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The Famous Russian Scientist n.N. Burdenko

The Voronezh Medical Academy is named in honor of N.N. Burdenko, a famous Russian scientist.

Nikolai Burdenko was born on the 3 June 1876 in Penza guberniya. After graduating from Penza theological seminary, he entered the Faculty of Medicine of Tomsk University in 1897. There he participated actively in student’s revolutionary movement and was expelled from the University in 1899. On the recommendation of Doctor V. Girusski, a former student of Tartu (Dorpat/Yuryev) University, N. Burdenko continued his studies in Tartu (Yuryev). On 11 October 1901, he entered the Faculty of Medicine at Tartu University. Being in financial straits, N. Burdenko asked to be exempted from tuition fees, but his request was rejected, and N. Burdenko left for Herson guberniya to fight against an epidemic. From there he went to Krivoi Rog where, for the first time, he had an opportunity to work as a surgeon. After being away for a year and a half, N. Burdenko returned to Tartu, where he was given the post of assistant’s helper in the clinic of hospital surgery of Tartu municipal hospital. The clinic had a rich library, and Burdenko was deeply impressed by Pirogov’s scientific legacy. He also presented scientific reports at the society’s meetings.

During the Russian-Japanese war Burdenko joined the sanitary train. Service on the battlefield made Burdenko interested in field surgery. Having returned to Tartu Burdenko continued his scientific and practical work in the University and clinic.

In the spring semester of 1906, N. Burdenko successfully passed national examinations for the qualifications of a doctor and received a diploma with cum laude. From 1907-1909, N. Burdenko worked on his doctoral dissertation Consequences of Portal Vein Ligation (Материалы к вопросу о последствиях перевязки).To gain the degree of Doctor of Medicine, he passed exams in 1908.

In October 1909, N. Burdenko submitted an application for getting the right to deliver lectures as a privatdozent of faculty surgery. Burdenko devoted himself to neurosurgery and began his studies on the brain. He made attempts to operate on the brain, the most complicated human organ.

After the outbreak of World War I, N. Burdenko expressed a wish to go to the front as a surgeon and his wish was granted. During the I World War Burdenko was one of the creators of Russian military medical service. Thanks to his efforts thousands of Russian solders’ lives were saved in the military hospitals.

In 1917 came back to Tartu and a year later he moved to Voronezh with the University. In Voronezh he took an active part in the organization of the new University where he continued his research in the field of neurosurgery.

In 1923 Burdenko moved to Moscow. The Neurosurgical Institute was founded under his supervision in 1932. Burdenko initiated a highly modern educational concept. He demonstrated the relationship that he believed should exist between theory and practice, between university and hospitals. Burdenko was a skillful and experienced surgeon.

The II World War made Burdenko return to military surgery. Although he was partially paralyzed in 1941, he continued his work and made great efforts to organize military service in the country.

N.N. Burdenko died in 1946.

B. Find out information about another famous Russian scientist and doctor. Write a short biographical summary about them including the information about their period of life, medical specialty and the main achievement.


Dr. / Pr X was born ….

He was a famous \ an outstanding \ a prominent surgeon \ physician ….

He discovered \ developed \ introduced….

С. Read the stories below and think of other funny stories that happened to you. Tell one to the class.

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