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Thread: Physics newbie struggling with essay.

  1. #1 Physics newbie struggling with essay. 
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    Hi all! I have taken on a physics module with my politics degree as a third year student. I am finding it fascinating, however the essay, which is 30% of the module is due in next week and I am struggling with how to approach it. The module contains very basic maths, as it is an introduction to life in the cosmos, therefore i don't think the emphasis of the question surrounds this approach (I could be wrong!).

    The question is "Assess the probability of finding life, or the remains of life on Venus".

    On the surface it seems like a fairly simple question, however the more I think about it the more I become confused in how to answer the question. The essay is 2500-3000 words long, so it must be quite concise, however I can also include diagrams, pictures and other empirical data that I might find. I am also struggling to find resources for this question. I have many books in the library, however I also wanted to make use of other sources such as journals.

    Any advice on how to approach the question, and if possible where to find the best resources surrounding the topic would be greatly appreciated.

    Many thanks

    Will


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  3. #2  
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    Life requires a few components:



    Try finding out what, if any, concentration of above components have been found on Venus, from this, you can draw the probability of life developing there.


    Quote Originally Posted by wesson124 View Post
    Hi all! I have taken on a physics module with my politics degree as a third year student. I am finding it fascinating, however the essay, which is 30% of the module is due in next week and I am struggling with how to approach it. The module contains very basic maths, as it is an introduction to life in the cosmos, therefore i don't think the emphasis of the question surrounds this approach (I could be wrong!).

    The question is "Assess the probability of finding life, or the remains of life on Venus".

    On the surface it seems like a fairly simple question, however the more I think about it the more I become confused in how to answer the question. The essay is 2500-3000 words long, so it must be quite concise, however I can also include diagrams, pictures and other empirical data that I might find. I am also struggling to find resources for this question. I have many books in the library, however I also wanted to make use of other sources such as journals.

    Any advice on how to approach the question, and if possible where to find the best resources surrounding the topic would be greatly appreciated.

    Many thanks

    Will


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  4. #3  
    Genius Duck Dywyddyr's Avatar
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    I hate to be negative but that, to me, isn't a physics question at all.
    Biology more likely. At least as far as "chances of life" on Venus.

    The question itself, as it stands, is the equivalent of "assess the probability of finding a spare tyre for a 1963 Ford in a Bavarian garage, or evidence that one used to be there".
    My basic response is "You HAVE to be joking".
    How much of Venus do we assume is looked at?
    How do we assess the probability of life arising AT ALL on Venus?
    How do we assess the probability that it, or its remnants happen to be available in the (exceedingly small) parts of Venus we do get to look at?
    Etc. Etc.
    It's going to make the Drake Equation look like a rigorous mathematical proof!


    Methinks you've been sold a pup.
    But I'll give it more thought.

    (Or you could just switch courses )
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  5. #4  
    Malignant Pimple shlunka's Avatar
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    Throw a snowball into the flaming pits of hell as a demonstration of organic life surviving on Venus.
    "MODERATOR NOTE : We don't entertain trolls here, not even in the trash can. Banned." -Markus Hanke
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    Just gather up a lot of data about the temperature, pressure, and chemical composition of the atmosphere on Venus. I think you will find it is very harsh. Try to find out whether it has always been that way. If it was less severe early in its history, there could be a possibility of finding the remains of life.
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    Hi guys, thanks for your responses I figured it could be more of an astro biology question. My first reaction when reading the question was that life or the reminence was not possible. Distance from the Sun was the first reason that sprung to mind. To be clear, I don't think the lecturer is looking for an answer of 'yes there could be or have been life on venus'. The course is more sceptical/realistic of the possibilities, which is a view I share. Xyzt and Harold you bring up an interesting way of structuring the essay for me. The basic requirements for life vs the conditions of venus present. Just to be clear Kurtbait, this is an undergraduate study, I don't think an experiment will solve anything.

    Many thanks!
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    What do people feel about exploring extremeophiles? Surely these could point that although the probability of finding life on venus is minuscule, there is that probability?
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  9. #8  
    Genius Duck Dywyddyr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wesson124 View Post
    What do people feel about exploring extremeophiles?
    Don't be silly, no-one makes hiking boots, pith helmets and compasses in sizes small enough for extremophiles to use.
    Oh, I see what you mean.

    Yeah, good idea. Venus isn't going to have much in the way of "normal" life if it does have any at all.
    That could be a viable avenue to look at.
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  10. #9  
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    Oh, of course, the aim of the essay is not to explore the possibility of intelligent or even developed life, just the possibility of existence of any life, so I would be focusing around bacterial life as a base, as this type of life needs minimal requirements for existence.
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