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Prof. Dr. Kai Wünnemann


Museum für Naturkunde (MfN)

Leibniz-Institut für Evolutions- und Biodiversitätsforschung

Jointly Appointed Professorship

Invalidenstraße 43
Room D-212
10115 Berlin
+49 30 2093 8857 (MfN)
+49 30 2093 8565 (MfN)

Office hours

Appointments by e-mail or phone.

  • Since 1 May 2017 Professor for impact and planetary physics at the Department of Earth Sciences at FU Berlin
  • Deputy head of the Science Programme "Evolution and Geoprocesses" and head of the section "Impact and Meteorite Research" at MfN
  • Principal Investigator in several projects of the collaborative research centre Transregio-170 "Late Accretion onto Terrestrial Planets": A4 - Formation and evolution of large impact basins on the moon, C2 - Modelling giant impacts and the subsequent thermochemical evolution of liquid metal in a convecting magma ocean, C4 - From the Moon-forming impact to the era of late bombardment: the thermochemical evolution of the early Earth–Moon system
  • Graduate Programme Director of the collaborative research centre Transregio-170 "Late Accretion onto Terrestrial Planets"
  • Planetenphysik (Lecture: 24263a)
  • Planetenphysik (Practice Seminar: 24263b)
  • Late accretion onto terrestrial planets (Seminar: 24200b18)

Main Research Areas:

  • Investigation of impact processes in the solar system with computer simulations, improved understanding of the highly dynamic processes during the collision of extraterrestrial bodies with planetary surfaces, focus is on crater formation and collapse
    1. Ejecta ballistics and ejecta plume
    2. Formation of impact melt and shock metamorphism
    3. Oceanic impacts and the formation of tsunamis
  • Gravitational mass movements, e.g., marine landslides in coastal regions caused by earthquakes or volcanic eruptions: Computer models are used to study the interaction of the sliding body with water and wave formation, as well as wave propagation in the ocean and the contact of tsunamis with the coast. These kind of studies help to improve the forecast and quantification of the impacts and risks of landslides in coastal regions.

Research Projects:

Project 1 > MEMIN: Numerical modelling of impact crater formation

Project 2 > Helmholtz Alliance: Planetary Evolution and Life - Impact processes

Project 3 > Modelling of tsunami waves caused by landslides

Project 4 > The ejecta plume of the Ries meteorite impact

Project 5 > Numerical modelling of large-scale meteorite impacts