University of Warsaw Breakthroughs

The University’s teams have acquired recognition of the worldwide academic milieu in many areas of knowledge. Research projects and discoveries by the University’s scholars, in the fields of Natural Sciences as much as in the Humanities and Social Sciences, have won greatest respect.

The following are examples of projects, publications and discoveries by scholars from the University of Warsaw, which were of fundamental importance to the development of their disciplines.


Thanks to regular brightness measurements of over a billion stars of our Galaxy, astronomers working at The Optical Gravitational Lensing Experiment (OGLE) at the Astronomical Observatory of the University of Warsaw, have discovered an unknown class of pulsating variable stars. Follow-up observations have shown that these objects are much hotter than our Sun. A very unusual property of the objects is that they significantly change their physical parameters over a period of about half an hour. Such rapid variations have never been observed in any known type of pulsating stars. >> BLAPeng-2
The Kom el-Dikka (Alexandria) excavations is a flagship project of the Polish Centre of Mediterranean Archaeology. The excavations have started in the 1960s and have uncovered Roman baths, lecture halls, the sole example in the entire world, and a small village, the centerpiece of which is the Villa of the Birds, a large house filled with beautiful mosaics. On 1st April 2017 the archaeological park in Kom el-Dikka was open for tourists. >> Photo of Kom el-Dikka in Alexandria
The European Organisation for Astronomical Research in the Southern asked researchers from the Faculty of Geology to assess geological and geotechnical conditions for the telescopes to be built in Paranal in Chile. Cherenkov Telescope Array is designed to be the largest and most sensitive observatory which will have unprecedented accuracy in its detection of high-energy gamma rays. More than 1350 researchers and engineers from 32 countries are participating in various activities from construction to scientific development of the facility. >> Visual image of Cherenkov Telescope Array in Chile
Completely secure, high-speed quantum communication, or even a model of quantum computer, may be among the possible applications for the new source of single photons recently built at the Faculty of Physics of the University of Warsaw. An unprecedented feature of this new device is that for the first time it enables the on-demand production of a precisely controlled group of photons, as opposed to just a single one. >> Photo of new source of single photons recently built at the UW
The University of Warsaw is a member of a consortium FoodConnects which won a pan-European competition – the Food4Future call: EIT Food, organized by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT). The FoodConnects consists of 50 partners from 13 countries including universities, research institutes and enterprises. Warsaw will be one of the five Co-Location Centres for new technologies in Central Europe and the Nordic countries. >> Visual image of food industry partners
Prof. Andrzej Udalski from the Astronomical Observatory of the University of Warsaw is a co-author of a scientific paper on the discovery of an exoplanet orbiting two stars. The event was detected by the Optical Gravitational Lensing Experimet sky survey. So far, the majority of exoplanets detected orbit single stars. Only a few circumbinary planets – planets orbiting two stars – have been discovered to date. The planet, OGLE-2007-BLG-349, was detected during the Optical Gravitational Lensing Experiment. OGLE cooperated with NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. >> Artist’s impression of exoplanet orbiting two stars
Researchers at the Faculty of Physics at the University of Warsaw, using the liquid crystal elastomer technology demonstrated a bioinspired micro-robot capable of mimicking caterpillar gaits in natural scale. The 15-millimeter long soft robot harvests energy from green light and is controlled by spatially modulated laser beam. Apart from travelling on flat surfaces, it can also climb slopes, squeeze through narrow slits and transport loads. >> Photo of  micro-robot capable of mimicking caterpillar gaits
Scientists from the Astronomical Observatory of the University of Warsaw have cooperated in the discovery of gravitational waves. The research has confirmed a major prediction of Einstein’s general theory of relativity. The discovery, accepted for publication in the journal Physical Review Letters, was made by the LIGO Scientific Collaboration (LSC) – a group of more than 1000 scientists from universities around the USA and 14 other countries as well as Virgo Collaboration, consisting of more than 250 physicists and engineers belonging to 19 different European research groups. >> Visual image of the discovery of gravitational waves
Polish specialists representing the Polish Centre of Mediterranean Archaeology, University of Warsaw visited Palmyra just a few days after it has been taken over from the ISIS by Syrian government forces. They were the first foreign experts to reach the city. The goal of their mission was to make an initial assessment of destructions in Palmyra, especially to the reliefs and sculptures in the Museum of Palmyra, that have been excavated and conserved by Polish experts. >>  Photo of Lion sculpture
A team of Polish scientists, including physicians and geneticists from the Centre of New Technologies of University of Warsaw, has discovered a method for more effective diagnosis of patients with the highest risk of aggressive form of thyroid cancer. >> Photo of  Centre of New Technologies
Among projects financed as part of the European or international programmes, particularly interesting are prestigious grants of the European Research Council:  Starting Grants, Advanced Grants, Consolidator Grants as well as Proof of Concept Grants.The subsidy is awarded as part of the IDEAS programme, supporting the most innovative ventures in all fields of the science. Since 2007 Poland has got 25 grants from European Research Council. The University of Warsaw received 12 ERC grants. >> Photo of Doctor Justyna Olko


Additional information Additional information

Nature published the Nature Index 2016 Rising Stars – identyfing ascendant performers in the research world. The University of Warsaw was ranked among the world’s top 100 institutions.  The Nature Index 2016 Rising Stars uses the power of the Nature Index, which tracks the high-quality research of more than 8 000 global institutions. Applying WFC (weighted fractional count) the Nature summed up scientific achievements of institutions over the last four years (2012-2015). The index metric used to assess a country’s contribution to 68 high impact natural science journals. Poland was mentioned as a one of the examples of countries that improved their research performance more than most. In the top 100 institutions the UW was ranked 96th. However, in the 25 institutions of South East Europe the UW was placed 3rd. Read more >> 


Cover "Nature Index 2016 Rising Stars"

Our University is present in more than 20 countries in 5 continents through archaeological excavations, ethnography and cultural studies research.

Some sites have been the subject of our research even for several decades. The archaeologists who investigate the ancient Egypt have at their disposal the University’s Research Station in Cairo, established in 1959. Polish telescopes operate at the Las Campanas Observatory in the Atacama Desert, Chile, where UW astronomers perform large-scale sky surveys.

Map "Our presence in the world" (open in a new window)