Prof. Krzysztof Jóźwik, Rector of Lodz University of Technology in the term of 2020-2024. Director of the Institute of Turbomachinery. Vice-Rector for Education Affairs in the term of 2008-2012 and 2016-2020 (tenure from January 2020 through August 2020); Head of the Crisis Management Center. He is passionate about culinary arts.
Mr. Rector, your energy and drive are your defining characteristic. Where do you draw your energy from?
I think that I was built this way, I have drive and determination. In work and in life, I am very well organized. I always squeeze the most out of my day. I take care to perform my tasks in the most suitable order. I have always been this way, ever since I was a child. That is how I was brought up. I always did my homework the day it had been given, I never put things off.
I like people and treat them with respect. And to like people you need to like yourself. I enjoy nature and I know how to appreciate the little things. I love my work and it is very rewarding. My enthusiasm and determination comes from the home and the feeling of being accepted by the person closest to me. All of these combined mean that I enjoy what I do, which gives me an additional portion of energy, so to speak.
What interests did you have as a younger man? What had a formative influence on you?
I think that who we are is the consequence of our life experience. When I was a young man a few things happened that prompted me to like doing certain things more than others. In elementary school, I started practicing sports that allowed me to take advantage of my physical traits. First I played handball and then, when I had grown, I took up volleyball. That game requires teamwork yet, at the same time, leaves some room for individualism. The leader must work towards a good, cohesive team. I really got to like volleyball and I have kept it in my life to this day. I think that sport played a big part in forming my character. You need to have a leader in your research work too, but whether you succeed depends on the performance of the entire team.
Another experience that had an impact on my interests was my mother's illness. I was forced to take over some of the household chores and I discovered that I enjoyed making meals. I realized that I had a knack for mixing flavors, which turned into a new hobby - cooking.
In elementary school, in the fifth or sixth grade, it turned out that despite my good grades, I did not score very well in the readership rankings. So to remedy the situation, I started to borrow books, keep them on loan for a while, and then return them unread. Until I came across a series Przygody Tomka Wilmowskiego (Adventures of Tomek Wilmowski) by Alfred Szklarski that caused me to spend any spare time with a book ever since.
A meaningful role during my school years was played by my math teacher at XXV LO, Professor Szymański, who greatly influenced my eventual interest in science. I consider studying either at the Military University of Technology or at Lodz University of Technology, ultimately choosing the latter.
How has your professional career developed at Lodz University of Technology? Have you come across people who had a major impact on your life?
When I was about to graduate from the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, TUL, I wished I could work at Lodz University of Technology. Professor Jan Krysiński offered me a position at the Institute of Turbomachinery. The Professor has always been an inspiration and a role model for me. He has been my mentor. I hold him in high esteem and like to learn his views and opinions. I started working at the Institute of Turbomachinery in 1987 as a design engineer, and in 2007, twenty years later, I took over as the director of the Institute, succeeding professor Jan Krysinski.
You have a great passion for cooking. These days it is quite a trendy pastime. When did your passion develop? What is your showpiece dish?
Cooking became my passion when I had already started my adult, independent life. Access to products from all over the world was so easy enough to allow you to go for culinary experimentation. I like that and I seem to be good at it. I love creating new flavors. I try to reconstruct the dishes I have had the opportunity to taste during my many foreign trips. I have a couple of show-offs. Most often for an appetizer I present dry-fried shrimp cured in white wine with onion and garlic, served with a dip of parsley and olive oil, always topped with a sprinkle of coarse salt or salmon carpaccio, served with honey, mustard, and dill dressing with capers. My choice of soup is tomato soup with fresh tomatoes and noodles from crêpes, with chunks of beef or mango soup with shrimp and finely chopped shallots. As for the main course, I can recommend pork sirloin roasted the Asian way, in red wine marinade, served with purée of your choice or pork loin pockets stuffed with nuts and plums, served with a with pear dip. And for dessert, hot vanilla ice cream with glazed plums and banana, cane sugar and cinnamon.
Professor, it turned out to be quite a large and scrumptious menu. May we hope for a cookbook?
A radio show may be possible. Each of the rectors brought a novel, non-academic element into the life of the university. Perhaps a series "Cooking with the Rector"?
For several years you have been playing volleyball on Team TUL. It is not the only sport you do, is it?
True, I have been playing on the team comprised of TUL staff since 2014. In the 50+ class, we have won two gold medals, while in the open class: the second and third places and a championship. Also in 2014, professor Iwona Szynkowska sold me on taking up windsurfing. I was one of the oldest learners, and yet I mastered the technique of windsurfing pretty quickly. That new passion emerged late in my life, at a mature age, yet it is truly fulfilling now.
How have these leisurely pursuits touched your life?
All the passions have in one way or another imprinted on my life, my imagination, my sense of collective and goal-oriented effort. I try to make sure that I have opportunities to enjoy small stuff like food. I do not neglect physical activity. If I do not have a chance to play volleyball, I take a walk in the woods in my free time. I really enjoy mushroom picking. Reading is also an important pastime for me. Doubtless, any activity that requires good organization translates into success in professional life which I am also passionate about. And good organization of efforts in the individual pursuits is converted into positive emotions.
Leisurely pursuits I am passionate about, work, and life permeate each other deeply, which as long as you are able to find joy in it, it makes you happy and fulfilled.