Skills and interests

NAME

Karol Jałochowski

BIOGRAPHY

There is a brief, very special moment in open-water diving, when one finally acquires the basic skills, delegates control of buoyancy to the subconscious, and relaxes. But it’s not one of those zen moments: it’s a curious simultaneity of sheer terror and heavenly bliss. I suspect it is also something that one experiences on the cusp of making a world-altering scientific discovery or a great intellectual breakthrough. Throughout my 20 years in science journalism I’ve been attempting to grasp those rare moments, to get a picture of the complexity of pursuits that preceded them, and to follow the ambiguity of their consequences.

I think the focal point of most of my writing for POLITYKA (150 essays, reportages, reports, reviews), the leading Central European magazine of opinion (an equivalent to Time), and the Polish edition of Scientific American has been the phenomenon of the avant-garde and subversion in science – the pioneering spirit vs the institution of academia. This interest has determined my selection of interlocutors (among whom were such trailblazers as David Deutsch, Lee Smolin) and the main themes of my works. It constituted the very kernel of Reality Lost, the documentary movie project I was responsible for as the very first Outreach Fellow at the National University of Singapore (ranked the best in Asia).

The tension between subversion and conservatism has been the catalyst for my Pioneers, an original film series portraying some of the most extraordinary minds of our times, the “Marco Polos” or “Moseses” of science, among whom are Daniel C. Dennett, Gregory Chaitin, Freeman Dyson, Artur Ekert. The series became part of the Alexander Street publishing house’s prestigious Filmakers Online Library, and initiated a “traveling show” of public events. And it was the episode about Roy Glauber, Nobel Prize laureate and the last surviving scientific member of the Manhattan Project, that brought me the Grand Press, the award known as the “Polish Pulitzer.”

The latest incarnation of that affection for natural-born “heretics” is my collaboration with the Santa Fe Institute. Together we have been working on a movie project depicting the search for order in the complexity of evolving worlds. The documentary will feature the SFI’s director David Krakauer, Jennifer Dunne, Geoffrey West, writer and SFI trustee Cormac McCarthy, et al. The SFI successfully fuses the old-fashioned rigor of scientific method with modern, coarse-grained narrative models. It also experiments with establishing positive feedback loops between the worlds of individualism, science, and the arts, which the documentary is intended to be an embodiment of.

Picturing the winding, sometimes tortuous paths that pioneering thinkers and engineers have taken is something I consider the fundamental thread of my journalistic pursuit. The process of unlearning common truths, which thereby requires establishing new truths, is something that also fascinates me.

SKILLS

I am a science journalist, reporter, and filmmaker for the POLITYKA weekly (Warsaw), also Centre for Quantum Technologies (Singapore) former outreach fellow (2012-2014).

Digital solo journalist, some say.

SPECIALITIES

Physics, cosmology, philosophy, history of ideas. Back roads.

PROJECTS AND EMPLOYMENT HISTORY

October 2015  until now

Writer, director, cinematographer, and editor of the original documentary science film series Pioneers45 minute long episodes presents the most fascinating thinkers of our time: pioneers, people crossing the boundaries on their scientific fields, asking the fundamental questions relating to the nature of reality, the essence of the mind and free will.

In this interview, conducted by wonderful Katarzyna Marcysiak, I talk some stage fright fueled chaos (in Polish) about the series, and about the pioneers.

The series is produced by Polityka weekly and supported by Centre for Quantum Technologies, National University of Singapore. Four episodes of the first season have been completed. The second season is in the production phase.

October 2014  December 2015

Co-Writer (with a world renowned physicist, mathematician and cryptographer Artur Ekert), director, cinematographer, and editor of the documentary on the history of cryptography Breaking the Codes.

September 2012 – December 2014

OUTREACH FELLOW AT CENTRE FOR QUANTUM TECHNOLOGIES, NATIONAL UNIVERSITY OF SINGAPORE
Here is a short info on the documentary movie on the status or reality – Reality Lost – I had a chance of shooting while in Singapore. I had also a really good time filming on some less ontological issues.

November 2007 – Present

SCIENCE & CULTURE JOURNALIST AT POLITYKA WEEKLY
List of more that 100 articles (in Polish) I commited for POLITYKA is available here. A sample of a translation in English is there.

Coauthor and coeditor of NIEZBEDNIK INTELIGENTA + (a special, science oriented edition of POLITYKA).

Digital media blog TECHNOPOLIS contributor.

In-depth, one-on-one interviews with:

Some of those interviews, once written down and published, were accompanied with micro documentaries, some others – with documentary forms of a more substantial size.

August 2006 – November 2007
EDITOR-IN-CHIEF OF ONLINE EDITION AT POLITYKA WEEKLY
Content Management System development coordinator.
Website architecture designer.

February 2006 – August 2006
DEPUTY HEAD AT THE NEW MEDIA DEPARTMENT OF POLISH PUBLIC RADIO
Content Management System development.
Website architect.
Coordinating cross platform (air broadcast + online) projects.

June 2000 – August 2006

CONTRIBUTING SCIENCE WRITER, REPORTER AND PHOTOGRAPHER AT POLITYKA WEEKLY
Several pieces of reportage – USA, Philippines; science articles.

January 1999 – August 2006 
OCCASIONAL CONTRIBUTIONS AT NEWSWEEK POLSKA, PRZEKRÓJ, ODRA MAGAZINES

May 2005 – May 2006
EDITOR AND JOURNALIST AT SWIAT NAUKI, THE POLISH EDITION OF THE SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN
Staff member.
Editor. Translator. Writer.

January 2000 – February 2006
EDITOR-IN-CHIEF OF POLISH PUBLIC RADIO WEB SITE
Editor, reporter – Syria, USA, Hong Kong.

INTERESTS

Literature: the OuLiPo bunch, the American postmodernists
Film: David Lynch, Werner Herzog, Jorgen Leth, Federico Fellini, the French New Wave, Lars von Trier
Music: Arvo Pärt, Jordi Savall, Blur
Outdoors: hiking, motorbiking, cycling

PERSONAL

I was born on the very day Andre van de Louw was appointed mayor of Rotterdam.
One of my descendants has his own private asteroid.
My partner Ewa wrote the book on art history (Historia sztuki dla dzieci i rodziców) and an unique overview of Singaporean ghost scene.

 

SCREENINGS, HONORABLE MENTIONS

2015

Grand Press Award (Polish Pulitzer Prize) for the movie and press reportage about Roy Glauber and his participation in the Manhattan project.

Reality Lost movie was presented at:

  • the Docs+Science section of the the Cracow Film Festival (Poland),
  • the Universum, Museo de las Ciencias in Mexico City (Mexico),
  • the ArtScience Museum (Singapore),
  • the Miasto i Ogród festival, organized by the Palace of Culture and Science and Studio Arts Theatre in Warsaw (Poland).

The Pioneers series was presented:

  • by the Polish Public Television (Telewizja Polska, TVP), the leading local broadcaster,
  • during the annual open air festival Miasto i Ogród, organized by the Palace of Culture and Science and Studio Arts Theatre in Warsaw,
  • at Warsaw Science Festival,
  • as a part of official selection of Raw Science Film Festival,
  • in the Doc+Science section of the Kraków Film Festival,
  • at AFO Olomouc science film festival,
  • as a retrospective at the Centre for the Meetings of Cultures, Lublin.
    .

2013

A short feature Collapse and The Mechanics documentary were presented at the Copernicus Science Centre in Warsaw, Poland.

2012

I was selected as the very first Outreach Fellow in the history of National University of Singapore, Singapore, the leading university in Asia.

2011

Grand Press Award (Polish Pulitzer Prize) nomination in the Specialized Journalism category, for the press reportage and videocast about a British physicist Julian Barbour.

EDUCATION

Master of Sciences degree in theoretical physics at the Maria-Curie Sklodowska University in Lublin, Poland. Thesis on self organized criticality in physical systems – based on Per Bak, Chao Tang and Kurt Wiesenfeld’s initial ideas.|


CONTACT

jalochowski at gmail dot com or k dot jalochowski at polityka dot pl