Nello Pace Himalayan Documents, 1954-1995 (bulk 1954-1960) (MSS 0674)

Extent: 0.2 Linear feet (1 archives box)

The Nello Pace Himalayan Documents contain writings relating primarily to the 1954 California Himalaya Expedition to Makalu, the world's fifth highest peak, located in Nepal. Dr. Nello Pace served as the assistant leader and chief scientist for the expedition, studying the affects of hypoxia (low oxygen levels) on human performance.

Dr. Nello Pace (1916-1995) was born in Richmond, California, on June 20, 1916, and grew up in San Francisco. In 1936 he received his B.S. in chemistry and in 1940 his Ph.D. in physiology, both from the University of California at Berkeley (UCB). Pace began his career as a research associate at the Medical College of Virginia, but was interrupted when he was called by the Naval Reserve to active duty in 1941. During World War II he served as the head of the physiological facility at the Naval Medical Research Institute in Maryland where he studied diving and aviation medicine, particularly the effects of extreme conditions on the body. At the end of World War II the Navy made him Officer in Charge of a group studying the residual radiation at Nagasaki and Hiroshima. After the war, Pace continued his career at UCB, first as an assistant professor and then as an associate professor of physiology. During this time, he established and served as the first the director of the White Mountain Research Station near Bishop, California, where he studied the physiology of hypoxia and ventilation, among other subjects.

In 1954 Pace served as the assistant leader and chief scientist for the California Himalayan Expedition to Makalu, Nepal, led by Will Siri of the Donner Laboratory. In this position he was able to make physiological measurements on climbers before their departures and upon their returns. During this time Pace also collected Tibetan and Sherpa terms and their English translations which he later compiled in 1960 as "An English-Sherpa-Tibetan Vocabulary."

After the expedition, Pace continued to study the effects of extreme conditions on the body as leader of the 1957-1958 International Physiological Expedition to Antarctica for Operation Deepfreeze III. Though he retired from UCB in 1977, Pace continued working on other projects. Through the 1960s, 1970s and into the 1980s he was a prominent scientist in the field of gravitational physiology, serving on numerous committees including the Gravitational Physiology Commission of the International Union of Physiological Sciences, and chairing the panel on gravitational biology of the Committee on Space Research (COSPAR) from 1971-1980.

Dr. Pace died on June 17, 1995.

The Nello Pace Himalayan Documents are arranged into six folders.

The most notable item in this collection is the handwritten journal Pace kept during the expedition from May 5 to July 15, 1954. Also included are two photocopied articles about the California Himalayan Expedition written by William Dunmire and William Unsoeld, and Bruce Meyer and Fritz Lippman. In addition there is a manuscript copy of Pace's "An English-Sherpa-Tibetan Vocabulary" and an interview transcript of Pace conducted by the United States Department of Energy, Office of Human Radiation Experiments titled "Human Radiation Studies: Remembering the Early Years."

Container List


Box: 1 Folder: 1
Pace, Nello - "California Himalayan Expedition." Handwritten journal, May 5 - July 15, 1954
Box: 1 Folder: 2
Dunmire, William W. and William Unsoeld - California Himalayan Expedition: Makalu. Photocopy, 1954
Box: 1 Folder: 3
Meyers, Bruce and Fritz Lippmann - "First Attempt on Makalu, 1954." Photocopy, 1955
Box: 1 Folder: 4
Pace, Nello - "An English-Sherpa-Tibetan." Mimeograph , 1960
Box: 1 Folder: 5
"Human Radiation Studies: Remembering the Early Years; Oral History of Physiologist Nello Pace, Ph.D." Conducted August 16th, 1994. Interview transcript , June 1995
Box: 1 Folder: 6
Memorial invitation, 1995

Includes printed image of Nello Pace.