A few days ago, unexpectedly, I received an email from a young high school student from the little town of Wolbrom, near Krakow - the ancient capital of Poland. Her name is Dominika, and she explained that even though she plans to study architecture, she is participating in a national physics competition. One of the projects available to choose from is to conduct an interview with a physicist. Since she had been reading my Polish science blog, she selected me and asked if I would agree. I said, "why not?" So she sent me her fourteen questions. I think her questions are, perhaps, even more interesting than my answers, so here is the whole interview.
1. Why physics? Was it one of your childhood dreams?
© A&L Jadczyk
Ark Jadczyk, back row, left. Dreaming of being a fireman, a detective, and an Indian!
There were many childhood dreams. They went in various directions, overlapped each other; in some areas they positively strengthened each other while in others, they neutralized like waves on water originating from multiple sources. I dreamed of being a firefighter, a detective; I wanted to fight together with good Indians, or to be an electronics engineer like my older brother. Eventually, I became a physicist, you could say, by chance. I did so well in a national Physics Olympiad, that I was allowed to begin studies at the physics department of the university without having to take the entrance examination. Otherwise, I would probably have chosen the University of Technology.
I wrote "probably by chance," but I admit, I use the word "chance" reluctantly. We often describe events as "accidental", while at their roots lie unclear, obscure, or unknown causal chains. We are, perhaps, cutting corners this way. So maybe it was not a coincidence, maybe it was not just chance, perhaps it was 'destiny'? As a physicist, I'm a little bit of a firefighter because I am always putting out fires to uphold the truth. I am also a detective, because I follow Nature and seek to discover its secrets. I'm fighting at the side of the good Indians when I expose the scams in Science. The least thing I do is likely the work of an engineer, though even here there is a link, because as a physicist, I am interested in the world we live in, not just in a philosophical imaginary reality.