Dr. Philipp R. Heck is the Robert A. Pritzker Associate Curator of Meteoritics and Polar Studies at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, IL in the Science & Education division. He is also an Associate Professor (part time) at the University of Chicago’s Department of the Geophysical Sciences and the College and a member of the Chicago Center for Cosmochemistry.
Dr. Heck directs the research program in meteoritics at the Field Museum currently focuses on presolar grains to understand our parent stars and the history of our Galaxy, early solar system materials and on the delivery history of extraterrestrial matter to Earth.
Dr. Philipp R. Heck came to the Field Museum in March 2010 from the University of Chicago, where he was a postdoctoral scholar working on new analytical techniques for presolar grains. He obtained his M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees at ETH Zurich in Switzerland in geo- and cosmochemistry. He then worked as a postdoctoral fellow at the Max-Planck-Institute for Chemistry where he studied the first comet dust brought back from Comet Wild-2 by NASA’s Stardust Mission and at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he worked mainly on fossil meteorites and banded iron formations from around the world. For his studies he uses specialized analytical techniques such as secondary ion mass spectrometry (NanoSIMS, IMS-1280 and TOF-SIMS), noble gas mass spectrometry, atom probe tomography, scanning electron microscopy and electron microprobe analysis. Sample preparation for atom-probe work is performed with focused ion beam workstations.