I.P. Pavlov (Soviet period)

The path traversed by Soviet science in the period of its formation, its problems and successes were reflected in the fate of I.P. Pavlov, one of the greatest scientists in the world and the greatest physiologist of the 20th century.

Ivan Petrovich Pavlov (1849-1936, see p. 376) – at that time the only Nobel Prize winner in the country and an honorary member of 87 foreign and domestic academies, universities and scientific societies – enthusiastically welcomed February 1917, but October 1917 he did not accept the city, because he was “deeply convinced that the social and political experience being carried out over Russia is doomed to indispensable failure” 2 .

The First World War and especially the civil war in Russia greatly complicated the work of IP Pavlov. The money he received as a Nobel Prize disappeared as the bank was expropriated 3 . Experimental animals had nothing to feed. The employees were starving.

On June 12, 1920, I.P. Pavlov appealed to the Council of People’s Commissars with a request “to find me a place outside my homeland, where I could get enough food with my wife and without interference continue my scientific work, which I dare to consider very important and on which my brain is still quite capable of…” 4 . I.P. Pavlov believed that his work, “as a scientific one, is precisely

1 For details see: 1) Vengrova I.V., Shilinis Yu.A. Social hygiene in the USSR (essay on the history
rii) / Under. ed. B.D. Petrova. — M.: Medicine, 1976; 2) Ministers of Health: Essays
history of health care in Russia in the XX century / Ed. O.P. Shchepina. – M .: Research Institute im. N.A.Se
Mashko RAMN, 1999. – S. 334-349.

2 Grigoryan N.A. Ivan Petrovich Pavlov. 1849-1936. Scientist. Citizen. Humanist. – M .: On
uka, 1999. – S. 143.

3 Nozdrachev A. D., Maryanovich A. T., Polyakov E. L. and other Nobel Prizes in Physiology or
medicine for 100 years. – 2nd ed. – St. Petersburg: Humanistics, 2003. – P. 48.

4 Esakov V. …And Academician Pavlov stayed in Russia // Science and Life. – 1989. – No. 9. – P. 78.

universal, international, and not specifically Russian, ”and dreamed of bringing it to its logical conclusion.

On June 25, 1920, V.I. Lenin sent a well-known letter to the chairman of the Petrograd Executive Committee, G.E. Zinoviev, which said:

“The famous physiologist Pavlov asks to go abroad because of his difficult financial situation. It is hardly rational to let Pavlov go abroad …

Meanwhile, this scientist is of such great cultural value that it is impossible to allow him to be forcibly retained in Russia under the condition of material insecurity.

In view of this, it would be desirable, as an exception, to provide him with an excess ration and, in general, to take care of a more or less comfortable environment for him, unlike others.

I heard that in Petrograd rest houses life is very favorable for those who live there. Something similar could be done for Professor Pavlov at his apartment .

In early October 1920, H.G. Wells, who met with I.P. Pavlov in Petrograd, wrote: “Pavlov is still continuing his remarkable research – in an old coat, in an office littered with potatoes and carrots, which he grows in his spare time” 2 . In those days, the foreign press was already discussing Pavlov’s petition, but in a conversation with G. Wells, there was no talk of him.

Information that I.P. Pavlov would like to continue his research abroad reached the Karolinska Medical and Surgical Institute, which awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. On November 9, 1920, the Swedish Red Cross, sending a wagonload of medicines to Petrograd, included in a cover letter addressed to V.I. Lenin a request to allow I.P. his great researches” 3 . The letter emphasized that “this idea originated in the scientific community of the Nobel Prize-giving Institute and was taken up by the Swedish Red Cross; Professor Pavlov knows nothing about her” 4 .

Three months later, on February 2, 1921, V.I. Lenin signed a response to a letter from the Central Committee of the Board of the Swedish Red Cross:

“The humane assistance in the form of sending various medicines, offered by the Swedish Red Cross to the patients of the Petrograd Commune, was accepted by the Government of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic with sincere gratitude. However, to its regret, the Russian Soviet government is forced to reject the request of the Central Committee of the Swedish Red Cross to move Professor Pavlov to Sweden for scientific work, since at present the Soviet Republic has entered a period of intensive economic construction, which requires the exertion of all the spiritual and creative forces of the country and necessitates the effective promotion and cooperation of such

1 Lenin V. I. PSS. – T. 51. – 5th ed. – M.: Politizdat, 1970. – S. 222.

2 Wells G. Russia in the dark. – M .: Gospolitizdat., 1959. – S. 28.

3 Grigoryan N.A. Ivan Petrovich Pavlov. 1849-1936. Scientist. Citizen. Humanist. – M .: On
uka, 1999. – S. 144.

4 Esakov V. …And Academician Pavlov stayed in Russia // Science and Life. – 1989. – No. 9. – S. 79 – 80.

outstanding scientists like Professor Pavlov … Now that the military attacks of all the enemies of Russia have been repulsed and mutual ties with the countries of Western Europe are again gradually but steadily established, there is hope that the necessary conditions will be created for the development and application of Russian science.

On January 24, 1921, a resolution of the Council of People’s Commissars “On the conditions ensuring the scientific work of Academician I.P. Pavlov and his employees” was adopted. Here is his text:

“Taking into account the absolutely exceptional scientific merits of Academician I.P. Pavlov, which are of great importance for the working people of the whole world, the Council of People’s Commissars decided:

1. To form, on the basis of the recommendation of the Petrosoviet, a special Commission with
broad powers in the following composition: comrade. M. Gorky, Head of High
shim educational institutions of Petrograd comrade. Christie and Member of the Board of Management
leniya of the Petrosoviet comrade. Capon, which to instruct in the shortest possible time to create the most
more favorable conditions for ensuring the scientific work of Academician Pavlov and his

2. Instruct the State Publishing House in the best printing house of the Republic to print
chat with a luxurious edition of a scientific work prepared by Academician Pavlov, his own
presenting the results of his scientific work over the past 20 years, and leave it to the academic
com I.P. Pavlov the ownership of this work, both in Russia and abroad

3. To instruct the Commission on Work Supply to provide Academician Pavlov and
his wife a special ration, equal in calories to two academic rations;

4. Instruct the Petrograd Soviet to provide Professor Pavlov and his wife with life imprisonment
use of the apartment they occupy and furnish it and the laboratory of the academician
Pavlova with maximum comfort.

Chairman of the Council of People’s Commissars Vl. Ulyanov (Lenin)” 2 .

I. P. Pavlov gladly accepted help for the physiological department, which he headed at the Institute of Experimental Medicine (IEM), but flatly refused enhanced food rations, considering it unacceptable for himself “to be in a privileged position, compared with close comrades.” (It is well known that in difficult times for the country, the most valuable dogs for the experiment were fed at the expense of the academic ration of Pavlov and his laboratory staff.)

In 1923, “Twenty Years of Objective Study of the Higher Nervous Activity (Behavior) of Animals” was published, bringing together reports, articles, lectures, and speeches by IP Pavlov over 20 years (1903-1923). In 1927, his famous “Lectures on the work of the cerebral hemispheres” were published. These classic works were the result of many years of work by the largest physiologist in the world, who created the doctrine of higher nervous activity.

In December 1925, the physiological laboratory of the IEM of the USSR Academy of Sciences, headed by I.P. Pavlov, was transformed into the Institute of Physiology of the USSR Academy of Sciences (now the I.P. Pavlov Physiological Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences). Three soundproof chambers were built for scientific experiments. In the 1930s Pavlov’s work was generously financed. Nevertheless, to improve the situation of employees, there was a personal bonus Pavlov Fund.

1 Lenin V.I. PSS. T. 52. – 5th ed. – M.: Politizdat, 1970. – S. 302-303.

2 Lenin V.I. PSS. T. 42. – S. 262 – 263.

In difficult years, IEM “earned” money by supplying digestive juices for scientific, educational and medical purposes.

On the initiative of IP Pavlov, in 1923 a biological station was established in Koltushi, 12 km from Petrograd. Initially, it was conceived as a nursery for keeping and breeding animals outside the city. In 1933, the construction of the first stone laboratory building of the station was completed. Over time, it grew into a large scientific laboratory for the study of the physiology and pathology of higher nervous activity (HVD), and in 1939 – into the Institute of Evolutionary Physiology and Pathology of the VVD. Koltushi has gained worldwide fame as the “capital of conditioned reflexes” – the scientific center of genetics, physiology and pathology of VID.

Pavlov’s work was the first to show that conditioned reflexes are produced in the cerebral cortex . This made it possible to experimentally study the activity of the cerebral cortex in normal and pathological conditions. The result of these studies was the creation of the doctrine of higher nervous (mental) activity – one of the greatest achievements of natural science in the 20th century.

Pavlov’s doctrine of VID made it possible to explain the essence of the four temperaments, which before him were interpreted from the standpoint of the humoral teachings of the ancient Greeks. Based on the ratio of the processes of excitation and inhibition in the central nervous system, Pavlov gave an experimentally substantiated classification of temperaments: a sanguine person is a strong, balanced, mobile type; phlegmatic – the type is strong, balanced, inactive; choleric – strong, unbalanced type; melancholic is a weak type. At the same time, Pavlov highly valued the empirical genius of the ancients: “on the question of temperaments, universal human empiricism, led by a brilliant observer of human beings – Hippocrates … came closest to the truth … The Greek genius in the person (individual or collective) of Hippocrates caught in the mass of innumerable variants of human behavior, the capital features” 1 .

IP Pavlov considered himself a second generation of Russian physiologists. He considered I. M. Sechenov to be the founder of Russian physiology, who “truly could be called the father of Russian physiology. Before him, a professor of physiology was only a teacher … Ivan Mikhailovich Sechenov became, first of all, the most important figure in science, laying the foundation for one of the most important departments of the nervous system – the doctrine of the phenomena of retention ”(i.e. Sechenov’s inhibition – approx. T.S.) 2 .

“… I am glad,” I.P. Pavlov wrote in 1934, “that together with Ivan Mikhailovich and a regiment of my dear colleagues, we have acquired for the mighty power of physiological research, instead of a half-hearted, indivisible animal organism. And this is entirely our Russian indisputable merit in world science, in general human thought .

In August 1935, the XV International Physiological Congress was held in our country, the president of which was I.P. Pavlov (Fig. 243). Arriving-

1 Pavlov I.P. Poly. coll. op. T. 3. Book. 2. – M.; L .: Publishing House of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR, 1951. – S. 85 and 280.

2 Unpublished and little-known materials of IP Pavlov. – L .: Nauka 1975. – S. 11.

3 Pavlov I.P. Poly. coll. op. T. 1. – M.; L .: Publishing House of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR, 1951. – S. 13.

33 Soro

eminent physiologists from the USA, Canada, England and other European countries, who addressed him, recognized I.P. Pavlov as “the first physiologist of the world” (Latin facile princeps physiologorum mundi).

Rice. 243. Ivan Petrovich Pavlov – President of the XV International Physiological Congress. Moscow, 1935

Opening this first International Congress of Physiologists in our country, I. P. Pavlov said: “Our government is now providing extremely large funds for scientific work and attracting a lot of young people to science, and the spectacle of world scientific work in the faces of these young people should have a huge exciting effect . … We, so different, however, are now united and aroused by an ardent interest in our common life task. We are all good comrades, even in many cases bound together by obvious friendly feelings. We are obviously working towards a rational final unification of mankind…” 1 .

In 1935, I.P. Pavlov wrote a “Letter to the Youth”, which became his testament to future generations of young people who devoted themselves to science.


What would I like to wish to the youth of my homeland who have devoted themselves to science?

First of all, sequences. I will never be able to talk about this most important condition for fruitful scientific work without emotion. Sequence, sequence and sequence. From the very beginning of your work, accustom yourself to a strict sequence in the accumulation of knowledge.

Learn the basics of science before you try to climb it. Never take on the next without mastering the previous. Never try to cover up the shortcomings of your knowledge, even with the most daring guesses and hypotheses. No matter how this soap bubble amuses your gaze with its modulations, it will inevitably burst, and you will have nothing but embarrassment left.

Accustom yourself to restraint and patience. Learn to do the menial work in science. Study, compare, accumulate facts.

No matter how perfect the wing of a bird, it could never lift it up without leaning on the air. Facts are the scientist’s air. Without them, you will never be able to fly. Without them, your “theories” are empty attempts.

But as you study, experiment, observe, try not to remain at the surface of the facts. Don’t become archivists of facts. Try to penetrate the mystery of their origin. Persistently seek the laws that govern them.

The second is modesty. Never think that you already know everything. And no matter how highly you are rated, always have the courage to say to yourself: I am ignorant.

1 Pavlov I.P. Poly. coll. op. T. 1. – M.; L .: Publishing House of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR, 1951. – S. 17. 514

Don’t let pride take over you. Because of it, you will persist where you need to agree, because of it, you will refuse useful advice and friendly help, because of it, you will lose a measure of objectivity.

In the team that I have to manage, everything is done by the atmosphere. We are all harnessed to one common cause, and each moves it to the best of his strength and capabilities. We often do not make out what is “mine” and what is “yours”, but our common cause only benefits from this.

The third is passion. Remember that science demands from a person his whole life. And if you had two lives, then they would not be enough for you. Science demands great tension and great passion from man. Be passionate in your work and in your pursuits.

Our homeland opens up great open spaces for scientists, and we must pay tribute – science is generously introduced into life in our country. Generous to the last degree.

What can we say about the position of a young scientist in our country? Here, after all, it is clear and so. Much is given to him, but much is expected of him. And for young people, as well as for us, a matter of honor is to justify the great hopes that our homeland places on science.

I.P. Pavlov 1

IP Pavlov belonged to those great minds who boldly surrounded themselves with young talented people and considered it their life’s duty to raise a galaxy of young scientists who continue their work.

As a result, I.P. Pavlov created one of the world’s greatest scientific physiological schools. His students were L.A. Orbeli (1882-1958), A.F. Samoilov (1867-1930), P.K. Anokhin (1898-1974), E. A. Asratyan, B. P. Babkin (1877 – 1950). His scientific “grandchildren” and “great-grandchildren” work today in the leading scientific centers of Russia.

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