Associate Professor (ELSI) and Associate Investigator (CRiO)
Research Interests and Discoveries
My main research interest is the formation, history and dynamical evolution of the Solar System, coupled with understanding why
Earth developed a biosphere (and when) and Venus and Mars probably did not. Specifically, I am interested in the following topics.
Terrestrial and exoplanet formation
Fusion of cosmochemistry and dynamics
Isotopic composition of rocky planets
Planetary habitability on long time scales Delivery of biogenic materials
Tidal evolution of planets and satellites
Time and place of the origin of life
Divergence of Venus and Mars vs. Earth
So far I have made the following discoveries in my scientific career. Some of these are co-discoveries with colleagues.
1. Contrary to popular opinion, Mars likely formed in the asteroid belt.
2. The Earth's Late Veneer must have consisted of a single large impact rather than an assumed constant stream of planetesimals.
3. Mars must have suffered a colossal impact in order to explain its highly siderophile element abundance. Both Earth and Mars underwent such impacts at ca. 4480 Ma.
4. Jupiter must have scattered/ejected another giant planet of the same size as Uranus or Neptune otherwise the orbits of the terrestrial planets would be far too eccentric.
5. The Jupiter-Family comets and the Long-Period comets share the same origin. Both the Oort comet cloud and Scattered Disc populations can be explained from a single population that was stirred during an episode of giant planet migration.
6. The Sun's birth cluster is likely responsible for placing dwarf planet Sedna on its current orbit.
Apart from doing research I enjoy being active in various management duties and workshop organisation. Please see my CV for details and contact information.
last update: Some time in the past
'Science may set limits to knowledge, but should not set limits to imagination.' - Bertrand Russell
`Success is a mixture of preparation and luck.' - Kevin Spacey, House of Cards