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Pavlov Pays Tribute to His Canine Colleague

Published: July 31, 2001 (Issue # 691)



  • Dog
    Photo: Sergey Grachev / The St. Petersburg Times

All too often, it seems, the animals that put their lives and dignity on the line for the sake of pushing back the frontiers of knowledge are quickly forgotten by history. Only a handful - such as Laika the space dog, Dolly the cloned sheep, or Koko, the gorilla who learned sign language - ever achieve the kind of prominence that their efforts merit.

To this list, however, one should add the creature depicted here, an animal known to history simply as "Pavlov's dog." This monument, located in the garden of the ominously named Institute of Experimental Medicine on the appropriately named Ul. Akademika Pavlova, actually salutes not just the dog who famously learned to salivate whenever a bell rang, but all the forgotten four-legged heroes of experimental medicine.

Perhaps more interestingly, the idea for the monument came from Pavlov himself. The great physiologist also approved its design in 1935 and wrote the moving inscription: "Although the dog - helpmate and friend of mankind since prehistoric times - may be sacrificed for science, our dignity demands that it be done only if absolutely necessary and without needless suffering. I. Pavlov."

Although Ivan Pavlov was born near Ryazan in 1849, his life and career are intimately associated with St. Petersburg where he lived from 1890 until his death in 1936. In addition to his studies of conditioning in animals, which were summarized in his 1926 treatise "Lectures on Conditioned Reflexes," and which served as the foundation of behavioral psychology, Pavlov conducted innovative research on circulation and digestion. He won the Nobel Prize for Physiology (now, Medicine) in 1904.

If one takes memorial plaques as the measure of distinction, Pavlov is among the most honored people ever to have lived in St. Petersburg. In addition to a plaque just a few steps away from the monument pictured here at the Institute of Experimental Medicine he is remembered at 1/2 Nab. Leitenanta Shmidta, where he was living when he died.

He is also commemorated at the Military Medicine Academy at 10 Ul. Komissara Smirnova and at 18 Bolshaya Pushkarskaya Ul. Finally, there is a plaque commemorating Pavlov at the Pavlov Institute of Physiology at 6 Nab. Makarova.





 


ALL ABOUT TOWN

Saturday, Nov. 1


The men and women who dedicate their lives to fitness get their chance to compete for the title of best body in Russia at today’s Grand Prix Fitness House PRO, the nation’s premier bodybuilding competition. Not only will men and women be competing for thousands of dollars in prizes and a trip to represent their nation at Mr. Olympia but sporting goods and nutritional supplements will also be available for sale. Learn more about the culture of the Indian subcontinent during Diwali, the annual festival of lights that will be celebrated in St. Petersburg this weekend at the Culture Palace on Tambovskaya Ul. For 100 rubles ($2.40), festival-goers listen to Indian music, try on traditional Indian outfits and sample dishes highlighting the culinary diversity of the billion-plus people in the South Asian superpower.



Sunday, Nov. 2


Check out the latest video and interactive games at the Gaming Festival at the Mayakovsky Library ending today. Meet with the developers of the popular and learn more about their work, or learn how to play one of their creations with the opportunity to ask the creators themselves about the exact rules.



Monday, Nov. 3


Non-athletes can get feed their need for competition without breaking a sweat at the Rock-Paper-Scissors tournament this evening at the Cube Bar at Lomonosova 1. Referees will judge the validity of each matchup award points to winners while the city’s elite fight for the chance to be called the best of the best. Those hoping to play must arrange a team beforehand and pay 200 rubles ($4.80) to enter.



Tuesday, Nov. 4


Attend the premiere of Canadian director Xavier Dolan’s latest film “Mommy” at the Avrora theater this evening. The fifth picture from the 25-year-old, it is the story of an unruly teenager but the most alluring (or unappealing) aspect is the way the film was shot: in a 1:1 format that is more reminiscent of Instagram videos than cinematic art. Tickets cost 400 rubles ($9.60) and snacks and drinks will be available.



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