Dr Jane Greaves

Astronomy Group

School of Physics and Astronomy

+44 (0)29 2087 5999
N/3.26, Queen's Buildings - North Building, 5 The Parade, Newport Road, Cardiff, CF24 3AA


I observe planets forming around young stars, especially leading the Planet-Earth Building-Blocks Legacy eMERLIN Survey (PEBBLeS). I also research on connections to the solar system, particularly observing the dwarf planet Pluto and icy moons of Jupiter and Saturn that may harbour life. I have a background in observing 'debris' from comet collisions around stars like the Sun - I was the first to image such a debris belt around any Sun-like star - and interpret these data in terms of impact that could harm or help life on planets. I am the 2017 winner of the Institute of Physics Fred Hoyle Medal.

I have worked at Cardiff University since 2015, and previously at the University of St Andrews, the Royal Observatory Edinburgh, the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope, the University of Massachusetts, and Queen Mary University of London.

Scientific achievements:

2017: first ground-based detection of molecules around Enceladus

2011: first detection of the high atmosphere of Pluto

2008: direct image of the first proto-brown dwarf candidate

2000: first magnetic field map of a starburst galaxy

1999: confirmation of the Goldreich-Kylafis quantum effect

1998: first image of an exo-comet belt around a Sun-like star

Wider Interest

I use textile art for exploring and engaging in astrophysics,


and have worked extensively for fairness to women in academic science.

Honours and awards

2017 IoP Fred Hoyle Medal

2005 PPARC Advanced Fellowship

2004 University of St Andrews Fellow in Astophysics

2000 RAS Norman Lockyer Fellow

1990 SERC Postdoctoral Fellow

I teach 2nd year undergraduate modules: The Stars & Their Planets, Observing the Universe and Observational Techniques.

I have previously taught at all university levels from General Degree by Evening Class (open to any interested adult) to leading the Space Science theme for the Scottish Universities Physics Alliance Graduate School.

I lead PEBBLeS (400 hours awarded on eMERLIN) and am a manager for NESS (on JCMT), and have been a co-leader of SONS (on JCMT) and DEBRIS (on Herschel).