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Biographical Memoirs: Volume 90
April 27, 1922–February 6, 1995
BY PURNELL W. CHOPPIN
IGOR TAMM, VIROLOGIST, CELL BIOLOGIST and pioneer in studies of virus replication and the chemical inhibition of such replication, died at the age of 72 on February 6, 1995, at his home in Watch Hill, Rhode Island, of a chronic lung disease that he had battled with characteristic quiet courage and without complaint for over 50 years. He was born on April 27, 1922, in Tapa, Estonia. He attended the State English College in Tallinn, Estonia, from 1939 to 1944 and the Tartu University Medical Faculty in Tartu, Estonia, from 1942 to 1943. His father, an architect, died when Tamm was young. Igor’s mother, who came to the United States after him, spent a number of years associated with the American Geographical Society.
As a young boy Tamm had lived under both the German and Soviet occupations of Estonia. In 1943, after the word went out that Estonian teenagers were to be taken into the German army and sent to the Russian front, he and a fellow medical student escaped in a small boat, which they sailed late at night through the German blockade to Finland. Finland was at that time occupied, so they stowed away in the coal storage area of a freighter for several days until it arrived in Sweden. Soon after emerging from the ship, he