Directors and research fellows from 1980 until 1996
Albrecht W. Hofmann (born in 1939) was appointed Director of the newly founded Geochemistry Department in 1980. His department researches large-scale geological processes, such as the formation of continental and oceanic crusts, the chemical differentiation of the Earth's mantle and the circulation of present-day and former oceans. The department uses mass spectrometric measurements of isotopic abundancies to determine the absolute age of rocks. It also uses isotopic abundancies and trace element contents to determine the origin of volcanic lava from the Earth's mantle or crust and studies the long-term processes used by the Earth's mantle to recycle old crust. The department also performs experiments to study the pressure, temperature and other physical-chemical properties in fusions and mineral transformations that take place deep inside the Earth. Albrecht Hofmann retired in 2007.
Meinrat O. Andreae (born in 1949) studied earth sciences at the universities of Karlsruhe and Göttingen. He received his Ph.D. in Oceanography at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego, in 1977. From 1978 to 1982 he worked as an Assistant Professor of Oceanography, and from 1982 to 1986 as Associate Professor of Oceanography at Florida State University, Tallahassee. During 1986 -1987 he was Professor for Oceanography at the same university. Meinrat O. Andreae was appointed Director of the newly founded Biogeochemistry Department in 1987. The staff in this department mainly study reactions between our planet's atmosphere, biosphere and geosphere, in close collaboration with the Atmospheric Chemistry Department. They research the substances given off into the atmosphere by the biosphere (terrestrial and marine plants and animals), the geosphere (land and oceans) and people. They also research how these substances return after being altered slightly in the atmosphere. The results of these studies help us to understand global material cycles. They are also used to understand very complex and globally interlinked climate processes. The use of model calculations can help, to a certain extent, to estimate the long-term influence of humans on these processes and the resultant consequences. Meinrat O. Andreae retired in 2017.
Günter W. Lugmair (1940-2021) succeeded Heinrich Wänke as Director of the Cosmochemistry Department in 1996. The department's activities continue to focus on researching meteorites and processes in the early solar system, studying the effect of cosmic radiation on meteorites and age dating. It also conducts studies on the isotopic composition of interstellar grains of dust. This research allows us to draw key conclusions about where they originated from and the nucleosynthetic processes in these stars. The department is also working extensively on developing experiments on board space probes which research the planets in our solar system, particularly Mars. Günter Lugmair retired in 2005.