Astronomy, Schools, Secondary

Is there life on Venus?

People across the world have been excited by the recent discovery of the molecule phosphine (PH3) in the atmosphere of Venus – the finding of an international collaboration of researchers lead by Cardiff University’s Professor Jane Greaves.

With no known explanations for where the molecules came from, the two explanations left are some unknown chemistry or biological processes.

phosphene on venus

Artist’s impression of Venus, with an inset showing a representation of the phosphine molecules detected in the high cloud decks. Credit: ESO / M. Kornmesser / L. Calçada & NASA / JPL / Caltech.

Bring the latest research into your classroom

This ground-breaking discovery has many links to Physics teaching. To help you bring this research into the classroom, we have begun to put some teaching resources together, which can be found on our website. As these resources are still in development, we would be grateful to have any corrections, comments or suggestions directed to us by email:

Put your Questions to the Researchers

Is there life on Venus? Panel Discussion
Thursday 8th October 2020, 7pm

Head of Public Engagement, Dr Chris North will chair a panel discussion combining short summary talks from the researchers involved in this fascinating discovery with a chance for teachers to ask their own questions – or those of their students!

Please note that this talk forms part of the IOP’s Welsh Physics Teachers Conference, so you will need to register for the Thursday of the conference to attend this talk. This event is open to teachers from any location.

What’s the basis on which the researchers have claimed life? How did they come to this conclusion, and what are the next steps in the journey of scientific discovery?

And while we’re here..

There are lots of other sessions taking place as part of the IOP Welsh Physics Teacher Conference.

On Monday 5th October Prof Mike Edmunds will give a keynote talk entitled “New Worlds”, on Wednesday 7th October Dr Chris North will give an overview of online gravitational wave resources, and on Saturday Science Made Simple will discuss how the space industry is impacting our lives and careers in “Taking up Space”.

There are many other sessions throughout the week, aimed teachers, technicians, newly qualified teachers and trainee teachers. If you are interested n attending, please register with Eventbrite.