Born and educated in Zurich, Switzerland, Dr. Kleiber came to the Animal Husbandry Department of UC Davis in 1929 to construct respiration chambers and conduct research on energy metabolism in animals. Among his many important achievements, he determined that the 3/4 power of body weight was the most reliable basis for predicting the basal metabolic rate of animals and for comparing nutrient requirements among animals of different size. He also provided the basis for the conclusion that total efficiency of energy utilization is independent of body size.
These concepts and several others fundamental for understanding energy metabolism are discussed in Kleiber's book, The Fire of Life published in 1961 and subsequently translated into German, Polish, Spanish, and Japanese.
His research resulted in more than two hundred scientific publications and earned him worldwide recognition as a leader in animal nutrition and metabolism. Max was an outstanding teacher popular with undergraduates and graduate students alike. He continued teaching — lecturing to students here and elsewhere throught the world, maintained an active correspondence with fellow scientists, and contributed to scientific journals after his official retirement. In 1971 Kleiber Hall was named in his honor.