George W. Nace was born on April 1, 1920 in Connellsville, Pennsylvania. The son of a missionary, Nace spent much of his childhood in Japan where he became fluent in Japanese. After graduating from Reed College in 1943, Nace went to the University of California, Los Angeles and received his M.A. (1948) and Ph.D. (1950) in Zoology.
From 1951 to 1957, he was an assistant professor in the Zoology Department at Duke University and from 1957 to 1961 Nace was an associate professor in the Department of Zoology at the University of Michigan. In 1964, he organized the Amphibian Facility at the University of Michigan and served as its director until 1982 when he started Amphibian Biotech, Inc., to continue the work of the Amphibian Facility. While primarily known as an innovative developmental biologist, Nace also used his talents in the Japanese language and received a certificate from the Navy Japanese Language School in Boulder, Colorado in 1943. He served as a translator during World War II and worked closely throughout his career with scientists in Japan. Retiring in 1985, Nace passed away on March 27, 1987.
Smithsonian Institution Archives
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