Philip Ratcliffe

Favourite Thing: Surprise people



Cambridge U. (’73-’76), Imperial Col. (’79-’80), SISSA Trieste (’81-’83)


Ph.D. in Theoretical Particle Physics, M.Inst.P., Chartered Physicist

Work History:

Researcher in: Cambridge, Queen Mary Col. (London), Milan U., Insubria U. in Como

Current Job:

Associate Professor of Nuclear and Sub-nuclear Physics


Insubria University in Como, Italy

Me and my work

Particle physics theory

I lecture on the undergraduate and masters level physics courses.  In particular I teach advanced quantum mechanics, quantum field theory and nuclear and subnuclear physics but in the past I have also taught basic physics courses.

My research field is high-energy particle physics theory.  I have written a fair number of research papers published in specialised international journals and have also written two books, the first is an advanced (postgraduate) textbook while the other (to appear shortly) is an introductory text on particle physics for undergraduates.

I have also organised various specialised conferences and workshops.

On the bureaucratic side, I have served on the University Academic Senate and Governing Board, I am also a long serving Physics Ph.D. programme director and am currently the head of the Physics Group of my department.

Finally, I am a level-1 rugby coach (both 15 and 7 a-side) and currently coach the U14 & 16 girls’ teams at my local club.

My Typical Day

Classroom lecture to undergraduates, read new research papers and attend meetings.

What I'd do with the money

My Interview

How would you describe yourself in 3 words?

Rugby-playing physicist

Who is your favourite singer or band?

Led Zeppelin

What's your favourite food?

Fiorentina (a very very thick Italian steak) accompanied by a good Barolo (an excellent Italian wine)

What is the most fun thing you've done?

Horse-riding with Red Indians in Monument Valley

What did you want to be after you left school?

A physicist

Were you ever in trouble at school?


What was your favourite subject at school?

Maths & Physics

What's the best thing you've done as a scientist?

Some rather complicated calculations

What or who inspired you to become a scientist?

My own curiosity

If you weren't a scientist, what would you be?

A professional rugby player

If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!

Nobel prize in physics, international cap in rugby (preferably England winning vs. New Zealand), a trip to Mars … and back.

Tell us a joke.

Other stuff

Work photos: