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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, Aug. 30


Break out the tweed and channel your inner Englishman during the English Hunt Picnic this afternoon organized by the Bagmut stables from Krasny Bor in the Leningrad Oblast. Equestrian stunts, English archery and classic hunting fashion will all be available to visitors hoping to live like the characters in “Downton Abbey” if only for a day. Tickets for the event cost 7,900 rubles ($219.40).


Bookworms will have their chance to swap out well-read classics for something new for their bookshelves at Knigovorot, a free book exchange that will be held in the Yusupov Garden on Sadovaya Ulitsa today. Come for the chance to get a new book or take the opportunity to discuss the literary merits of your favorite authors with fellow fans.



Sunday, Aug. 31


The Neva Delta International Blues Festival wraps up this afternoon on Vasilevsky Island with a concert featuring not only some of Russia’s best blues bands but international stars as well. Admission is free for all three days of the festival, which begins on Aug. 29, and the shows starting at 5 p.m. each day.



Monday, Sept. 1


Today marks the beginning of Lermontov-Fest, a fall festival celebrating the life of one of Russia’s most remarkable poets who, in a fate eerily similar to Pushkin’s, was killed in a duel at the age of 26. Organized by the Lermontov Library System, the next several months will see art exhibitions, concerts and public lectures focusing on the Lermontov’s short yet prolific career. Check the Lermontov Library System’s website for more details.



Tuesday, Sept. 2


Join expats and practice your Russian during the Russian Club’s weekly meetings every Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m. The club is free to participate in although you need to be a registered member of Couchsurfing.



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