Professor Michał Zyczkowski was born in Cracow on April 12, 1930. He graduated from the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering of the Cracow University of Technology in 1954, and a year letter he was conferred the degree of PhD. In 1958 he obtained the Diploma of Imperial College in London, and in 1960 the degree of DSc. While he was still a student, in 1952 he started to work at the Cracow University of Technology as an assistant lecturer. He progressed through all the grades of the academic career to be conferred the title of professor in 1962 and the title of full professor in 1969 and since then he has occupied this post at the Institute of Mechanics and Machine Design.
Professor Zyczkowski’s high scientific position was confirmed by him being elected a corresponding member of the Polish Academy of Sciences in 1973, and full member in 1989. Since 1990 he was a full member of the Polish Academy of Art and Sciences. On the 50th anniversary of the Cracow University of Technology he was conferred the status of Doctor Honoris Causa of this university. In 1997 he was elected a foreign member of the Austrian Academy of Sciences.
In the years 1957–58 he studied in the Imperial College in London. He was invited as a visiting professor by various renowned institutions abroad: University of Massachusetts, Amherst 1971/72, Universität Bochum 1980, University of Liverpool 1983, Joint Research Centre, Ispra Varese 1988/91.
Professor Michał Zyczkowski was a member of many foreign and Polish scientific institutions: GAMM–Fachausschuss Materialteorie (member); IUTAM Solid Mechanics Symposia Panel 1984–92 (member of team); EUROMECH corresponding member for Poland 1975–95 (one of five); Polish Society of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics (since 1958, founding member, member of the Board of the Cracow Division, President of the Cracow Division and Vicepresident of the Main Board); Commission of the Theoretical and Applied Mechanics of the Cracow Division of the Polish Academy of Sciences (since 1962, member, Chairman of Section of Mechanics, Chairman of Commission for Applied Mechanics of the Cracow Division); Committee of Mechanics of the Polish Academy of Sciences (since 1966, member, vice-chairman 1984–93); Scientific Board of the Institute of Fundamental Technological Research (IPPT) 1966– 83; Commission for Awards of Division IV of the Polish Academy of Sciences (since 1983).
In the years 1990–91 he contributed to projects run by government institutions as a member of the Committee for Science and Technological Development (later transformed into the State Committee for Scientific Research). Professor Michał Zyczkowski was a member of numerous editorial boards of international and Polish journals such as: Solid Mechanics Archives, 1976– 89, Canada; International Journal of Mechanical Sciences, since 1998, Great Britain; International Journal of Plasticity, 1986–91, USA; Structural Optimization, since 1988, Germany; Acta Mechanica Sinica, since 1990, China; Zeitschrift für Angewandte Matematik und Mechanik, since 1992, Germany; Zeszyty Naukowe Politechniki Krakowskiej (Scientific Bulletins of the Cracow University of Technology), 1962–68; Polska Bibliografia Analityczna Mechaniki, (Polish Analytic Bibliography of Mechanics), IPPT, PAN, 1976–90; Journal of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics, since 1985.
Professor Michał Zyczkowski was extremely active in organising international symposia and conferences: IUTAM Symposium, London 1982 (member of Scientific Board); Polish–German Symposium, Mogilany 1987 (chief organiser); IUTAM Symposium, Melbourne 1988 (member of Scientific Board); CISM Course, Udine 1988 (organiser); IUTAM Symposium "Creep in Structures" Cracow 1990 (chief organiser); International Symposium on Plasticity, Grenoble 1991 (member of Scientific Board); International Workshop "Trefftz Method", Cracow 1996 (member of Organising Committee); 2nd International Congress of Structural and Multidisciplinary Optimisation, Zakopane 1997 (member of Scientific Board); EUROMECH 385, Aachen 1998 (member of Scientific Board); IUTAM Symposium "Creep in Structures V" Nagoya 2000 (member of Scientific Board); Polish Conferences of Mechanics of Solids, many times (member of Scientific Boards).
In his work at the University he devoted particularly much time to young research staff, sharing his knowledge and experience with them. His role in this field was exceptional. He supervised twenty nine PhD dissertation, eleven DScs, seven of whom became professors (including corresponding member of the Polish Academy of Sciences and a member of the Polish Academy of Arts and Sciences). Three of his PhDs hold positions of professors in the USA, Canada, Puerto Rico.
Professor Michał Zyczkowski reviewed thirty five DSc dissertations and fifty five PhD dissertations. He also prepared forty reviews for the title and degree of professor. He ran numerous series of lectures abroad (Dresden, Hannover, Amherst, Udine, Rio de Janeiro).
Professor Michał Zyczkowski’s scientific and research achievements are imposing. He wrote three books, he was a co-author or editor of ten books, nearly 200 scientific publications. The field of scientific interest in mechanics of solids, and in particular the theory of plasticity, rheology, stability and optimal design of structures. Many of his works occurred to be pioneering and cover the problems of optimal design of structures under combined loads in the elastic–plastic range. He was first to introduce the idea of a decohesive carrying capacity into the theory of ideal plasticity and elasto–plastic structures. His works on the stability of structures under following and other nonconservative combined loads are also innovatory. He created a new field of research in the range of optimal design of structures under creep conditions.
In his last years he became interested in biomechanics. From among professor Zyczkowski’s books the following should be highlighted: Combined Loadings in the Theory of Plasticity , PWN–Nijhoff 1981, which is unique book on the world scale. Other extremely valuable items include: Obciazenia złozone w teorii plastycznosci (in Polish) Biblioteka Mechaniki Stosowanej, IPPT PAN–PWN Warszawa 1973; monograph Optimal Structural Design under Stability Constrains , Kluwer Academic Publishers Dordrecht–Boston–London 1988. Since 1986 professor Zyczkowski was the chairman of the Editorial Committee of the monumental work: The Technical Mechanics Encyclopedia; the 9th volume The Strength of Structural Elements by professor Michał Zyczkowski was published in 1989, PWN Warszawa (English Option Elsevier 1991).
His achievements in teaching are outstanding. His lectures, in which he always included the latest developments in science, were highly appreciated by his students. He presented even the most difficult problems in a clear and comprehensible way, making them intelligible to the listener. It was his initiative to start in 1990, as the first one in Poland, the degree of Computer Mechanics at the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering. At present it is an interfaculty course. Owing to the high level of the course he guaranteed, many graduates became the research staff members with PhD and DSc degrees at the Cracow University of Technology. Some of the diploma projects were realised abroad, e.g. CERN or TU Hamburg, where several of professor Zyczkowski’s PhD holders are employed.
Apart from his research, he was always actively involved in the life of Cracow University of Technology. In the years 1960–66 he occupied the post of Vice- Dean, while in the term 1981–82 the post of Dean of the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering. Since 1973 he headed the Institute of Mechanics and Machine Design. For many terms of office he was a member of Academic Senate, heading many commissions for Staff Developments and Foreign Co-operation.
Professor Michał Zyczkowski was granted many awards for his achievements, including the award of the Minister for Science and Higher Education, award of Division IV of the Polish Academy of Sciences, award of the Secretary for Research of the Polish Academy of Sciences. He was honoured with many distinctions, including Officer Cross in the Polish Revival Order, Komandor Cross of the Polish Revival Order and Medal of the National Education Commission.
In the scientific circles Professor Michał Zyczkowski was an unquestionable scientific and moral authority. With his personality he exerted a strong influence on the life of the Institute, Faculty and the University. His extremely high rank in science on an international scale raises the position of the academic community of which he was an eminent number.
Professor Michał Zyczkowski had been married since 1959. A model head of family, he raised and educated four children and was a grandfather of ten grandchildren.
Michał Zyczkowski passed away on May 24, 2006 leaving behind great
contribution to Science and Education both in Poland and beyond the
boarders. He will remain in our memory forever.
edition: April5, 2010 by Jan Życzkowski
back to Michal Życzkowski Pro Memoria page