Dr Grammatiki Lioliou

Physicist Dr Grammatiki Lioliou’s PhD could help assess the likelihood of life on Europa.

Dr Grammatiki Lioliou’s PhD work on the physics of novel semiconductors could help scientists assess the likely habitability of Jupiter’s icy moon Europa. 

Her work may enable new scientific instruments to be designed and built which can potentially travel to Jupiter – surviving extreme temperatures and radiation – and make measurements of individual electrons, thus revealing the chemistry of the surface of Europa. These measurements will help us assess the likely habitability of Europa and its oceans. 

“I am passionate about finding the truth and understanding how physics laws work. There were many moments when I felt really proud: every time I was getting exciting results from my experiments, every time one of my journal articles was published, meaning that people from all over the world could read it and possibly learn something new, and, finally, holding the bound copy of my PhD thesis.” 

While her research tries to understand environments light years away, her family help keep her grounded. 

“My biggest support has always been my family. Even though they are thousands of miles away, they are always there for me, to cheer me up, encourage me to continue, and teach me what’s actually important in life.” 

Dr Lioliou’s supervisor, Dr Anna Barnett, Head of the Space Research Group at the University of Sussex, said: “Dr Lioliou is a gifted detector physicist. Her PhD thesis was exceptional in both its rigour and scope. 

“Europa is widely thought to be the best candidate location for the presence of extra-terrestrial life in the solar system. Dr Lioliou’s work will help us assess the likely habitability of Europa and its oceans.” 

During her time at Sussex, Dr Lioliou won a fully-funded place on the prestigious European Space Agency (ESA) Academy Training and Learning Programme. She is now a full-time postdoc in Dr Barnett’s group in the School of Engineering and Informatics.

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