Suggestions for Sightseeing
The science campus at the Telegraphenberg is a famous historical site. For example, the Michelson building was the first astrophysical institute of the world (build in 1879). In its basement, the famous Michelson experiment (1881; interferometer experiment intended to detect the existence of the luminiferous aether, finally leading to Einstein's theory of special relativity) was first performed. Moreover, the first registering of seismic waves of a faraway earthquake were done (Ernst Rebeur-Paschwitz, 1889). The Great Refractor, close to the Michelson building hosts the 4th largest refracting telescope of the world (build 1899). Here, the interstellar medium (cosmic dust) was discovered first (Johannes Hartmann, 1904). The Einstein tower is located behind the Great Refractor. It was the most important solar observatory in the first half of the 19th century and is a testimony of expressionist architecture (build by Erich Mendelsohn, 1921). It was built to validate Einstein's relativity theory (Erwin Freundlich, Albert Einstein). The Helmert tower was the reference point of the Prussian geodetic network and in the Helmert building the international gravitational constant (Potsdam's gravity value) was defined for long time. Close to the Süring house, a weather station collects data for one of the longest weather time series of the world (measuring since 1893 without any gaps). The campus contains also important new buildings, like the one for the PIK, which is an energetically highly innovative building, hosting a supercomputer that was one of the 400 fastest supercomputers of the world.
When coming to Potsdam for the conference, you should use this opportunity to visit some of the further wonderful places in this city.
Close to the Telegraphenberg, you can visit the Palais Barberini, a reconstructed Classicist Baroque palace. It contains temporary art exhibitions from the Old Masters to contemporary art, presenting international and famous works. If interested in former GDR art, the very recently opened new art museum "Das Minsk" should not be missed – also very close to the Telegraphenberg.
Potsdam is famous for its parks and palaces. You can start with Park Sanssouci, which contains an ensemble of several palaces of the Prussian emperors (e.g., in Neues Palais, the German emperor declared the Declaration of war which finally started the World War I). Then continue with the landscape park Babelsberg Park. You should also not miss the Park Neuer Garten which includes the historically important Schloß Cecilienhof (the place of the Potsdam Agreement in 1945 concerned on the military occupation and reconstruction of Germany).
Potsdam is the first UNESCO-Creative City of Film in Germany. It is the cradle of the German film industry. You can visit the Filmpark Babelsberg, which hosts the Babelsberg Studio (founded 1912) famous for many movies like Fritz Lang's Metropolis (1927) or (more recent) The Reader (2008) and Inglourious Basterds (2009).
Further information on what to visit in Potsdam can be found at Potsdam Information.