What is mineralogy?
Mineralogy is the material science of naturally formed, mostly crystalline solids (minerals, rocks) covers also technical materials (glasses, raw materials) and, due to interaction with their environment, also fluids and gases. Depending on the focus, mineralogy is either part of Earth Sciences (environmental mineralogy, geochemistry, applied mineralogy) or part of chemistry (basic research, crystallography, material sciences).
Historically, mineralogy can be placed between mining, chemistry and physics, where the assessment, exploitation and processing of raw materials were of interest. A key point in the development of mineralogy was the improvement of analytical methods to explore equilibria between solids, melts and solutions. As a result mineralogy became the global science of the formation and evolution of rocks and of the distribution of chemical elements in the system Earth.
Today it is a material-oriented field of expertise, which investigates in the atomic structure, the physical and chemical parameters, and the conditions of formation, especially of solids. Here the main focus lies on process-orientated questions in the field of geological and material sciences, whereas mineralogy is closely linked to other natural sciences such as geology, geophysics, chemistry (e.g., solid-state chemistry, analytics, physical chemistry), and physics (e.g., nuclear physics, solid-state physics, metal physics, surface physics, magnetism, optics). Further connections can be made to the fields of biology and medicine (crystal structure investigations of biological objects and of mineralogical carrier of contaminants), as well as to astronomy and extraterrestrial physics, to chemical engineering, to mining and metallurgy, to data processing, and finally to archaeology (investigation of artefacts).
Bachelor and Master theses
We offer topics from mineralogy as Bachelor and Master theses. Among them are: Synthesis of geoscientifically or technically relevant phases and textures, investigation of geochemical processes at high temperature and pressure under laboratory conditions, determination of properties of silicate glasses and melts, and the investigation of magmatic and metamorphic rocks.
If you are interested in conducting your thesis in mineralogy please contact Prof. Max Wilke.
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Since fall semester 2022/23, we offer the Master-Wahlpflicht-Modul "Experimental Mineralogy-Petrology" (GEW-MF22), reoccurring every fall and spring semester.
Here, students perform high-pressure-/high-temperature laboratory experiments on minerals, glasses and rocks, which will help us to understand natural magmatic and metamorphic processes. Applying different analytical methods and giving short project-related talks will be also part of this course.
A description of this module can be found in the current module catalogue (Vorlesungsverzeichnis).