JANUSZ PETKOWSKI

I am interested in research leading to finding life on exoplanets, biosignature gases and theoretical biochemistry.

So far Earth is the only known inhabited planet.

Yet it is known that the laws of physics and chemistry are universal and the same in every 'corner' of the observable Universe. Can we say the same about biology? Can we identify any universal laws of biology? I study these questions using cheminformatics computer simulations as an aid in designing future laboratory experiments.

2019 – present

Research Scientist at MIT

2015 – 2019

Postdoctoral Fellow at MIT

2013 – 2015

Marie Curie ETH-Fellow at ETH-Zürich

2006 – 2012

PhD degree in Biophysics, UVA

I am one of the founding members of the Polish Astrobiological Society.

RECENT ARTICLES

September 14, 2020

Phosphine on Venus Cannot be Explained by Conventional Processes

The recent candidate detection of ~20 ppb of phosphine in the middle atmosphere of Venus is
so unexpected that it requires an exhaustive search for explanations of its origin.

August 13, 2020

The Venusian Lower Atmosphere Haze as a Depot for Desiccated Microbial Life: A Proposed Life Cycle for Persistence of the Venusian Aerial Biosphere

We revisit the hypothesis that there is life in the Venusian clouds to propose a life cycle that resolves the conundrum of how life can persist aloft for hundreds of millions to billions of years.

September 14, 2020

Phosphine gas in the cloud decks of Venus

Here we report the apparent presence of phosphine (PH3) gas in Venus’s atmosphere. Single-line millimetre-waveband spectral detections from the JCMT and ALMA telescopes have no other plausible identification.

June 10, 2020

On the Potential of Silicon

as a Building Block for Life

We provide a comprehensive assessment of the possibility of silicon-based biochemistry and assess whether or not silicon chemistry meets the requirements for chemical diversity and reactivity as compared to carbon.

© 2020 Janusz Petkowski

Web design: Joanna Petkowska

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