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Bruno Balke Papers
MSS 0468  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Access
  • Acquisition Information
  • Preferred Citation
  • Publication Rights
  • Biography
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Creator: Balke, Bruno
    Title: Bruno Balke Papers,
    Date (inclusive): 1937 - 1982
    Extent: 0.20 linear feet (1 archives box)
    Abstract: Writings of Bruno Balke, a physician and researcher specializing in the areas of sports medicine and the impact of environmental factors on work performance of humans. Covering the years 1937-1982, the collection includes Balke's 1937 doctoral dissertation in sports medicine, his 1945 Ph.D. thesis about physical performance at high altitude, and various articles about the impact of altitude and deep space on human physiology. Some of the early writings are in German, while all items written after 1945 are in English.
    Repository: University of California, San Diego. Geisel Library. Mandeville Special Collections Library.
    La Jolla, California 92093-0175
    Collection number: MSS 0468
    Language of Material: Collection materials in English


    Collection is open for research.

    Acquisition Information

    Not Available

    Preferred Citation

    Bruno Balke Papers, MSS 0468. Mandeville Special Collections Library, UCSD.

    Publication Rights

    Publication rights are held by the creator of the collection.


    German emigre and researcher in sports medicine and environmental factors influencing human work performance. Balke was educated in the University of Berlin medical school, receiving his degree in sports medicine in 1937. In 1938, he was recruited as team physician for the German expedition to the summit of Nanga Parbat, a Himalayan mountain cresting at 26,700 feet. His experiences on the mountain inspired his life-long interest in human performance under extreme environmental conditions.
    During WWII Balke served on the Russian front until he contracted infectious hepatitis. As a result he was relocated to the School of Mountain Rescue in Tyrol, where he was asked to establish two physiology laboratories, one at 2,000 feet above sea level and the other at 10,000 feet. At these sites, Balke studied the impact of environmental factors such as cold, heat, and altitude, in addition to the impact of exercise and nutrition. In collaboration with Ulrich Luft, who was also a member of the 1938 Nanga Parbat expedition team, Balke developed a test for determining functional adaptability and limitations to work capacity.
    In 1945, Balke submitted a Ph.D. thesis on physical performance capacity at high-altitude, which was accepted by the University of Leipzig. Though never published, the thesis was instrumental in Balke's being recruited to join the staff of the United States Air Force School of Aviation Medicine in San Antonio, Texas. While on staff there from 1950 to 1960, Balke worked in the Human Performance Laboratory, investigating human adaptation to high altitude, in-flight stress, and simulated deep space.
    In 1960, Balke left the USAF School of Aviation Medicine to accept a position as Professor of Physical Education and Physiology at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Balke currently resides in Grand Junction, Colorado.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.


    Balke, Bruno -- Archives
    Stress (Physiology)
    Altitude, Influence of
    Stress (Physiology) -- Testing
    Adaptation (Physiology)
    Mountain sickness
    Aviation Medicine
    Exercise -- Physiological aspects
    Physical fitness