What is the real value of oxygen? What does a career in science look like? The answers to these questions were revealed by Sir Peter Ratcliffe during his lecture at the University of Warsaw. It was the first visit to Poland of the 2019 Nobel laureate in Physiology or Medicine.

“In his will, which led to the creation of the Nobel Prize, Alfred Nobel listed the field of physiology or medicine as third. However, this prize is awarded as the first every year due to its special significance. To date, 225 laureates have been honoured in this field. One of them is with us today,” Prof. Alojzy Z. Nowak, the UW Rector, appreciated Sir Peter Ratcliffe’s visit to the University, which was also a great opportunity for young people to talk to the Nobel laureate.


Sir Peter J. Ratcliffe is a physician and a molecular biologist, who worked e.g. at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford. Ratcliffe continues his scientific research at the University of Oxford, focusing on clinical medicine. Furthermore, he holds the position of the Director of Clinical Research at the Francis Crick Institute.


In 2019 Ratcliffe received together with William G. Kaelin Jr. and Gregg L. Semenza  the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, for his contribution to the discovery of the processes by which cells sense the concentration of oxygen in the environment and adapt to its changes.


On 16th March Sir Peter Ratcliffe delivered a lecture at the University of Warsaw  Understanding cellular oxygen sensing mechanisms: adventures of a physician in discovery science, raising the issue of oxygen balance in the human body and the relationship of scientific discovery and research to pharmaceutical development.



The meeting with the laureate was attended by UW students and high school learners from Warsaw. Ratcliffe was eager to talk about his scientific career with young people.


“I have had the good fortune of being able to practise medicine and be a scientist. You have to acquire the technical knowledge but the application is yours. There are helpful people who give you confidence but allow completely free choice. Do your own destiny,” Peter J. Ratcliffe said.


The main organisers of the event were the Nobel Prize Outreach and AstraZeneca.