< Back to previous page

Researcher

Philippe Claeys

  • Research Expertise:

    Dr. Philippe Claeys is a geologist, planetary scientist and geochemist interested in documenting ancient and modern global changes and in particular the consequences of asteroid and comet impacts on the evolution of the bio-geosphere. He obtained his PhD in 1993 at the University of California (UC) at Davis working on the discovery of the Chicxulub crater in Yucatan, the most likely cause of the mass extinction that wiped out the dinosaurs, 66 million years ago, with Walter Alvarez(UC Berkeley) as advisor. He then carried out postdoctoral research using Neutron Activation to analyze Platinum group elements in sediments at the Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics at UCLA, in the group of  John Wasson. For several years, he was a researcher at UC Berkeley working again with Walter Alvarez on the KT boundary mass extinction. In the late nineties, Dieter Stoeffler convinced him to join the Museum of Natural History in Berlin as chief scientist in charge of establishing and managing the new analytical laboratories, composed of scanning & transmission electron microscopes, an electron microprobe and several X-ray fluorescence instruments.  In 1998, was as visiting professor at the “Ecole des Mines” in Paris. Since 2001, he is a professor at the “Vrije Universiteit Brussel” in Brussels, Belgium, where he established and directs the trans disciplinary research unit “Archaeology, Environmental changes & Geo-Chemistry” (AMGC), which is composed of > 100 geologists, chemists, biologists, civil-& bio- engineers, as well as archaeologists. AMGC relies on a vast arsenal of analytical techniques such Mass Spectrometry for trace elements and isotope determinations, Micro-X-Ray Fluorescence, Fourier Transform Infra-Red spectroscopy etc. He is also a visiting professor at Ghent University and the University of Liège. In 2016-2017, he was an invited International Scholar at the Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies at the University of British Columbia. Philippe also actively spreads science results to a large public audience via conferences, school visits, social media, vulgarization papers, active communication towards the written press, TV, radio and internet (see Youtube) and participation to documentaries. When he is not travelling looking for clues to better understand the 4.5 billion years of evolution of planet Earth, he enjoys designing, writing and obtaining new projects as well as guiding PhD students and postdocs on a wide variety of topics ranging from Antarctic meteorites and impact crater formation, to global environmental changes and cyclostratigraphy or bioarchaeology.

    Website: https://amgc.research.vub.be/en/prof-dr-philippe-claeys

    • Planetary science, impact processes, meteorites
    • Paleo-environmental reconstruction, paleoclimate, mass extinctions
    • Geochemistry isotopes and trace elements - Biogeochemistry
    • Sedimentology, stratigraphy
    • Cyclostratrigraphy - Astrochronoloy
    • Astrobiology, exobiology
    • Urban Water management
    • Geoarcheology - Bioarchaeology
    • Analytical methodology 
  • Keywords:Impact-crater, Paleoclimate, Paleoenvironment, Cyclostratigraphy, Geochemistry, Stable isotopes, Earth sciences and geography, Chemistry (incl. biochemistry)
  • Disciplines:Medical and health sciences, Natural sciences, Social sciences, Humanities and the arts
  • Users of research expertise:

    Dr. Philippe Claeys is a geologist, planetary scientist and geochemist interested in documenting ancient and modern global changes and in particular the consequences of asteroid and comet impacts on the evolution of the bio-geosphere. He obtained his PhD in 1993 at the University of California (UC) at Davis working on the discovery of the Chicxulub crater in Yucatan, the most likely cause of the mass extinction that wiped out the dinosaurs, 66 million years ago, with Walter Alvarez(UC Berkeley) as advisor. He then carried out postdoctoral research using Neutron Activation to analyze Platinum group elements in sediments at the Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics at UCLA, in the group of  John Wasson. For several years, he was a researcher at UC Berkeley working again with Walter Alvarez on the KT boundary mass extinction. In the late nineties, Dieter Stoeffler convinced him to join the Museum of Natural History in Berlin as chief scientist in charge of establishing and managing the new analytical laboratories, composed of scanning & transmission electron microscopes, an electron microprobe and several X-ray fluorescence instruments.  In 1998, was as visiting professor at the “Ecole des Mines” in Paris. Since 2001, he is a professor at the “Vrije Universiteit Brussel” in Brussels, Belgium, where he established and directs the trans disciplinary research unit “Archaeology, Environmental changes & Geo-Chemistry” (AMGC), which is composed of > 100 geologists, chemists, biologists, civil-& bio- engineers, as well as archaeologists. AMGC relies on a vast arsenal of analytical techniques such Mass Spectrometry for trace elements and isotope determinations, Micro-X-Ray Fluorescence, Fourier Transform Infra-Red spectroscopy etc. He is also a visiting professor at Ghent University and the University of Liège. In 2016-2017, he was an invited International Scholar at the Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies at the University of British Columbia. Philippe also actively spreads science results to a large public audience via conferences, school visits, social media, vulgarization papers, active communication towards the written press, TV, radio and internet (see Youtube) and participation to documentaries. When he is not travelling looking for clues to better understand the 4.5 billion years of evolution of planet Earth, he enjoys designing, writing and obtaining new projects as well as guiding PhD students and postdocs on a wide variety of topics ranging from Antarctic meteorites and impact crater formation, to global environmental changes and cyclostratigraphy or bioarchaeology.

    Website: https://amgc.research.vub.be/en/prof-dr-philippe-claeys

    • Planetary science, impact processes, meteorites
    • Paleo-environmental reconstruction, paleoclimate, mass extinctions
    • Geochemistry isotopes and trace elements - Biogeochemistry
    • Sedimentology, stratigraphy
    • Cyclostratrigraphy - Astrochronoloy
    • Astrobiology, exobiology
    • Urban Water management
    • Geoarcheology - Bioarchaeology
    • Analytical methodology