Nature is the Guide

Pehr Victor Edman was born in Stockholm, Sweden, on April 14, 1916. His family lived in the Ostermalm area of Stockholm. His father, Victor Edman, was a judge. On the paternal side, male members of the family had, for generations, served as public officers in state agencies and the armed forces. His father appears to have been a rather serious man and was a devoted Christian. The mother, Alba Edman, was of a more joyous and lively nature. As a boy, Pehr Edman first attended the elementary public school in Stockholm and later high school in "Norra Latin," a school with special emphasis on the humanities. For some reasons, among them a sadistic teacher, he was unhappy there but got a new start at the "Norra Realskolan" where mathematics and the natural sciences were in focus, and luck turned. When discussing this period in his life, Pehr Edman often mentioned a biology teacher, Mr. Ringselle, who seemed to have been instrumental in awakening his interest in nature

2Over the years since his death, a few monographs on Pehr Edman have appeared [1—3]. The present one is partly based on the articles in References 1 and 2.

and in the biological sciences. Edman would often talk with warmth and appreciation about Mr. Ringselle and this time of his life and gave this short description of the man: stout, jovial, and warm. He spent several summers with Mr. Ringselle out on the island of Singo in the northern archipelago of Stockholm, where Mr. Ringselle had a house. Under his expert guidance, Pehr went out for botanical studies, bird watching, or fishing. Pehr Edman's brother tells that he sometimes used to join Pehr on these excursions. He recalls how Pehr could sit for hours watching some natural phenomenon - be it live or dead, organic or inorganic. In the same way Pehr Edman would, later on in life, at times sit for hours at his laboratory bench meticulously watching chemical reactions or physical phenomena. His natural gift of observation and deduction, together with his logical mind and stringency of expression, were apparent already as a boy.

In 1935 Pehr Edman passed his matriculation examination with excellent records. This examination in Sweden is a great step in the career of a young man. On the day of the examination, family and friends would come to school with flowers and gifts. They would wait outside the school for the students to come out after being through with their exams. Pehr Edman's family had to wait in vain. He had left the school through the back door and gone straight home. A tendency towards shyness was another of his qualities, and he certainly disliked pompous performances especially when he himself was at the center of attention.

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