Sunday, August 5, 2007

All About Nothing (Too Bad)

During the summer of 1966, enthusiastic about the Air Force contracting for a UFO study with an institution that eventually turned out to be the University of Colorado, I wrote Syracuse University to inquire whether S.U. would have a role in any aspect of the project. I think my curiosity arose because, from time to time, a member of the Syracuse University Research Corp. would contact me with questions about UFOs. Yes, the inquiry was a shot in the dark -- and the reply from the dean of engineering far more than I anticipated.

Still, I was overwhelmed by his candor and nonchalant attitude toward university participation in a UFO study, if requested. Remember, these were the sixties, and maybe college kids were wearing flowers in their hair and practicing "free love," but I would wager that openness about scientific UFO investigations in many university settings might have been a phenomenon in itself.

But what if Syracuse or some other university saturated with an impressive array of scientists had acquired the Air Force contract instead of Colorado, treating UFO research fairly rather than inviting condemnation? How would our lives and academia have changed with a university announcement that UFOs represent a legitimate scientific mystery, desirous of an extensive investigation? At the very least, wouldn't it be great to turn back the clock and watch a team of university professors proclaim that some thirty percent of the UFO cases submitted for study actually remained unidentified (as they were via Colorado's project, despite the absurd negative results), thus supporting the conclusion that the anomaly deserves research, not derision or a negative conclusion?

Universities and professors all over the country, all kinds of possible combinations for a no-nonsense UFO study, and what did we get from Colorado University and Dr. Condon? Ha! I heard what you said, and you're right. But we also got something else:

A good lesson.