Introduction. Antidote: science




Dear Reader,

Science is fascinating. Practicing science is a passion, as it helps us search for the truth about ourselves and the world surrounding us. We devote our minds, hearts and hands to it. The world is beautiful and the ability to understand it makes us even more aware of that beauty. This is why research work is also a mission: we do it to improve our own understanding, but, even more importantly, to help others understand. To make our lives better by solving mysteries and broadening our horizons, but also to transfer passion and long-term goals to the next generations in order to ensure permanent development of knowledge.

Universities have carried out the mission of broadening and disseminating knowledge for centuries. They are centers where proven scientific truths are subject to creative criticism, leading to new discoveries and to the application of seemingly small elements of knowledge about the world in surprising areas of everyday life. Thousands of young people (of different ages, but always young at heart, with fresh minds) walk through the campuses, carrying seeds of fascination by the beauty of the surrounding reality back to their friends and families.

Today, we live at a quick pace. It is easy to drown our curiosity in the incessant flood of information, to lose our fascination with the beauty of the world in pursuit of the superficial goals that we are told to achieve. As an antidote we would like to offer you a set of several dozen topics that are being studied by scientists from the Jagiellonian University. This is by no means a comprehensive spectrum or a representative selection, but just a set of snapshots of the activities of people who are passionate about science; those who are lucky enough to pursue their interests in practice, using their experience to add some elements to the edifice of scientific knowledge. They are renowned experts who know everything about their fields of study and who have summarized the essence of their knowledge in short essays.

The collection presented is a selection of updated texts that were presented in two Polish editions of Projektor Jagielloński, which enjoyed immense popularity in various circles of readers – scientists themselves, journalists or so-called "ordinary people." I would like to express my deepest hope that the descriptions of research conducted at the Jagiellonian University, which we are proud to present to a much wider group of readers, will not only demonstrate out academic potential but that they will also stimulate childlike curiosity and the joy of satisfying it in the souls of our readers. Let us ask "how?" and "why?" without fear! Such questions create progress, and they enable us to enjoy still newer solutions that make our lives easier, better and more interesting.

I invite you to join the difficult, fascinating, and exciting game of discovering the world!