Van Petrovich Pavlov


Life & Research:
Ivan Petrovich Pavlov was born on September 14, 1849 in the village of Ryazan, Russia, the son of Peter Dmitrievich Pavlov, who was the village priest. Like most other children from Ryazan, he went to the Church school, and was later was enrolled in a theological seminary.   It was after reading The Origin of the Species by Charles Darwin, and the works of Russian physiologist I. M. Sechenov that Pavlov decided to abandon his theological studies and become a man of science.   He left the seminary in favour of the University of St-Petersburg, where he enrolled in the Natural Sciences program.
Pavlov realized his favourite subject was that of physiology, and it wasn't long before he that he produced, in tandem with a fellow student, his first paper, a work on The Physiology of the Pancreatic Nerves for which he was awarded a gold medal.   Pavlov completed his course and received the degree of Candidate of Natural Sciences, but not one to rest on his laurels, he went on to study   at the Academy of Medical Surgery where he was awarded another gold medal and later on, a fellowship; in addition to this, Pavlov was also Director of the Physiological Laboratory at the clinic of S. P. Botkin , a famed Russian physician.   It was there he produced his doctoral thesis on The Centrifugal Nerves of the Heart, for which he was later awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine/ physiology (1904).
Pavlov's main area of research throughout his scientific career was on the digestive process. which brought on a series of experiments exploring the correlation between the nervous system and the autonomic functions of the body.   Pavlov experimented with dogs, studying the relationship between salivation and digestion. By applying stimuli to the animals in a variety of ways, using sound, visual, and tactile stimulation, he was able to make the animals salivate whether they were in the presence of food or not; a phenomenon he called the conditioned reflex...