Evolution of Science and Technology / Mokslo ir technikos raida, Vol 1, No 1 (2009)

Adolfas Damušis in the History of Science

Aldona Vasiliauskienė


Professor Adolfas Damušis (16 June 1908–27 February 2003) was a world-famous chemist, inventor (obtained 24 patents for his inventions in the field of polymer chemistry in the USA, Canada, the United Kingdom and France), statesman and public activist. Dr Damušis name was inseparable from the resistance fighters for Lithuania’s independence. He was one of the organizers and leaders of the June revolt in 1941 and the minister of the Provisional Government of Lithuania.
Dr A. Damušis was an academician of the Lithuanian Catholic Academy of Science (1964), a professor of Detroit University (1973), a winner of Stasys Šalkauskis Prize (1981) and an Honorary Doctor of Vytautas Magnus University (1997). A. Damušis was honoured with the award of the Order of St. Silvester (1984) by Pope John Paul II. On 27 September 1994, the Republic of Lithuania decorated him with the Second Class Vytis Cross Order (the first award of this kind in Lithuania after restoring its independence).
A. Damušis did research into limestone in the Jiesia valley near Kaunas, around Skirsnemunė and in the fields of Menčiai, Karpėnai and Vegeriai (next to present day Naujoji Akmenė). The construction of the first cement works in Lithuania was started on the basis of his project, yet it was interrupted by the war and Soviet occupation. Keeping to A. Damušis schemes, cement works were built in another locality later developed into the town of Naujoji Akmenė which became the realization of A. Damušis ideas.
His deserts to Vytautas Magnus University (VMU) for saving its existence are considerable as he managed to preserve the laboratory of war chemistry throughout the Soviet and Nazi occupations. It was shifted from the administrative subordination to the Ministry of Defence to the sub-ordination of the Ministry of Education and, eventually, to VMU. Moreover, Dr Adolfas Damušis, the Dean of the Faculty of Technology, expressed his resolute opposition to the delegate of the German government against the intent to merge VMU into the University of Germany.
On 16 June 1944, Dr A. Damušis was arrested and charged with treason for his anti-Nazi underground activities (one of the chief leaders who was actively involved in organizing the chief body of resistance forces, VLIK, represented the Lithuanian Front and was the vice-president of VLIK in 1943–1944). Like all other detainees, he was to appear before the court. Owing to the adverse development of the war for Germany, the prisoners were transferred from prison to prison until they were freed on 14 April 1945. However, A. Damušis became a forced emigrant.
After two years of work in Germany, he emigrated to the United States and worked for the Shcerwin Williams company (1947–1957), the Basf Wyandotte company (1957–1973) and was the Vice-rector of the Institute of polymers of Detroit University (1973–1983). His major works in chemistry were accomplished in the diaspora: he obtained 24 patents for his inventions, wrote important research projects on industry and the companies he worked for, presented papers in symposiums, workshops, conferences and congresses and published articles. His study on binding agents (1967) was conferred the status of the degree of the international expert. Like many other Lithuanian technicians, engineers and architects he made a weighty contribution to the science of the USA.
By propagating new achievements in the science of chemistry, he contributed to disseminating information about Lithuania suffering from the brutalities of the Soviet occupation at that time and was being drowned in the joint family of the nations of the Soviet Union.
A. Damušis activity in the field of chemistry reveals its multiple character, and therefore calls for further attention and research.


Article in Lithuanian

Article in: Lithuanian

Article published: 2011-04-02

Keyword(s): Adolfas Damušis; doctor; professor; chemist; investigator; scientist; academician; Lithuanian Catholic Academy of Science; Vytautas the Great University; Faculty of Technology

DOI: 10.3846/est.2009.07

Full Text: PDF pdf

Mokslo ir technikos raida - Evolution of Science and Technology ISSN 2029-2430 eISSN 2029-2449