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Profile: Dr Susanne Schwenzer

Dr Susanne Schwenzer

The Open University, School of Environment, Earth and Ecosystem Sciences

Susanne is a Senior Lecturer in Earth Science

Professional biography

Susanne joined the Open University in 2009 as a postdoctoral researcher, conducting Ar-Ar dating of rocks in terrestrial volcanic arc environments, having had several postdoctoral research posts researching noble gases (Max-Planck Institute for Chemistry, Germany) and impact-cratering (Lunar and Planetary Institute, US). In 2013 she became a Research Investment Fellow in the Department of Physical Sciences and in 2015was appointed Lecturer in the school of Earth Environment and Ecosystem Sciences.  She is now is Senior Lecturer and Associate Director of AstrobiologyOU, the interdisciplinary research group that spans three faculties in The Open University. 

Research interests

Susanne is a mineralogist, specialising in noble gases and hydrothermal minerals/processes.  Her current work centres around fluid-rock interactions on Earth and Mars. She is currently working as a science team member of the NASA Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover and will be working on the WISDOM instrument of ESA's ExoMars rover in the future. Her Mars research has three main topics: NASA’s Curiosity in Gale Crater, impact-generated hydrothermal systems and trace gases, mainly noble gases in martian environments.  Her main interest is in understanding hydrous alteration processes, the effects of mineralogical changes on the chemical and physical rock features, and the local environments crated by those processes.   

Teaching interests

Susanne has taught across a number of Earth and Space Science modules including S209 (Earth Science), S283 (Planetary Science and the Search for Life), SXPS288 (Remote Experiments in Physics and Space) and S818 (Space Science).  She has developed authentic learning experiences using the OU’s Mars yard facility, in which students undertake collaborative tasks simulating mission operations on Mars.  She has also held responsibility for the geological Virtual Microscope and Moons MOOC. Susanne has also given guest lecturers at the Space Research Centre, University of Leicester, and the International Space University. 

Dr Susanne Schwenzer's activities

Browse 1 OpenLearn item Dr Susanne Schwenzer has worked on