The Lithuanian chemist, historian of science and philosopher, Professor Juozas Algimantas Krikštopaitis, died in Vilnius on 10 November 2018. He was born in Kaunas on 13 March 1931. Krikštopaitis began his scientific career at the Semiconductor Physics Institute in Vilnius, where he worked from 1965–1978 doing important research on the chemistry of semiconductors.
In the early 1970s, he became interested in the history and philosophy of science and began to collaborate with the Vilnius University professor of astronomy and historian of Lithuanian science Paulius Slavėnas as well as other well-known researchers in that field. From 1978, he worked at the Lithuanian Science Academy’s Institute of Philosophy, Sociology and Law, which reorganized and changed its name in 2011 to the Lithuanian Culture Research Institute.
Krikštopaitis was a charter member of the Senate (1989-1998) of the re-established Vytautas Magnus University in Kaunas. He taught at Vytautas Magnus University, the Kaunas University of Technology and the Lithuanian University of Educational Sciences in Vilnius. He lectured and gave talks at universities and other academic institutions in Europe, Asia, and the Americas. After 1990, he was able to publish his work in the West – the United States, Italy, Finland, Sweden and Germany – and to participate in international congresses and conferences.
Krikštopaitis was head of the Lithuanian Association of the History and Philosophy of Science from 1991, and on a rotating basis was elected chair or vice-chair of the Baltic Association of the History and Philosophy of Science. He organized many national and international scholarly conferences.
Krikštopaitis was the author of about twenty books in the fields of the history of science, philosophy, and culture studies, as well as of over 500 scientific, scholarly, and popular articles and reviews. In one of his latest books, Išmintis, atsiverianti pažinimo kelyje [Wisdom gained on the path to knowledge; Vilnius, 2013], he summarized his research and some of the greatest achievements in world science, positively evaluating scientific knowledge and its role in the development of civilization.
Juozas Algimantas Krikštopaitis was a public man who fostered Lithuanian culture, actively participated in cultural events and programs, wrote a great deal for the cultural journal Naujoji Romuva and other cultural publications, and engaged with both the Lithuanian cultural elite and ordinary people in the regions. His public appearances and lectures were met with heartfelt gratitude and appreciation by his colleagues and his listeners, who admired his very sharp mind and depth of knowledge.
[Photo by G. Zemlickas]