Samoylov, Aleksandr Filippovich

views updated


(b. Odessa, Ukraine, Russia, 7 April 1867; d. Kazan, U.S.S.R., 22 July 1930)

physiology, electrophysiology, electrocardiography.

After early education at the Gymnasium in Odessa, Samoylov studied for two years in the natural history section of the faculty of physics and mathematics of Novorossysk University. In 1891 he graduated from the medical faculty of the University of Dorpat, where he conducted his first experimental research under the guidance of the well-known pharmacologist E. R. Kobert. His dissertation for the M. D. degree was entitled “O subde zheleza v zhivotnom organizme” (“On the Fate of Iron in the Living Organism”; 1891).

From 1892 to 1894 Samoylov worked with Pavlov in the physiology section of the Institute of Experimental Medicine; and from 1894 to 1903 he was I. M. Sechenov’s assistant and docent in the department of physiology of the Moscow University. Samoylov worked in the laboratories of Ludimar Hermann in Königsberg, Wilhelm Nagel in Berlin, and Johannes von Kries in Friburg im Bresigau. On 3 October 1903 he became professor of physiology of Kazan University, where he remained until his death. In 1924 he became chairman of the department of physiology of Moscow University.

Samoylov conducted more than 120 original experimental and theoretical investigations in electrophysiology, electrocardiography, the physiology of sense organs, clinical physiology, and the history of science. His methodological research was important in the development and training of specialists in electrophysiology. His improvements in methods of string galvanometry include a special compensator and string indicator, and a special form of immersed electrodes. He was generally recognized as a leading electrophysiologist, and among his students at Kazan were I. S. Beritov, M. A. Kiselev, V. V. Parin, and M. N. Livanov. With Einthoven, Samoylov laid the foundations for clinical and theoretical electrocardiography.

In 1924 he published his hypothesis of the chemical nature of the transfer of nerve excitation in “O perekhode vozbuzhdenia s dvigatenogo nerve na myshtsu” (“On the Transfer of Excitation From the Motor Nerve to the Muscle”). He also carried out electrophysiological research on the central nervous system and on the mechanisms of coordination of complex reflex actions. He added to the theory of reflexes new concepts of the existence of circular forms of excitation, and closed reflex arcs. This research was published in “Koltsevoy ritm vozbuzhdenia” (“The Circular Rhythm of Excitation”; 1930).

A gifted scientific administrator, Samoylov received the Lenin Prize in 1930 and for several years was a deputy of the Tatar Republic.


Samoylov’s major works are collected in lzbrannnye stati i rechi (“Selected Articles and Speeches”; Moscow-Leningrad, 1946), with a bibliography of Samyolov’s works, pp. 308–313; and Izbrannye trudy (“Selected Works”; Moscow, 1967).

On Samoylov and his work, see N. A. Grigorian, Aleksandr Filippovich Samoylov (Moscow, 1963).

N. A. Grigorian