He became a doctor of chemistry when Evert Taube was awarded an honorary doctorate. Bo Lamm is the jubilee doctor who 50 years ago was the first person to defend his doctor’s thesis in chemistry at the University of Gothenburg. Previously, dissertations in chemistry were defended at Chalmers.
He was 31 years old when he received his doctorate in 1966, the same year Evert Taube was an honorary doctorate.
‘I remember that Evert Taube appreciated the distinction very much’, Bo Lamm says. ‘The conferrer of doctorates then was a Latin professor, and he gave a long speech in Latin to Taube, who I actually believe understood it because he spoke Provençal.’
Lamm began his studies in Lund in 1953, and after receiving a bachelor’s degree, he moved to the Nobel Institute of Chemistry in Stockholm.
‘When my supervisor, Lars Melander, became professor of organic chemistry at the University of Gothenburg, I moved with him to Gothenburg, where my doctoral work was carried out.’
After his doctoral degree, he starting working at Hässle, which is now Astra Zeneca, and from 1967 to 1969 Lamm served as head of the chemical laboratory there. But he preferred research and got a position as a senior lecturer in 1970 at the joint Chemistry Department of Chalmers and the University of Gothenburg.
‘I have also helped lay the foundation for the Chemistry Department at the University of Gothenburg. After serving as the University’s senior lecturer at Chalmers and as a part-time professor at the University of Gothenburg, I returned in the 1980s to Hässle as senior scientist. I did not leave Astra Zeneca until I was 70.’
Bo Lamm has mainly been engaged in three areas. His doctoral work dealt with kinetic reaction rates.
‘Later I worked with organic electrochemistry for a long time. I suppose that was the most fun of all. Electrochemistry can be used in many areas. For example, it has been used in nylon production. It’s extremely good from an environmental point of view because electrochemistry is free of by-products and unnecessary emissions can be limited.’
The third area Lamm engaged in is preparative liquid chromatography.
‘This is a separation method that allows you to distinguish different substances when they move at different speeds — in a column of silica gel, for example — and are divided up in different colours. But, of course, I have also taught both undergraduate courses and doctoral courses and supervised doctoral students.’