10 Credits SPRING

Cannot be taken with: PHY416
Pre-requisites: A level Mathematics and Physics

PHY106, PHY111

PHY106 and PHY111 required, PHY104 recommended.

Aims/Description: The module will cover the fundamental concepts in extrasolar planetary science and astrobiology. We will examine the methods used to discover extrasolar planets, both present and planned. We will then discuss current theories of planet formation and evolution in light of the planets we have discovered. We will examine life on Earth - its origin, processes, evolution, and interaction with the Earth - in the context of our only current example of life. We will then discuss the possibilities and search for life in the Solar System and beyond. In the context of the previous discussions we will critically examine ideas about the frequency of life, advanced life, and intelligent technological civilisations in the Universe. In this course we ask the basic questions: does other life exist, what is it like, and how can we find it? We obviously cannot answer these questions yet (although we hope to), and so this course concentrates on how to frame these questions within current scientific knowledge and thinking. For many aspects of this course there is no `correct answer┐, just many competing theories and ideas.

Staff Contact: Dr Simon Goodwin
Teaching Methods: Lectures, Tutorials, Independent Study
Assessment: Formal Exam, Course work

Information on the department responsible for this unit (Physics and Astronomy):

Departmental Home Page
Teaching timetable


The content of our courses is reviewed annually to make sure it's up-to-date and relevant. Individual modules are occasionally updated or withdrawn. This is in response to discoveries through our world-leading research; funding changes; professional accreditation requirements; student or employer feedback; outcomes of reviews; and variations in staff or student numbers. In the event of any change we'll consult and inform students in good time and take reasonable steps to minimise disruption.

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Teaching methods and assessment displayed on this page are indicative for 2021-22. Students will be informed by the academic department of any changes made necessary by the ongoing pandemic.

Western Bank, Sheffield, S10 2TN, UK