I studied Geology at the Technical University in Clausthal-Zellerfeld, Germany, the University of Vienna, Austria, and the Technical University in Munich, Germany, graduating with a Diploma (M.Sc.) in 1965. After 18 months of military service in Germany I continued my studies as a Ph.D. student in the Precambrian Research Unit, University of Cape Town, South Africa, in 1966 where I obtained a Ph.D. degree in 1968. After 6 months as exploration geologist in Namibia I returned to Cape Town as a Senior Research Fellow of the Precambrian Research Unit, undertaking research projects in Namaqualand and Namibia and supervising research students. From 1974 to 1976 I was Acting Director of the Precambrian Research Unit at the University of Cape Town.
In 1977 I moved back to Germany to take over the Chair of General and Regional Geology at the University of Mainz that I have occupied ever since. I have been Visiting Scientist at Stanford University, USA, the Australian National University in Canberra, Curtin University of Technology and the University of Western Australia (UWA), both in Perth. I am a member of numerous professional societies, a Fellow of the Geological Society of America and a Honorary Professor of Northwestern University, Xi'an, China. I am currently co-editor of the journals Precambrian Research (Elsevier) and Terra Nova (Blackwells).
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