Vvedenksy, Nikolay Evgenievich

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(b. Kochkovo, Vologodskaya gubernia, Russia, 28 April 1852; d. Kochkovo, 16 September 1922), Physiology.

After graduating from the Vologod religious seminary, Vvedensky entered St. Petersburg University in 1872. Two years later he was arrested for participation in student revolutionary activities and spent more that three years in prison. He graduated from the university in 1879, having studied physiology with I. M. Sechenow, then worked in physiology laboratories in Germany (1881–1882), Austria (1884), and Switzerland (1887).

After defending his master’s thesis in 1884, Vvedensky became Privatdozent in the department of physiology; in 1889, after Sechenov moved to Moscow, he became extraordinary professor, and in 1895, professor at St. Peterburg Uiversity.

Vvedensky’s research was devoted to clarifying the regularities in the reaction of living tissue to various irritants. Having applied the method of telephonic auscultation of the excited nerve. he showed that a living system changes not only unde the influence of irritation but also during its normal activity; he thus introduced the time factor into physiology. In his master’s thesis. “Telefonicheskie issledovania nad elektricheskimi yavleniami v myshechnykh i nervnykhapparatakh” (“Telephonic Research on Electrical Henomena in Muscle and Nerve Apparatus”), Vvedensky provided a through analysis of the literature on muscle contracrtion and nerve fatigue. In his doctoral dissertation. “O sootnosheniakh mezhdu razdrazheniem i vozbuzhdeniem pri tetanuse” (“On the Relationship Between Stimulus and Excitation in Tetanus” ; 1886), he formulated the theory of the optimum and pessimum irritation, on the basis of which he established the law of relative functional movement (lability) of tissue. Vvedensky examined nervemuscle preparations as heterogeneous formations (consisting of nerve tisue, nerve ends, and muscles), the parts of which possess diferent lability.

Vvedensky’s outstanding achievement was his theory of parabiosis, developed in Vozuhdenie, tormozhenie i narkoz (“Excitation, Inhibition, and Narcosis” ; 1901), in which he generalized his ideas on the nature of the processes of excitation and inhibition, showing theiridentity.


Vvedensky’s writings were brought together in Polnoe sobranie sochineny (“Complete Collected Works”), 7 vols. (Leningrad, 1951–1963).

Secondary literature includes I. A. Arshavsky, N. E. Vvedensky, 1852–1922 (Moscow, 1950); Y. M. Ufland, Osnovnye etapy razvitia uchenia N. E. Vvedenskogo (“Basic States in the Development of the Theory of N. E., Vvedensky” ; Moscow, 1952); and E. K. Zhukov, “Evolyutsionny metod v shkole Vvedenskogo-Ukhtomskogo” (“The Evolutionary Method in the School of Vvedensky and Uktomsky”), in Uchenye zapiski Leningradskogo… universiteta…,Ser. biolog.nauk, 12 , no, 77 (1944), 437–468.

N. A. Grigorian