Ivan Pavlov was a Russian physiologist known for the discovery of the so-called Pavlovian (conditional) response. Biographers say that the majority of the facts we know about him are wrong.
Pavlov was one of those people who are not afraid of changing their lives radically. The decision that literally turned his life upside-down later proved to be the right decision. He significantly contributed to the development of physiology and became the first Russian Nobel laureate.
Today, we want to share with you the interesting facts about Ivan Pavlov that you may not know about. Here they are…
Ivan Pavlov: 9 interesting facts about the man who discovered basic principles of classical conditioning
1. Ivan Pavlov had a very big family
Pavlov was born in September 1849 to Peter Dmitrievich Pavlov and Varvara Ivanovna Uspenskaya. He had 10 younger siblings. His father was a priest while his mother was a housewife.
Since early childhood, Pavlov helped his father and mother around the house. He washed dishes and cleaned the floor. He also liked to play and take care of his siblings.
2. Ivan Pavlov had many different hobbies in childhood
Ivan was a very energetic boy. He spent his summer holidays swimming, riding a bicycle, playing with his siblings and gardening.
By the age of 7, he could read, an interesting Ivan Pavlov fact. He was going to start attending the Ryazan church school, but the plans changed unexpectedly. Due to the accident in which he was badly injured, he had to postpone his education.
3. Ivan Pavlov was going to become a priest
Ivan wanted to follow the example of his father and become a priest. When he turned 11, he started to attend the church school in his hometown. Later, he entered the theological seminary to continue his education.
That was the time when people spoke a lot about the ideas of Ivan Sechenov, the father of Russian physiology. The works of Sechenov served as a source of great inspiration for Pavlov. Without any hesitation, he left the seminary and moved to Saint Petersburg.
4. Ivan Pavlov’s teacher at University was Dmitry Mendeleev
After deciding to devote his life to science, Pavlov enrolled at the University of Saint Petersburg. He studied at the faculty of physics and mathematics, an interesting fact about Ivan Pavlov.
During the first year of his study, he took up a course of organic chemistry. The course was conducted by Dmitri Mendeleev, the father of the periodic table and a well-known person in the scientific world.
Pavlov graduated from the University with honors. His first scientific project that he worked on during the 4th year at University earned him a prestigious award.
5. Ivan Pavlov started his career as a laboratory assistant
In desperate need to satisfy his need for research, Pavlov decided to continue his education at the Imperial Academy of Medical Surgery. At that time, he was writing his dissertation. The position he gained at the laboratory of the Veterinarian Institute allowed him to study the circulatory system of dogs.
In 1878, a well-known Russian professor Botkin offered Pavlov to become the chief of the laboratory. One year later, Pavlov graduated from the Academy of Medical Surgery with gold medal. At that time, he was gathering data to write his doctorate thesis. Luckily, the fellowship he won at the Academy allowed him to successfully continue his postgraduate studies.
6. Ivan Pavlov had financial problems
As surprising as it is, but Ivan Pavlov had serious financial problems. In order to provide funds for the laboratory that he worked at, he sold bottles of gastric juice collected from dogs, an interesting Ivan Pavlov fact. Also, the juice was very popular in Europe. Why? Because the juice was believed to cure indigestion.
7. Ivan Pavlov continued his studies and experiments in Germany and Poland
After completing his postgraduate studies in Russia, Pavlov went to Germany. After completing his education in Leipzig, he went to Breslau. There he worked in collaboration with Heidenhain at one of his laboratories. Together they achieved a great success. The original technique of the stomach’s exteriorized section was developed by Heidenhain. Pavlov perfected this technique.
8. Ivan Pavlov struggled to find a job
Pavlov returned to Russia in 1886. At first, it wasn’t easy for him to find a job. He applied for the position at the University of Saint Petersburg but was rejected, an interesting fact about Ivan Pavlov. He received offers from the Tomsk University and the University of Warsaw but didn’t accept any of them. Only in 1890, his career took off. He got the position of professor of Pharmacology at the Military Medical Academy. 5 years later, he became the head of the Department of Physiology at the Institute of Experimental Medicine in Saint Petersburg.
9. Ivan Pavlov was nominated the Nobel Prize for 4 years
Ivan Pavlov was nominated the Nobel Prize for 4 years in a row but won only in 1904. Why? Because all his works and researches weren’t strictly related neither to Medicine nor to Physiology.
Pavlov’s discovery on the influence of environmental stimulus on behavioral response was a real breakthrough in the scientific world. However, he was awarded the Nobel Prize for his researches and works on the animal digestive system.
Ivan Pavlov died in February 1936. The discoveries he made laid the foundation for modern behavioral therapy. He had been working in the Institute of Experimental Medicine for 45 years. His efforts, persistence and love for science helped him to turn the Institute into one of the most important research centers in the world.
We hope that the facts about Ivan Pavlov provided above helped you to learn more about the career and achievements of Ivan Pavlov, one of the greatest scientists of the 20th century. If you are interested, visit the Historical People Facts!