Dill, David Bruce, 1891-....

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David Bruce Dill was a preeminent American scientist in the area of human physiology and the environment. He conducted experimental research at high altitude, in the desert, and in context of work / exercise to determine the effect on the human body. Dill held research and teaching appointments at Harvard University (1927-1947), U.S. Army Chemical Research and Development Laboratory (1947-1961), Indiana University (1961-1966) and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (1966-1976). Dill died in 1986. Dill served as the unofficial director of the Harvard Fatigue Laboratory from 1927 until its dissolution in 1946. The Fatigue Lab, created in 1926 by Lawrence J. Henderson, served to investigate the interrelationship of biophysical and biochemical activities and relationship of the environment to human physiology.

From the description of David Bruce Dill and Harvard Fatigue Laboratory reprints, 1924-1985. (University of California, San Diego). WorldCat record id: 45957212

Historical Background

The Harvard Fatigue Laboratory, conceived in 1926 by Lawrence J. Henderson, began operation in the fall of 1927 as a laboratory of human physiology in the Harvard Graduate School of Business. The founding committee included Henderson; Wallace Donham, dean of the Business School; William Morton Wheeler, professor of entomology at Harvard College; David T. Edsall, dean of the Medical School; Elton Mayo, professor of industrial research in the Business School; and Arlie Bock, of the Medical School and the Massachusetts General Hospital. The Fatigue Laboratory sought to study the interrelationship of biophysical and biochemical activities, the phenomena of fatigue and similar conditions, differences in the physiological pattern, and physiological experiences as sociological data. Research topics included the physical chemistry of blood, exercise physiology, nutritional interactions, aging, and the stresses of high altitude and climate.

David Bruce Dill was unofficially appointed to organize and direct the program of the Laboratory and held an assistant professorship (1927-1936) in biochemistry at the School of Public Health and professorships (1927-1947) in industrial physiology at the Harvard Business School. He continued at Harvard as a visiting lecturer in physiology until 1961. Dill was the scientific leader of the International High-Altitude Expedition to Chile in 1935.

The laboratory was equipped with several treadmills, climatic room, cold room, altitude chamber, and animal room. The first high-altitude study was conducted in 1929 and the first desert study in 1932. Researchers during the early years included Bill Consolazio, J.H. Talbott, W.H. Forbes, David Bruce Dill, and Steven Horvath. The laboratory attracted numerous foreign fellows and U.S. physiologists.

During the war, the laboratory carried on research funded by the government, although many staff members took military commissions and worked in wartime research programs. L.J. Henderson died in 1942 and by that time most of the founding committee members had retired. After the war, several factors contributed to the closure of the laboratory, including the loss of University financial support, the University's policy against the use of government support and the departure of senior staff members to more stable positions. In 1946, the Harvard Fatigue Laboratory was dissolved and its assets turned over to the School of Public Health.

In 1947, Dill was appointed director (1947-1961) of medical research for the U.S. Army Chemical Research and Development Laboratory. After his retirement at the age of 70, he was Research Scholar (1961-1966) at Indiana University. From 1966 to 1976, Dill was research professor at the Desert Research Institute of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. There he directed the Laboratory of Patho-Environmental Physiology were he replicated the Harvard Fatigue Laboratory with visiting professors and Boulder City high school science students.

Dill died in 1986.

From the guide to the David Bruce Dill / Harvard Fatigue Laboratory Reprints, 1924 - 1985, (University of California, San Diego. Geisel Library. Mandeville Special Collections Library.)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Luft, U. C. (Ulrich C.). Ulrich Cameron Luft papers, 1907-1991. University of California, San Diego, UC San Diego Library; UCSD Library
referencedIn Ulrich Cameron Luft Papers, 1907-1991 University of California, San Diego. Geisel Library. Mandeville Special Collections Library.
referencedIn McFarland, Ross Armstrong, 1901-1976. International High Altitude Expedition, 1935 [videorecording]. University of California, San Diego, UC San Diego Library; UCSD Library
referencedIn White Mountain Research Station. White Mountain Research Station administrative records, 1949-1996. University of California, San Diego, UC San Diego Library; UCSD Library
creatorOf David Bruce Dill / Harvard Fatigue Laboratory Reprints, 1924 - 1985 University of California, San Diego. Geisel Library. Mandeville Special Collections Library.
referencedIn Harvard Fatigue Laboratory. Harvard Fatigue Laboratory records, 1916-1952 (inclusive), 1941-1947 (bulk). Harvard University, Medical School, Countway Library
referencedIn Papers, 1941-1978 (inclusive), 1948-1957 (bulk). Center for the History of Medicine. Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine.
creatorOf Pugh, L. G. C. E. L.G.C.E. Pugh papers, 1945-1986. University of California, San Diego, UC San Diego Library; UCSD Library
referencedIn White Mountain Research Station. Administrative Files, 1949 - 1996 University of California, San Diego. Geisel Library. Mandeville Special Collections Library.
creatorOf William H. Forbes papers, 1941-1978 (inclusive), 1948-1957 (bulk) Harvard University, Medical School, Countway Library
creatorOf Dill, David Bruce, 1891-. Hoover Dam oral history interview : David B. Dill / by Andrew J. Dunar. University of Nevada, Las Vegas Libraries
creatorOf Dill, David Bruce, 1891-. David Bruce Dill and Harvard Fatigue Laboratory reprints, 1924-1985. University of California, San Diego, UC San Diego Library; UCSD Library
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith American Association of University Women. Boulder City Branch (Nev.) corporateBody
associatedWith Boulder City Public Library (Boulder City, Nev.) corporateBody
associatedWith Dill, David B. person
associatedWith Dunar, Andrew J. person
associatedWith Forbes, William H., 1902-1995. person
associatedWith Harvard Fatigue Laboratory. corporateBody
associatedWith Horvath, Steven M., person
associatedWith Luft, U. C. (Ulrich C.) person
associatedWith McFarland, Ross Armstrong, 1901-1976. person
associatedWith Pugh, L. G. C. E. person
associatedWith University of California. corporateBody
associatedWith White Mountain Research Station. corporateBody
Place Name Admin Code Country
Hoover Dam (Ariz. and Nev.)
Boulder City (Nev.)
Subject
Acclimatization
Adaptation (Physiology)
Altitude, Influence of
Exercise
Fatigue
Heat
Heat stroke
Physiology
Occupation
Activity

Person

Birth 1891

Death 1986

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