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Science and the UFO phenomenon:

"Statement on Unidentified Flying Objects"

This statement has been submitted by Dr. James E. McDonald, Senior Physicist, Institute of Atmospheric Physics, and professor, Department of Meteorology, The University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona, to the House Committee on Science and Astronautics at July 29, 1968, Symposium on Unidentified Flying Objects, Rayburn Bldg., Washington, D.C.

I created a table of content below; which was not part of the original scientific publication. The 56 pages publication is some 250Kb and I broke it in several files for acceptable web access speed.

Please go to the Science section of this website for more scientific papers by James E. McDonald and other scientists, plus comments and information regarding scientists' work and position about the UFO phenomenon.

Table of content

Dr. James E. McDonald.

The unconventional nature of the UFO problem:

To both laymen and scientists, the impressive progress that science has made towards understanding our total environment prompts doubts that there could be machine-like objects of entirely unconventional nature moving through our atmosphere, hovering over automobiles, power installations, cities, and the like, yet all the while going unnoticed by our body scientific. Such suggestions are hard to take seriously, and I assure you that, until I had taken a close look at the evidence, I did not take them seriously. We have managed to so let our preconceptions block serious consideration of the possibility that some form of alien technology is operating within our midst that we have succeeded in simply ignoring the facts. And we scientists have ignored the pleas of groups like NICAP and APRO, who have for years been stressing the remarkable nature of the UFO evidence. Abroad, science has reacted in precisely this same manner, ignoring as nonsensical the report-material gathered by private groups operating outside the main channels of science. I understand this neglect all too well; I was just one more of those scientists who almost ignored those facts, just one more of those scientists who was rather sure that such a situation nearly could not exist, one more citizen rather sure that official statements must be basically meaningful on the non-existence of any substantial evidence for the reality of UFOs.

The UFO problem is so unconventional, involves such improbable events such inexplicable phenomenology, so defies ready explanation in terms of present-day scientific knowledge, has such a curiously elusive quality in many respects, that it is not surprising (given certain features in the past twenty years' handling of the problem) that scientists have not taken it very seriously. We scientists are, as a group, not too well-oriented towards taking up problems that lie, not just on the frontiers of our scientific knowledge, but far across some gulf whose very breadth cannot be properly estimated. These parenthetical remarks are made here to convey, in introductory manner, viewpoints that will probably prove to be correct when many more scientists begin to scrutinize this unprecedented and neglected problem. The UFO problem is, if anything, a highly unconventional problem. Hence, before reviewing my own investigations in detail, and before examining various proposed explanations lying within atmospheric physics, it may be well to take note of some of the principal hypotheses that have been proposed, at one time or another, to account for UFOs.

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This page was last updated on September 21, 2002.