Nobel Prize Recipient. Ivan Pavlov received notoriety for being the recipient of the 1904 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his research in the digestive system of dogs. Pavlov was the first to describe the phenomenon now known as “conditioning” in his experiments with dogs. In his experiment, he sounded a tone directly before presenting dogs with food, conditioning them to begin salivating every time he sounded the tone. In 1890 he was given the position of director the Department of Physiology at the Institute of Experimental Medicine remaining there for 45 years. In 1903 he published his results of his conditioning reflex experiment, and delivered a presentation on "The Experimental Psychology and Psychopathology of Animals" at the 14th International Medical Congress in Madrid, Spain. He was first nominated for the Nobel Prize in 1901 and continuously nominated until he was given the coveted award. Due to his international fame, the Communist government in the USSR had to allow the scientist to continue his researches until he was a considerable age, even while he publicly complained of the poor living conditions in his homeland. Later in life, he applied his laws to the study of psychosis. Born one of ten children of a Russian Eastern Orthodox priest, he had attended seminary training. He changed his major in studies from theological to scientific at the University of St. Petersburg after reading the works of Charles Darwin and I.M. Sechenov, the father of Russian physiology. With his religious upbringing, he spoke out against the Communist Party destroying churches, and may have saved some from being demolished. Besides the Nobel Prize, he was elected Academician of the Russian Academy of Sciences in 1907, given an honorary doctorate at Cambridge University in 1912, and following a recommendation by the Medical Academy of Paris, was awarded the Order of the Legion of Honour in 1915. He married a school teacher, Sara, in 1881, but living in poverty while he was studying at the university and researching in Germany from 1884 to 1886, the couple often did not live together for nine years. The couple had a daughter and four sons with one dying young and another from pancreatic cancer in 1935. He died of double pneumonia. His former home in Ryazan is The Pavlov Memorial Museum.
Bio by: Linda Davis