Published on: Mar 3, 2016
Transcripts - Nas re1
UNIVERSITY or COLORADO REPORT oN UNIDENTIFIED FLYING OBJECTS
B! A A
PANEL or THE NATIONAL ACADEMY or scIENcEs
Copyright, National Academy of Sciences, 1969. This book, or any parts
thereof, may not be reproduced in any form without written permission
from the publisher except that reproduction in whole, or in part, is
permitted for any use of the United States Government.
Attachment 2, pg 4
University of Colorado Report on Unidentified Flying Objects
Panel of the National Academy of Sciences
The Panel was appointed in the latter part of October and early
November 1968. The charge to the Panel was "to provide an independent
assessment of the scnpe, methodology, and findings of the (University
of Colorado) study as reflected in the (University's) Report. " while
the Panel largely ratricted its review to this charge, it was thought
both appropriate and necessary that the Panel become familiar with various
scientific points of view as presented in other publications and reports
by technically trained persons.
It was not the task of the Panel to conduct its own study of UFOs
or to invite advocates, scientifically trained or not, of various points
of view to hearings. The task was to study the University’: Report
and to assess: First, its scope; namely, did the Report, in the opinion
of the hnel, cover those topics that a scientific study of UFO phenomena
should have embraced? Second, its methodology; namely, did the Report,
in the opinion of the Panel, reveal an acceptable scientific methodology
and approach to the subject? Third, its findings; namely, were the
conclusions and interpretations warranted by the evidence and analyses
as praented in. the Report and were they reasonable?
In the course of its review the Panel consulted papers on the same
subject by technically trained persons (for example, William Markowitz,
"The Physics and Metaphysics of Unidentified Flying Objects, " Science,
157 (1967), pp. 12718-79. James E. McDonald, "Science, Technology, and
U1-‘Os, ’ praented January 26, 1968, at a General Saninar of the United
Aircraft Raearch Laboratories, East Hartford, Connecticut. James E.
McDonald, "UFOs - An International Scientific Problem, " presented March
12, 1968, at the Canadian Aeronautics and Space Imtitute Astronautics
Symposiun, Montreal, Canada. James E. McDonald, "Statement on International
Scientific Aspects of the Problans of Unidentified Flying Objects, "
sent to the United Nations on June 7, 1967. Donald H. Menael, Flgng
Saucers, Harvard University Press (Cambridge, 1952). Donald H. Menzel
and Lyle G. Boyd, The World of Flying Saucers, Doubleday (New York,
1963). Report of Meeting of Scientific Advisory Panel on Unidentified
Flgng Objects, January 114-18, 1953. S ecial Re rt of the USAF Scientific
Advisory Board ad hoc Canmittee to Review Project "Blue Book, " March, 1966.
Symposium on Unidentified Flying Objects, Hearings before the Committee
on Science and Astronautics, U. S. House of Representatives, Ninetieth
Congress, Second Session, July 29, 1968).
At tachlnent 2 , pg
The Panel began its review immediately after the Report became
available on November 15, 1968, by an initial reading of the Report
by each manber of the Panel during a two-week period. The Panel convened
on December 2 for a discussion of menbers' initial assessments, for
consideration of the Panel's charge (scope, methodology, and findings
in the Report), and for delineation of further steps in its review.
The latter included the study of other documents presenting views and
finding of technically trained persons (e. g., the documents cited above),
further examination of the Report's summary and finding, and further
directed study of specialized chapters of the Report by appropriate
members of the Panel. Extensive discussion, both by correspondence
and by telephone, occurred during this period. The Panel met agin
on January 6, 1969. to conclude its deliberations and to prepare its
finding, which are presented below.
The study by the University of Colorado commenced in October 1966
and continued for about two years. Case studie of 59 reports of UFOs
are presented in detail, with 68 plates; of these, ten reports predated
the project, but were so well documented that they were included. A
chapter is devoted to UFO: in history, one to UFO study programs in
foreign countries, and one to UFOs reported in the 20 years preceding
the study. Ten chapters are devoted to perceptual problens, processes
of perception and reporting, psychological aspects of UFO reports, optics,
radar, sonic boom, atmospheric electricity and plasma interpretations, r‘
balloons, instrumentation for UFO searches, and statistical analyses. ‘
(Twenty-four appendixes add detailed technical background to the study.
Volume 11 concludes with an index of 27 pages. )
In our opinion the scog of the study was adeggate to its purgse:
a scientific study of UFO genomena.
II . FETHODOLOGY
As a rule, field trips were made to investigate UFO reports only
if they were less than a year old. The Report states that nearly all
UFO sighting are of short duration, seldom last an hour and usually
for a few minutes. Thus most investigtions consisted of interviews
with persons who made reports. Three teams, usually consisting of two
persons each (a physical scientist and a psychologist, were employed
in field investigtions where telephonic communication with UFO-sighting
individuals gve hope of gaining added information. The aim was to
get a team to the site as quickly as possible after a reported sighting.
(It was found that nearly all cases could be classified in such categories
as pranlc, hoaxes, naive interpretations, and various types of misinterpretations.
A few events, which did not fit these categories, are left unexplained. ) '
Materials and conditions amenable to laboratory approaches were_
investigated - e. g., alleged UFO parts by chemical analysis, automobile
igition failure by simulation studies, and UFO photography by photogrammetric
analyses. (Of 35 photographic cases investigated, nine are said to
give evidence of probable fabrication, seven are classified as natural
Attachment 2, pg 6
or man-made phenomena, twelve provided insufficient data for analysis,
and seven were considered to be possible fabrications; none proved to
be "real objects with high strangeness. ")
Technically trained personnel were utifized by the University.
The University group included a sub-group on field investigations of
UFO reports; their narration and interpretations of cases are reasonable
and adequate. Leading groups were engaged under contract for specialized
work -- e. g., Stanford Research Institute on radar anomalies and a subsidiary
of the Raytheon Corporation for photogrammetric analyses. Divergent
views of those few scientists who have looked into UFOs were taken into
account. The history of the subject was also surveyed, including the
experiences in some other nations. Finally, extensive use was made
of many specialists in various public and private laboratories.
The Report makes clear that with the best means at our disposal, positive
correlation of all UFO reports with identifiable, known phenomena is
not possible. No study, past, current or future, can provide the basis
for stating categorically that a familiar phenomenon will necessarily
be linkable to every sighting. The Report is free of dogmatism
on this matter. It is also clear, as one goes through the
descriptions of UFO sightings, whether in the Report or in other literature,
that while some incidents have no positive identification with familiar
phenomena, they also have no positive identification with extraterrestrial
visitors or artifacts.
We think the methodology and approach were well chosen, in accordance
with accepted standards of scientific investigation.
The study concludes (a) that about 90 percent of all UFO reports
prove to be quite plausibly related to ordinary phenomena, (b) that
little if anything has come from the study of UFOs in the past 21 years
that has added to scientific knowledge, and (c) that further extensive
study of'UFO sightings is not justified in the expectation that science
will be advanced thereby. At the same time it is emphasized in the
Report that (c) is an opinion based on evidence now available.
The Report's findings and evaluations -- essentially eight in number,
presented in its first section - are concerned with official secrecy
on UFOs, UFO: as a possible defense hazard, the future governmental
handling of UFO-sighting reports, and five of them relate to the question
of what if any further investigation of UFOs appear warranted in the
light of the study. We paraphrase and smarize these findings and
evaluations below, appending our comments.
1. On secrecy. Is the subject "shrouded in official secrecy"?
The study found no basis for this contention.
we accept this finding of the study.
Attachment 2, pg 7
2. On defense. (a) Is there evidence that UFO sightings may represent
a defense hazard? No such evidence came to light in the study. This,
however, was not an objective of the study and was properly construed
as a Department of Defense matter. (b) The Report states: "The history
of the past 21 years has repeatedly led Air Force officers to the conclusion
that none of the things seen, or thought to have been seen, which pass
by the name of UFO reports, constituted any hazard or threat to national
we concur with the sition described in (a). As to (b) we found
no evidence in the Repprt or other literature to contradict the gpoted
3. On future UFO sightings. "The question remains as to what,
_if anything, the federal government should do about the UFO reports
it receives from the general public? " The Report found no basis for
activity related to such sighting reports "in the expectation that they
are going to contribute to the advance of science, " but the Department of
Defense should handle these in its normal surveillance operations with-
out need for such special units as Project Blue Book.
We concur in this recommendation.
A-8. On further investigation. (A) should the federal government
"set up a major new agency, as some have suggested for the scientific
study of UFOs"? The study found no basis for recommendation of this
kind. (5) would further extensive study of UFO sightings contribute
to science? "Our general conclusion is that nothing has come from the
study of UFOs in the past 21 years that has added to scientific know-
ledge. The Report then notes that specific research topics may warrant
consideration: (6) "There are important areas of atmospheric optics,
including radio wave propagation, and of atmospheric electricity in
which present knowledge is quite incomplete. These topics come to our
attention in connection with the interpretation of some UFO reports,
but they are also of fundamental scientific interest, and they are relevant
to practical problems related to the improvement of safety of military
and civilian flying. Research efforts are being carried out in these
areas by the Department of Defense, the Environmental Science Services
Administration, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and
by universities and nonprofit research organizations such as the National
Center for Atmospheric Research, whose work is sponsored by the National
Science Foundation. "
The Report also observes (7) that UFO reports and beliefs are also
of interest to "the social scientist and the communications specialist. "
In these areas particularly -- i. e., (6) and (7) - the study suggests
(8) that "scientists with adequate training and credentials who do come
up with a clearly defined, specific proposal" should be supported, implying
that normal competitive procedures and assessments of proposals should
be followed here as is customary.
Attachment 2, pg
We concur with these evaluations andlrecomendations.
IV. PANEL CONCLUSION
The range of topics in the Report is extensive and its various
chapters, dealing with many aspects of the subject, should prove of
value to scholars in many fields. Its analyses and findings are pertinent
and useful in any future assessment of activity in this field. We
concur in the recomendation suggesting that no high priority in UFO
investigations is warranted by data of the past two decades.
He are unanimous in the opinion that this has been a very credi-
table effort to apply objectively the relevant techniques of science
to the solution of the UFO problem. The Report recognizes that there
remain UFO sightings that are not easily explained. The Report does
suggest, however, so many reasonable and possible directions in which
an explanation may eventually be found, that there seems to be no reason
to attribute them to an extraterrestrial source without evidence that
is much more convincing. The Report also shows how difficult it is
to apply scientific methods to the occasional transient sightings with
any chance of success. While further study of particular aspects of
the topic (e. g., atmospheric phenomena) may be useful, a study of UFO:
in general is not a promising way to expand scientific understanding
of the phenomena. On the basis of present knowledge the least likely
explanation of UFOs is the hypothesis of extraterrestrial visitations
by intelligent beings.
--Gerald M. Clemence, chairman; H. R. Crane, David M. Dennison, Wallace
0. Penn, H. Keffer Hartline, E. R. Hilgard, Mark Kec, Francis W. Reschelderier,
William W. Rubey, C. D. Shane, Oswald G. Villar, Jr.
-List of Panel Members
Attachment 2, pg 9
MEMBERS OF THE REVIEW PANEL
Gerald M. Clemence, Chairman
H. R. Crane
University of Michigan
David M. Dennison
University of Michigan
Wallace 0. Fenn
University of Rochester
H. Keffer Hancline
The Rockefeller University
E. R. Hilgard
' The Rockefeller University
Francis W. Reichelderfer
Washington , D. C.
William W. Rubey
University of California
at Los Angeles
C. D. Shane
Santa Cruz, California
Oswald G. Villard, Jr.
Attachment 2, pg 10
Section 4-SCIENTIFIC, ENGINEERING AND TECHNICAL ORGANIZATIONS
: MALt‘. mATED FLYING SAUCER QIJBS If AMERICA (hem-ll IAFSCAI
no emu Phone: (213)535-0436
Nortnnoge. CA 91324
people"). Local units hold public meetings to woman ltnovrlooge ol the salon
sublet! and serve as sauces Ia intatnatiott and Iitlnire in their areas.
hlraum: Flying sauces Intnnationsl. ourtrty.
INTERNATIONAL FORTEAN ORGANIZATION IHIIIII) IIIFUI
PO. Box 367 Phone: (703) 920-7120
Artingtai. VA 22210 Paul J. Willis. Dir.
Fund: 1965. melon: 1500. Scientists. schotas. and laymen concerned will
new and unusual scientific diswveries. philosophic problem: pertaining to IM
criteria at scientiﬁc validity. and theories at knowledge. Maintain: llDl'I'Y at
5000 volumes in the physical. biological. and psychological sciences. Named
NATIONAL INVESTIGATIONS COMMITTEE ON AERIAL PIIEIIINEIA INICAP)
"35 University Blvd. W. , Suite 23 Phone: (301)949-1267
nsingtpn. MD 20795 John L. Atiitt. Pros.
i-onion: 1956 mimn: iooo. sm: 5. Persons iritnsteo in aerial pttenotncnl.
particularly unioemiliep tlyinq ooyects (UFOs): panel at IGVISCS includes
scientists. engineers. aviation experts. clergymen. retired military officers. and
protessors. To gainer. analyze. evaluate. and disseminate reliable information
on serial phenomena. Promotes scientific investigation. Field investigatiotts
cameo out by technically oriented subcuttlmitteos I35 U. s.). Provides
bibliographic and source materials to students. exchange data to scientific
societies and individual soentists. and semi-technical reports to scientists.
Congress. and the press. Maintains large IIDIIY on petal phenotltena. eviction.
astronomy. and collection at magazine anictes. newspaper clippings. letters.
am other documents. Sponsors I lecture program and an exhibit. Involved with
a comptnet study. Proieu ACCESS. PIIBOOIS: The U. F.O. Investigator.
montniy; also publishes UFO Evidence: UFO wave M1947: Strange Emcn from
UFOs. Board at governcrs meets qurtvty.
aiucili AND UNEXPUINED CELESTIAL EVENTS RESEARCH SOCIETY
P 0. Box 222! Phone: (304) 263-2719
Clarksbutq. WV 26301 Gray Banter. Exec. Omcor
mam: I954 I4eiIhm:6ooo. :tal: 3 Personslnteresteain UFO'stunioetitttleo
SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION CENTER FOR St-IGIT LIVED PIIEIIIIIEIA
135 Alewile Btpott Flt . Phone: (617) scum
Cambridge. MA OZI Robot Citron. Dir.
Ilium: I968. Funded by Smithsonian lnstitimon. serves as a clearing house
lor receipt and dissemination ct intormatiai concerning tie at itttreoualt
. sudden changes in biological and ecoiogical systems. Obsmvets all WI!
tne world including news media. private citizens. individual scientists. and
scientilic observatories report on any such snort-lived events. Rapid team
mobilization will enable research teams. with instruments and equipment. to get
into event areas in as snort a time as possible to collen data that might
otherwise be lost to science. Plltatieu: (I) Event Inlorntotion Reports. daily:
Event Notiiicaiion Report. daily; (3) Annud Room; (4) Event Reporm.
SOCIETY FOR THE INVESTIGATION OF THE UNEXFLAINED (haunt) (Sim
R. D.Onn Phone: (201)496-4365
Coiutmia. NJ IITKIZ Alberta Zwervet. Eiiecsec
Foam: I965. N-In: I250. An organization “It: the acquisition
investigation and dissemination pl intormalion on rt, -pom at all tangible items in
UFO INFORMATIIIV RETRIEVAL CENTER (Flannel (Uﬂmc)
P.0. Box 57 Him: (301) 435-076
Rioetwooo. NO 2113! Thane: M. Olson. Pm
mm: I966. To coiled. mun. publish and disseminate intprmatiori on
reports at unioentiliao llying oopcts. hltiutienz Relnnce tot Outstanolm
UFO Sighting Reliant. irqutl.
A. £RIAL'FII£lOﬂA RESEARCH NGANIZATION (AFRO)
3910 E xleinoaie M. Phone: (602) 793-1825
Timon. AZ 85712 Cord E. Lotenan. Sec. -Tress.
fecal: I952. lulu: soap. ital: 5. To conduct invest atione and research
into the phenomenon oi unroemilieo Ilyinq objects (U I and to lino a
scientillcally acceptable solution to this phenomenon. Has special
representatives in over 50 counties. Uses service oi over thirty start
consultants in lielos ranging tram otoctemrstiy to astmriotiiy. Maintains
COMCAT. coti-tout: catalog oi all available UFO reports. mama: aulleun. -
Attachment 2, pg 11