Ivan Mikhaylovich Sechenov (Russian: Ива́н Миха́йлович Се́ченов

August 1, 1829, Tyoply Stan (now Sechenovo) near Simbirsk, Russia–November 2, 1905, Moscow), was a Russian physiologist, named by Ivan Pavlov as "The Father of Russian physiology". Sechenov authored major classic Reflexes of the Brain introducing electrophysiology and neurophysiology into laboratories and teaching of medicine.


File:Repin SechenovIM.jpg
  • 1843-1848 Main Military Engineering School in Saint Petersburg
  • 1848-1850 military engineer in Kiev
  • 1850-1856 studies of medicine at Moscow University
  • 1856-1859 studies in Europe (see further)
  • 1860 M.D. from the Military-Medical Academy of St. Petersburg
  • 1860-1870 professor at the St.Petersburg Medico-Surgical Academy. Foundation of the first Russian school of physiology. Sechenov resigned to protest the rejection of Ilya Ilyich Mechnikov (the founder of immunology, the Nobel Prize laureate of 1908)
  • 1870 chemical research in Mendeleev's laboratory in St. Petersburg
  • 1871-1876 chair at the Novorossiysk University at Odessa (where Mechnikov had been appointed Titular Professor of Zoology and Comparative Anatomy)
  • 1876-1888 professor at St. Petersburg University
  • 1889 "Sechenov's equation" is introduced (from experimental evidence) for solubility of gases
  • 1891-1901 professor at Moscow University
  • 1904 elected honorary member of Russian Academy of Sciences

Sechenov's major interest was neurophysiology (the structure of the brain). He showed that brain activity is linked to electric currents and was the first to introduce electrophysiology. Among his discoveries was the cerebral inhibition of spinal reflexes. He also maintained that chemical factors in the environment of the cell are of great importance.

Between 1856 and 1862 Sechenov studied and worked in Europe in laboratories of Johannes Peter Mueller, Emil du Bois-Reymond, Hermann von Helmholtz (Berlin), Felix Hoppe-Seyler (Leipzig), Carl Ludwig (Vienna) and Claude Bernard (Paris).

Like several other Russian scientists of the period Sechenov was often in conflict with the tsarist government and conservative colleagues, but he did not emigrate. In 1866 censorship committee in St.Petersburg attempted judicial procedures accusing Sechenov of spreading materialism and of "debasing of [Christian morality".

Sechenov's work laid the foundations for the study of reflexes, animal and human behaviour, and neuroscience.(See: John B. Watson)

Selected worksEdit

  • 1860 Materialy dlya buduschey fiziologii alkogolnogo opyanenia. St. Petersburg ("Some facts for the future study of alcohol intoxication", in Russian)
  • 1862 O zhivotnom elektrichestve. St. Petersburg ("On animal electricity", in Russian)
  • 1863 "Refleksy golovnogo mozga." Meditsinsky vestnik 47-48 ("Reflexes of the brain", in Russian)
  • 1866 Fiziologia nervnoy sistemy. St. Petersburg ("Physiology of the nervous system", in Russian)
  • 1873 "Komu i kak razrabatyvat psikhologiyu." Vestnik Evropy 4 ("Who should and How to develop Psychology", in Russian)



Template:Lists of Russians

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