Patron Vitauts Tamužs (1935–2019) was born in Riga on December 2, 1935. Known as an outstanding scientist, inspiring teacher, creator of the Scientific School of Materials Mechanics in Latvia, Head of the Laboratory of the Institute of Polymer Mechanics, University of Latvia and one of the founders of the Department of Electrodynamics and Mechanics of Continuous Media at the Faculty of Physics, Mathematics and Optometry (FPMO).

Tamužs received his first physics education in classical mechanics at Moscow State University, graduating with honours from the Faculty of Physics and Mathematics in 1959, and continued his postgraduate studies there. He soon returned to his homeland to start work at the newly established Institute of Polymer Mechanics. The young physicist defended his doctoral dissertation “Uniqueness and Method for Approximate Solution of Dynamic Problems of Solid Plastic Bodies” at the Latvian Academy of Sciences (LAS) in 1973. Shortly after the restoration of Latvia's independence in 1992, he also became a doctor of engineering sciences.

In science, Vitauts Tamužs dedicated his efforts to research of solid and composite materials, as well as the mechanics of collapse and fatigue. His discoveries and studies have influenced development of materials science on a global scale. When he started working at the Institute of Polymer Mechanics, Tamužs soon became the head of the laboratory, and later the chairman of the scientific council. In his almost sixty years of work, the professor has made a significant contribution to the development of the institute itself, and, moreover – to the development of the material mechanics scientific school in Latvia. In parallel with his research work at the institute, he has taught at the University of Latvia, working with a large number of students, the most talented of whom have now become world-class scientists.

In addition to his academic work at the University of Latvia and Riga Technical University, he has regularly given guest lectures around the world, worked as a visiting professor in America and Germany. Between 1975 and 2000, he authored or co-authored of monographs, published about 300 articles in various scientific periodicals.

The scientific activity of the professor of physics has been celebrated with several awards. These include the LAS Grand Medal for the establishment of the School of Materials Mechanics in Latvia conferred to the scientist in 2008, the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Latvia presented the Certificate of Distinction for outstanding contribution to the development of polymer and composite materials mechanics and the training of highly qualified specialists in 2006, and in 2000 the professor received the LAS and joint-stock company "Grindeks" award for outstanding contribution to the development of polymer and composite materials mechanics and training of the highest qualification specialists. As early as in 1995, his outstanding and long-term contribution to science, technology and fundamental discoveries in mechanical engineering, V. Tamužs earned the title of a full member of the European Academy of Sciences in the Engineering Division. The scientific work of Vitauts Tamužs was also appreciated during the USSR, as evidenced by several awards of the Soviet Union.

In the memories of his contemporaries, Vitauts Tamužs will remain as a researcher with an artist's soul who has loved both science and art in equal measure, always looking for elegance and inner beauty in science. Tamužs himself admitted: “At the time when I left Moscow University, I had acquired a strict and perhaps even shameless belief: I didn’t care how my results relate to reality, but these results had to be internally beautiful and elegant.”

The scientist was endowed with enduring love of life, joy of life, perseverance, relentless curiosity, versatility and a broad view of life, a natural sense of truth and justice, as well as a strong pursuit of his vocation and steadfastness in achieving his goals.

May 2019 saw the release of Elvita Ruka's book “Kāda pētnieka dzīve” (“The Life of a Researcher”), and the author herself describes it as “The Human Portrait of a Scientist”, “compiling the memories of Vitauts Tamužs and his contemporaries and thereby creating a documentarily strong scene of the era and telling about eternal, lasting values”.

V. Tamužs passed away on November 2, 2019 in Riga.


In 2019, V. Tamužs bequeathed a scholarship of EUR 5 000 for the establishment of a fund to the best authors of the international scientific journal "Mechanics of Composite Materials" from among Latvian scientists.

We greatly appreciate the generous support to education and development!