In Memoriam. Rolands Rikards (15.12.1942–02.02.2022)

It is with great sadness that we report the death of Rolands Rikards, a respected scientist, professor and politician. He passed away on February 2, 2022 at the age of 79. A funeral service will be held at Riga Crematorium on Wednesday, February 9, 2022 at 12:00.

Rolands Rikards was born on December 15, 1942 in Riga. In 1966 he graduated from Riga Polytechnic Institute. From 1966 to 1981 he worked at the Polymer Mechanical Institute as a leading researcher.

In 1970, Rolands Rikards defended his Candidate of Technical Sciences degree and continued his work at Riga Polytechnic Institute as an assistant professor at the Department of Resistance of Materials.

Rolands Rikards defended his doctoral degree in technical sciences in 1983 at Moscow Institute of Electronics Engineering. A few years later, he became a professor at the Department of Strength of Materials.

From 1994, Rolands Rikards was a professor at the Faculty of Civil Engineering of Riga Technical University (RTU). In 2001, he was assigned the duties of the Director of the RTU Institute of Materials and Structures.

From 1990 to 1992, Rolands Rikards was the editor of the Baltic co-operation magazine Revue Baltique.

In 1997, he became a full member of the Latvian Academy of Sciences.

Rolands Rikards’ research interests were related to the mechanics of composite and polymer materials, optimisation and identification of material properties, fracture mechanics of composite materials, shell theory and finite element method.

He is the author of more than 300 scientific papers, including five monographs.

Rolands Rikards cared about the future of Latvia. In 1988, he was one of the founders of the support group of the Popular Front of Latvia at Riga Polytechnic Institute. From 1990 to 1993, he was a member of the Supreme Council. As one of the four original authors of the Declaration ‘On the Restoration of Independence of the Republic of Latvia’ adopted on May 4, 1990, he has made an invaluable contribution to the rebirth of independent Latvia.

Rolands Rikards worked on The Law on the Restoration of Citizenship of the Republic of Latvia, The Law on Immigration, the Constitutional Law on Human and Civil Rights and The Saeima Election Law (on Elections to the 5th Saeima). He was active in the European Movement in Latvia. From 1993 to 1994, Rolands Rikards was an adviser to the Minister of Justice of the Republic of Latvia Egils Levits.

Rolands Rikards was awarded The Commemorative Medal for Participants of the Barricades of 1991. In 1996, he received the Friedrich Cander Prize for his research in the mechanics of composite materials. In 1997, he was awarded the Medal of Honour, the First Class, of the Order of the Three Stars for his merits in scientific work. In 2000, Rolands Rikards also received the Order of the Three Stars the Third Class.

Latvian science has suffered a heavy loss, the life of a bright scientist and politician is over. Riga Technical University expresses its deepest condolences to Rolands Rikards’ relatives, friends and colleagues.