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07-20-2016

Clarkson University Mourns Death of Egon Matijevic

Clarkson University's oldest and longest serving active, full-time faculty member, Egon Matijevic, passed away early this morning at the age of 94. He had recently been named the Victor K. LaMer Professor Emeritus for his 59 years of exemplary service to the University.

Egon MatijevicRenowned among alumni as a maestro in the lecture hall and among his peers world-wide for his scientific virtuosity, Matijevic's contributions to Clarkson are legendary. He inspired excellence in the laboratory, the classroom and in life. As a world-renowned researcher with numerous publications and patents to his name, he defied convention among his higher education peers and led the Clarkson faculty to always place students first.

"Clarkson University had the honor and great fortune to serve as the home of Professor Egon Matijevic and his scientific research for nearly six decades," said President Tony Collins. "Egon left an indelible mark on Clarkson through his leadership in research and his dedication to teaching. His discoveries and international reputation in colloid and surface chemistry brought great recognition to our University, while at the same time he shared his great knowledge with thousands of our students. Egon was a demanding professor who held his students to the highest standards, but who was always fair and encouraged them to learn."

Egon Matijevic was born on April 27, 1922, in Otocac, Croatia. He received his bachelor of science degree in chemical engineering from the University of Zagreb in 1944, Ph.D. in chemistry in 1948 and doctor habil in 1952.

Matijevic began his career at Clarkson in 1957 as a post-doctoral fellow, following a year as a research fellow at Cambridge University in England. In 1965, he established the Institute of Colloid and Surface Science, the first of its kind in the U.S. and a precursor to the Center for Advanced Materials Processing, thereby establishing Clarkson as preeminent in the field of colloid and surface science.

The field of colloid and surface science deals with materials whose dimensions are larger than molecules, but not large enough to see in a light microscope. These exceedingly fine particles are present as interstellar dust, volcanic ash, fog, and in parts of our blood, and are useful in numerous applications, especially high technology and medicine.

Matijevic was considered a brilliant scholar whose prolific and inspired research helped shape the modern field of colloid and surface science. His techniques for preparing fine particles, uniform in size and shape, have applications in products like the capacitors used in microelectronics, magnetic memories, and the ceramics used in electronic components.

His research focused on synthesizing minute particles with precise shapes, sizes and composition, and studying their properties. Through his synthesis techniques, he created particles that met specific requirements, and the effects of his groundbreaking research were far reaching.

Some applications are medical, such as drug particles of uniform size that deliver a medication more quickly and consistently, or asthma medication that aerosolizes more effectively. Some applications take advantage of the diverse optical properties of different particle sizes, shapes and composition, and involve pigments for color filters, printer inks and paper whiteners.

His research interests included colloid stability, interactions of colloids with complex solutes, adsorption from solutions, inorganic precipitations, monodispersed inorganic and polymer colloids, particle adhesion, colloid aspects of ceramics, interfacial aspects of corrosion, aerosols, medical diagnostics of fine particles, nanostructures, chemical mechanical polishing, and many other areas.

Matijevic received many honors nationally and internationally and was the only individual to receive all three major awards of the American Chemical Society in his field of colloid chemistry: The Kendall Award (1972), the Langmuir Distinguished Lecturer Award (1985), and the Ralph K. Iler Award (1993). He was also honored with the Thomas-Graham Award in 1985, the highest prize of the oldest colloidal society in the world, Germany's Kolloid Gesellschaft.

He received honorary degrees at universities worldwide, including Lehigh University, Maria Curie-Sklodowska University, the University of Zagreb, the National University of San Martin, the University of Ljubljana, and Clarkson University.

Matijevic published 581 papers and held 17 patents. As a mentor, Matijevic instructed 15,000 undergraduate students and advised more than 50 Ph.D. candidates, 50 M.S. students, and 130 postdoctoral scholars. He delivered more than 70 plenary and keynote lectures at meetings and symposia in dozens of countries worldwide, including the prestigious Faraday Discourse at the Royal Institution in London.

Most recently, Matijevic had been focused on developing uniform drug particles. In 2012, he edited and contributed a chapter to a new book, Fine Particles in Medicine and Pharmacy.

Clarkson University educates the leaders of the global economy. One in five alumni already leads as an owner, CEO, VP or equivalent senior executive of a company. With its main campus located in Potsdam, New York, and additional graduate program and research facilities in the Capital Region and Beacon, N.Y., Clarkson is a nationally recognized research university with signature areas of academic excellence and research directed toward the world's pressing issues. Through more than 50 rigorous programs of study in engineering, business, arts, education, sciences and the health professions, the entire learning-living community spans boundaries across disciplines, nations and cultures to build powers of observation, challenge the status quo and connect discovery and innovation with enterprise.

[A photograph for media use is available http://www.clarkson.edu/news/photos/matijevic2012.jpg .]

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Annie Harrison, Director of Media Relations, at 315-268-6764 or aharrison@clarkson.edu.]

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