PhD (University of Bern)
Originally from Switzerland (MSc and PhD from the University in Bern), I have joined QUT as the Professor of Petrology after a colourful journey around the globe. Between 2011-2018, I held the Chair in Geology and Mineralogy Trinity College Dublin and was Deputy Director of the 23M Euro Irish Centre for Research in Applied Geosciences. Prior to working in Ireland, I was a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair at Laurentian University, Ontario, Canada (2005-2011). Between 1995 and 2005, I was a Research Associate at Oxford and Cambridge and the University of Queensland. I’m returning to Australia with the goal of establishing a strong presence of real-world relevant, high-impact research in earth sciences and geochemistry.
I am fascinated by planet Earth. It is undoubtedly the most interesting planet of the Solar System. How did the Earth arrive at its present state? To answer this question, I research the history of the Earth. Specifically, I want to know how the Earth’s surface changed over time. How has its atmosphere evolved? How did life colonise the land and what did this do the rest of planet? Why is it that certain metals are only found in rocks of the distant past? We have countless open questions that keep me and many other Earth Scientists busy. Many of the answers have economic impact and help society supply industry with commodities. But maybe most importantly, the past history of the Earth informs us about the likely future. Earth is highly dynamic and its climate has changed from icehouse to hothouse conditions. By looking at how the Earth responded to climate extremes, we can learn a lot about what’s in store for us in the future.