His early research focused on the study of metamorphic processes in crustal rocks to understand their evolution as a function of pressure, temperature and time. This involved the use of radioactive decay schemes in metamorphic minerals for understanding the possible geologic significance of the ages provided by these chronometers. This helped to quantify the rates of processes that modify the continental crust and also yielded time constraints on events in deep crustal rocks involved in orogenic cycles. With the advent of ICPMS technology, our research group at the University of Münster expanded the capability to measure high precision isotope ratios and trace element abundances in terrestrial and extraterrestrial rocks and minerals. The development of new analytical methods is a significant driving force in the advancement of geochemistry, since it allows to measure new parameters that further our understanding of geo- and cosmochemical processes. Newly developed and improved analytical techniques opened up new opportunities to study the genesis and evolution of Earth`s continental crust and mantle and provided new insights into the chemical and isotopic evolution of the solar system from the condensation of the first matter to planet formation and their early differentiation. These studies revealed an unexpectedly short time span for the formations of the earliest planets after the start of condensation in the solar system. Studies of heavy stable isotope variations, or their lack thereof, in different meteorites classes revealed the conditions of condensation of the solar nebula, the causes for volatile element depletion and the importance of radial mixing in an evolving planetary system. The research at the University of Bern focusses on the chemical and isotopic studies of terrestrial and extraterrestrial material in order to reveal the conditions that lead to the formation of habitable planets.
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