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In memoriam: Kimmo Silvonen (1957–2023)

Senior University Lecturer Kimmo Silvonen’s career at Helsinki University of Technology and Aalto University spanned over 40 years. For the last 10 years, he was known especially as the father figure of the Electrical Engineering Workshop, which is familiar to all bachelor’s-level students of electrical engineering.
Kimmo Silvonen. Kuva: Aalto-yliopisto / Aino Huovio
Photo: Kimmo Silvonen in the final presentation of the Electrical Engineering Workshop, 2013. Photo: Aalto University / Aino Huovio

Senior University Lecturer Kimmo Silvonen, who recently retired from the University, has passed away suddenly. His career at the Helsinki University of Technology and Aalto University spanned over 40 years, and he was responsible for teaching the basics of electronics to more than 10,000 students from every school at Aalto University. 

Kimmo moved to Otaniemi in 1977, and soon discovered a passion for circuits and networks during his first year of study. His attention then turned to electronics, as he already had previous experience in the field as a hobbyist. Soon, he found that he enjoyed his work as a class assistant so much that he decided to focus his career on teaching. Kimmo’s first field was theoretical electrical engineering, and he later served as an assistant and provided extensive instruction in electrical engineering to students from other schools. Kimmo began his career in lecturing in 1991 and wrote several textbooks that provided a comprehensive look into the fascinating world of electrical engineering. He was well-liked as a teacher, and he received Helsinki University of Technology’s Textbook Award in 2003 and was elected Teacher of the Year at the Aalto University School of Electrical Engineering in 2011.

In his research, Kimmo’s fascination with the calibration methods used in circuit analysers led to a doctoral thesis, which he completed in 1999. He also wrote several international publications and held numerous conference presentations on this topic.

Kimmo was a committed colleague who maintained his enthusiasm for his work year after year. We never heard him complain about how much he had on his plate, and his willingness to listen to his students’ thoughts and wishes was in a class of its own. When you talked to Kimmo, you knew that everything would always work out. For the last 10 years, he was known especially as the father figure of the Electrical Engineering Workshop, which is familiar to all bachelor’s-level students of electrical engineering. The education of future School of Electrical Engineering generations will be built on Kimmo’s much-lauded legacy.

In addition to his career, Kimmo was a near-professional moth enthusiast. After his summer holidays, Kimmo would often tell us about the weeks he spent in the Siberian wilderness collecting moth larvae, and he even occasionally brought jars of them to campus, to feed them if some food plant was more readily available there than near his home. 

Kimmo’s passing is a huge loss, especially for his wife, whom he met during his studies, as well as their three children. We wish to extend our deepest condolences to Kimmo’s family, friends and all who knew him well.

Martti Valtonen
Professor Emeritus 

Anu Lehtovuori
Senior University Lecturer
Deputy Head of the Department of Electronics and Nanoengineering 

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