Summary: There may be more to UFO evidence than just verbal reports of what people see in the sky. Some UFO evidence may be worthy of scientific investigation. This is the tentative conclusion of a panel of scientists convened by the Society for Scientific Exploration to examine this matter. The panel of nine scientists met at a conference center near New York from September 29 to October 3.
Stanford, CA, October 6, 1997 --- There may be more to UFO evidence than just verbal reports of what people see in the sky. Some UFO evidence may be worthy of scientific investigation. This is the tentative conclusion of a panel of scientists convened by the Society for Scientific Exploration to examine this matter. The panel of nine scientists met at a conference center near New York from September 29 to October 3.
The panel reviewed evidence presented by eight UFO investigators, and will issue a report within a few months that summarizes the workshop activities and makes recommendations for further research.
The panelists were drawn from France, Germany and the United States. The investigators came from France, Germany, Norway and the United States. The strong representation from France is due to the fact that France is the only country that has an unclassified on-going official investigation into UFO reports. This program at CNES, the French Space Agency in Toulouse, is headed by Jean-Jacques Velasco who was a participant in the workshop.
Velasco described damage to soil and vegetation associated with a strange object that was seen to land at a farm in Trans-en-Provence in France, departing within about one minute. This evidence has been analyzed by scientists in France on behalf of CNES.
Other evidence presented and critically reviewed at the workshop included photographs, video records, spectroscopic data, radar records, reports of malfunctions of automobile and aircraft equipment, material specimens, and radiation-type injuries to witnesses.
"We made no effort to solve the UFO problem," said Prof. Von Eshleman of Stanford University and Dr. Thomas Holzer of the High Altitude Observatory, co-chairs of the Review Panel. "We had a far more modest goal. We were here only to inform ourselves about claimed evidence, and to try to decide if further scientific study of such evidence is likely to significantly advance the resolution of the UFO problem."
The "UFO problem" was defined by Prof. Peter Sturrock of Stanford University, director of the workshop, as the problem of understanding the cause or causes of UFO reports. "Honest people report strange observations. Not all reports have obvious explanations. So what are the not-so-obvious explanations? I would like to see scientists play a more active role in helping to unravel this 50-year old mystery. I see the workshop as a small step in this direction."
Other members of the panel were Prof. J. R. Jokipii of the University of Arizona; Dr. Francois Louange, formerly with the European Space Agency; Prof. H.J. Melosh of the University of Arizona; Prof. James Papike of the University of New Mexico; Dr. Guenther Reitz, DLR Aerospace Medicine, Cologne; Prof. Charles Tolbert from the University of Virginia; and Dr. Bernard Veyret, University of Bordeaux.
In addition to Velasco, the panel received presentations from Dr. Richard Haines of Los Altos, California; Illobrand von Ludwiger, DB Aerospace, Munich; Mark Rodeghier of the Center for UFO Studies; John Schuessler of Houston; Prof. Michael Swords of Western Michigan University; Dr. Jacques Vallee of San Francisco; and Erling Strand, Ostfold College, Norway.
For further information contact Prof. Peter Sturrock, Stanford University, 650-723-1438.
The Journal of Scientific Exploration is the quarterly peer-reviewed research journal of the Society for Scientific Exploration, an interdisciplinary organization of scholars formed to support unbiased investigation of claimed anomalous phenomena.