Museum für Naturkunde, Leibniz Institute for Evolution and Biodiversity Science

The Museum für Naturkunde (MfN) – Leibniz Institute for Evolution and Biodiversity Sciences is a research museum within the Leibniz Association. As a major museum of Natural History, it is one of the most significant research institutions worldwide in biological and geo-scientific evolution research and biodiversity. 

Besides a broad expertise in biodiversity and evolution of life research at the museum also aims at constraining the effects of collision events on Earth’s biosphere. The MfN hosts one of the largest research groups specialized on meteorite impact processes (Department of Impact and Meteorite Research). The methods applied comprise geophysical exploration of the crater subsurface, geological field studies at terrestrial craters, mineralogical and chemical analyses of rocks and minerals, as well as computer simulations and laboratory shock experiments. By means of an interdisciplinary approach including geology, mineralogy, geophysics, paleontology, biology, and computer engineering impact events in Earth’s history and their implications on the evolution of life are investigated. 

Members of the Department of Impact and Meteorite Research at MfN are, in collaboration with the Imperial College London, the core developers of the iSALE shock physics code to simulate hypervelocity impact processes. iSALE is a well-established software package that is used by a large number of researchers (currently, >200 registered and active users) to simulate impact processes on Earth and planetary surfaces. It has been used in benchmark studies for NASA –DART mission and is well suited for the objectives addressed in the proposed study.