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The primary research goals of the Bayerisches Geoinstitut are to understand the structure, composition and dynamics of the Earth's interior through experimental studies of Earth materials at high pressures and temperatures. The results presented in this Annual Report demonstrate considerable progress in a wide range of related research areas. In addition to investigating the macroscopic properties of Earth materials at extreme conditions, a strong emphasis is placed on obtaining a fundamental understanding how such materials behave at the atomistic scale during geological processes. Studies of silicate perovskite (the most abundant mineral in the Earth's interior) and perovskite analogues reported here are an excellent example of this approach. Because the research methods adopted at the Bayerisches Geoinstitut are basically similar to those of material science, and also overlap with some areas of physics and chemistry, interdisciplinary collaboration is often very productive. Examples of such collaborations include the synthesis of new ultra-hard materials at high pressure and the study of the properties of ultra-fine grained nano-materials.

During 1999, there have been two notable developments. First, a new state-of-the-art deformation facility has become operational that enables high-precision measurements to be made of the mechanical properties of rocks and minerals of the Earth's interior during deformation to high strains. Experiments using this apparatus are already providing new information about the strength and mechanical behaviour of the Earth's crust and upper mantle. Second, the 5000 t multianvil apparatus, which is unique world-wide, is now in routine operation. The aim of this apparatus, to increase greatly the sample volume in experiments up to 25 GPa and 3000 K, has been fully achieved. Large sample volumes at pressures of 15-25 GPa are now making possible a range of studies that were previously extremely difficult or even impossible. For example, the thermal diffusivity of materials can now be measured up to at least 20 GPa and 1200°C; a knowledge of this parameter for high-pressure minerals is crucial for understanding the thermal structure and evolution of the Earth's interior.

Part of the success in realising research goals at the Bayerisches Geoinstitut results from collaborations with scientists in Europe, North America, Japan and Australia etc. Together with our wide range of experimental facilities, such collaborations have established the Bayerisches Geoinstitut as an international centre for high-pressure research. The international character of these collaborations is indicated by the fact that scientists of around ten different nationalities are typically working in the Institute at any time. The Visiting Scientists' Programme of the Institute makes it possible to host young scientists in particular (e.g. at the postdoctoral level) for periods that range from one week to several years. A significant number of senior scientists, from countries such as Frankreich, USA, Japan, UK and New Zealand, have visited during the last few years for periods of 6-12 months. Such visits, which have generally been extraordinarily productive in terms of research achievements, have been made possible by generous funding from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and the German Science Foundation. Within Europe, extensive collaboration results from European Union (EU) support. For example, since 1994, the EU "Large Scale Facility" programme has enabled 75 scientists from institutions in 9 different European countries to visit for periods ranging from 1 week to 3 months. In addition to a large number of high-quality publications that have resulted from these research visits, the importance of this programme for European science is emphasised by the recent decision of the EU to continue this support for a further three years under the new "Access to Research Infrastructures" programme. In addition, several EU-funded "Networks" have been highly effective in developing collaborative research projects at the Bayerisches Geoinstitut. As well as developing interdisciplinary research between earth scientists, physicists, chemists and material scientists from institutions in several different EU countries, one of the main aims of such Networks is to provide valuable training for young scientists by immersing them into active and qualified research groups outside their home country.

After five years, my current term as Director of the Bayerisches Geoinstitut has come to an end. I would like to thank all my colleagues, including the scientific, technical and secretarial staff of the Institute, for their strong support during the period of my Directorship. Looking to the future, I wish my successor, Professor Stephen Mackwell, much success during the next few years.

As in previous years, and also on behalf of my colleagues, I would like to thank the Free State of Bavaria as represented by the Bayerisches Staatsministerium für Wissenschaft, Forschung und Kunst as well as the Kommission für Geowissenschaftliche Hochdruckforschung for their continuing support and strong commitment to the Bayerisches Geoinstitut. We also gratefully acknowledge generous support from external funding agencies, in particular the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, the European Union, and the German Science Foundation, which have also contributed greatly to the development and success of the Institute.

Bayreuth, January 2000 David C. Rubie

Bayerisches Geoinstitut, Universität Bayreuth, 95440 Bayreuth, Deutschland
Tel: +49-(0) 921 55 3700 / 3766, Fax: +49-(0) 921 55 3769, E-mail: bayerisches.geoinstitut(at)