Ivan Petrovich Pavlov
The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1904
Born: 14 September 1849, Ryazan, Russia
Died: 27 February 1936, Leningrad, Russia
Affiliation at the time of the award: Military Medical Academy, St. Petersburg, Russia
Prize motivation: “in recognition of his work on the physiology of digestion, through which knowledge on vital aspects of the subject has been transformed and enlarged”
Prize share: 1/1
Ivan Pavlov was born in the Russian city of Ryazan and began his education in theology before being inspired by the era’s radical movements and switching to the natural sciences. After his doctorate, he spent some time in Germany, the center of science during the era. In 1890 Pavlov was asked to organize the Physiology Department of the Institute of Experimental Medicine in Saint Petersburg. His most famous experiment dealt with behavior and used dogs. This research influenced fields beyond physiology and became the basis of behaviorism.
Through the digestive process, the body extracts nourishment and energy from food. Ivan Pavlov studied the various processes of digestion, in part by exposing sections of a dog’s intestinal canal through surgery. During the 1890s he identified ways in which different parts of the body, through the nervous system, affect movements in the intestinal canal as well as secretion of gastric juice and other secretions. He also pointed out the significance of psychic factors, such as hunger’s ability to activate secretion of gastric juice. Furthermore, he demonstrated the sensitivity of gastric mucosae to various chemical substances.
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