100th Anniversary of Prof. Algirdas Matukonis

From the student of the gymnasium to the professor

7 October marks 100 years from the birth of the engineer-technologist, textile specialist, professor, habilitated doctor of science, KTU Honorary Professor Algirdas Matukonis. He was born in the family of a teacher and lost his mother early in life but it did not break him; he tried to help his father and aimed for high academic achievements. In 1933, he graduated from Leipalingis Progymnasium,  and in 1937, he graduated from Alytus Gymnasium with a gold medal. In 1937–1943, he studied at the Technical Faculty (since 1940 – the Technological Faculty) of Vytautas Magnus University. Since the beginning of his studies, he was an active member of the male student association “Plienas”. In 1940–1942, A. Matukonis was the chairman of the main choir of the University and until 1944 – a member of the student vocal quartet which was famous in Lithuania and led by L. Jarošekas. In 1943, he graduated from the University with honours and in 1944, at the invitation of the dean of the Technological Faculty of VDU and the head of the department prof. J. Indriūnas, A. Matukonis began working as a senior lecturer at the Textile Technology Department of Kaunas National Vytautas Magnus University. In 1950, he defended the doctoral candidate (currently – doctor) dissertation in technical sciences and in 1964, a doctoral (currently – habilitated doctor) dissertation. Besides the pedagogical work, he was interested in heterogenic textiles and began actively researching their mechanical properties. A. Matukonis was the first one in Lithuania to create and apply special electronic tensiometric equipment and methodologies for this research. The publications of his research results in the SSRS and foreign scientific press, presentations at scientific conferences attracted great interest and received a positive evaluation. In 1966, was awarded the scientific title of the professor. In 1962–198, he was the head of the Textile Technology Department at the Light Industry Faculty of KPI. In 1965, he was awarded the title of the honoured scientist and technologist of the Lithuania SSR.  In 1965 and 1979, he and his co-authors received the Republican Prizes of the Lithuanian SSR. Prof. A. Matukonis prepared and published 4 monographs (one of them is translated into the Chinese language and published in China). He and his co-authors prepared 4 textbooks, two explanatory dictionaries (for the terminology of textile and fine art).  He published more than 340 scientific papers in Lithuanian and foreign publications, mostly on the topics of textile technology and materials science. He (and his co-authors) made 11 inventions. He cherished the Lithuanian language, was attentive to technical terminology, created quite a few terms that are now strongly established and used in scientific and industrial terminology.

Keeper of the University Traditions

When Lithuania won its independence, prof. A. Matukonis enthusiastically joined the creation of the traditions of Kaunas University of Technology – in 1992–2001, he was the chairman of the Commission for Traditions and Celebrations at KTU Senate and since 2001 – a member of this commission. Thanks to this commission, some pre-war traditions were revived and new traditions were created. Prof. A. Matukonis contributed to the restoration of the male student association “Plienas”, the commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the University of Lithuania and preservation of the history of KTU. Until 16 September 1994, A. Matukonis worked as a professor at the Textile Technology Department of the Light Industry Faculty of KPI and in 1991–2001, he was the expert member of the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences.

In 1997,  prof. A. Matukonis received the Fifth Class Order of the Grand Duke Gediminas of Lithuania, in 2001, he and his co-authors were awarded the Lithuanian Science Prize for their works “Theory of Design, Analysis and Prognosis of Properties in Textile Products (1980–2000)” In 2000, the title of the honorary professor of Kaunas University of Technology was awarded to A. Matukonis, since 2001, he is the emeritus professor of KTU. The research works of prof. A. Matukonis were also recognised in Latvia – in 1996, he was awarded the title of the honorary doctor of Riga Technical University. A. Matukonis died on 20 June 2013. He is buried in Petrašiūnai Cemetery in Kaunas.