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.