and Lodging
We know IPS can be a large financial undertaking. Therefore, we have tried to keep the costs for registration as low as possible for attendees. For information registration and participant costs, please see the pdf available here: Participant Costs
Travel & Visa
Germany, as a member state of the Schengen Area, permits the nationals of many countries to enter the European Union Schengen area (including Germany) without a visa. EU citizens may of course enter Germany with just an identification card.
For information about visa as well as travelling to and within Germany, please see the pdf available here: Visa and Travel
It is our hope that attendees feel at home in Jena in Berlin. We have looked for comfortable lodging options at varying prices. For information about lodging and pricing, please see the pdf available here: Lodging
Accessibility, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion
The goal of the Berlin and Jena teams is for the IPS 2024 conference to be as accessible to everyone as possible. If any participants have any special needs or concerns that are not addressed here, we are happy to find a solution!
IPS Code of Conduct
Everyone has the right to attend the IPS Conference and feel welcome and comfortable in the environment. Nobody should feel bullied, harassed, retaliated against, marginalized or excluded. This is extremely important to the teams in Berlin and Jena. We want EVERYONE to feel welcome, respected and included. We take the IPS Commitment to the code of conduct seriously. Therefore, as with previous IPS conferences, delegates will be required to sign a statement guaranteeing that they have read and will comply with the IPS Code of Conduct. The Code of Conduct will be respected at all times, and if there are any grievances, we ask that they be taken to the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee as stated in the Code of Conduct.
Germany welcomes you!
Germany is a very safe country for everyone to visit. Ranked 16th out of 163 countries on the Global Peace Index, one does not have to constantly look over their shoulder or feel scared while walking around, even at night. Germany’s crime rate is at its lowest since reunification in 1990. The people you meet in Germany are friendly, helpful and happy to help a visitor or fellow citizen in need. It is very easy to travel through Germany by train and enjoy the scenery, and not have to worry about your safety from one city to the next.
Family can join you
Mothers are always welcome and should never have to feel torn between career and their baby. We have made arrangements for quiet areas at all locations as well as if a calmer environment is needed for a while. Nursing is always allowed no matter the location, however, lactation rooms will always be available if a mother would prefer her own space.
Children are always welcome to join their parent(s) in sessions as long as they are not being disruptive. Children may have a nametag as a special conference attendee if desired by the child and parent.
Children ages 3-12 can be enrolled in the Space Explorer’s Day Camp, which will take place at the Estrel Hotel and Conference Center. The enrollment cost* includes morning snack, lunch, afternoon snack, and dinner, as well as the cost of all materials and childcare. Children will explore a different theme every day, work together over the week to create a project, and of course spend time in the INTENSE Mobile Science Theater – available just for them! Space Explorers will be grouped with like ages and by language while receiving instruction but are encouraged to work together just like astronauts aboard the ISS. Meals and playtime are open for the entire group to let lose together.