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Philippe Claeys

Prof. Dr.


Dr. Philippe Claeys is a geologist, planetary scientist and geochemist working on the consequences of asteroid and comet impacts on the evolution of the bio-geosphere, such as mass extinction of organisms, or large scale global climatic changes. In 1993, he obtained a PhD from the University of California at Davis (UC Davis), carried out postdoctoral research at UCLA, before moving to UC Berkeley as research geologist in the team of Walter Alvarez. He also held the position of senior scientist at the Museum of Natural History in Berlin, prior to accepting, in 2001, a professorship at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB).

He heads the research unit Analytical- Environmental- & Geo-Chemistry and the interfaculty Earth System Sciencegroup. He also teaches as a visiting professor in Ghent University, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven and University of Liège. He was president of Geologica Belgica, the Belgian Geological Society and is the author of numerous scientific publications including several in Nature and Science.

When not traveling the world looking for clues to better understand the 4.5 billion years of evolution of planet Earth, Philippe enjoys working in the lab with PhD students and close colleagues on projects ranging from astrobiology to geoarcheology. A hot research topic is currently the search for meteorites in the blue ice fields of Antarctica, together with partners from the ULB and National Institute of Polar Research in Tokyo.  More than 1200 samples have been recovered so far; each new meteorite provides clues to understand the evolution of the solar system and the formation of planets.