Sunday, September 16, 2012

J. Allen Hyneck, the Father of Ufology, Videos

Dr. Josef Allen Hynek  
The Father of Ufology

Background
Dr. Josef Allen Hynek (May 1, 1910 – April 27, 1986) was born in Chicago to Czech parents. Hynek received a B.S. from the University of Chicago in 1931. He completed his Ph.D. in astrophysics at Yerkes Observatory in 1935. He joined the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Ohio State University in 1936. He specialized in the study of stellar evolution and in the identification of spectroscopic binaries.

Hynek was a United States astronomer, professor, and ufologist. He is perhaps best remembered for his UFO research. Hynek acted as scientific adviser to UFO studies undertaken by the U.S. Air Force under three consecutive names: Project Sign (1947–1949), Project Grudge (1949–1952), and Project Blue Book (1952 to 1969). For decades afterwards, he conducted his own independent UFO research, developing the Close Encounter classification system, and is widely considered the father of the concept of scientific analysis of both reports and, especially, trace evidence purportedly left by UFOs.


Early Involvement in UFOs (Project Blue Book)
The video below is terribly mislabeled, Dr. Hynek is explaining Project Bluebooks involvement misleading the public, not his own involvement. 



In response to many "flying saucer" sightings (later unidentified flying objects), the United States Air Force established Project Sign in 1948; this later became Project Grudge, which in turn became Project Blue Book in 1952. Hynek was contacted by Project Sign to act as scientific consultant for their investigation of UFO reports. Hynek would study a UFO report and subsequently decide if its description of the UFO suggested a known astronomical object.

When Project Sign hired Hynek, he was initially skeptical of UFO reports. Hynek suspected that UFO reports were made by unreliable witnesses, or by persons who had misidentified man-made or natural objects. In 1948, Hynek said that "the whole subject seems utterly ridiculous," and described it as a fad that would soon pass.


For the first few years of his UFO studies, Hynek could safely be described as a debunker. He thought that a great many UFOs could be explained as prosaic phenomena misidentified by an observer. But beyond such fairly obvious cases, Hynek often stretched logic to nearly the breaking point in an attempt to explain away as many UFO reports as possible. In his 1977 book, Hynek admitted that he enjoyed his role as a debunker for the Air Force. He also noted that debunking was what the Air Force expected of him.



Hynek's opinions about UFOs began a slow and gradual shift. After examining hundreds of UFO reports over the decades (including some made by credible witnesses, including astronomers, pilots, police officers, and military personnel), Hynek concluded that some reports represented genuine empirical observations.

Another shift in Hynek's opinions came after conducting an informal poll of his astronomer colleagues in the early 1950s. Among those he queried was Dr.Clyde Tombaugh, who discovered the dwarf planet Pluto. Of 44 astronomers, five (over 11 percent) had seen aerial objects that they could not account for with established, mainstream science. Most of these astronomers had not widely shared their accounts for fear of ridicule or of damage to their reputations or careers (Tombaugh was an exception, having openly discussed his own UFO sightings. Hynek also noted that this 11% figure was, according to most polls, greater than those in the general public who claimed to have seen UFOs. Furthermore, the astronomers were presumably more knowledgeable about observing and evaluating the skies than the general public, so their observations were arguably more impressive. Hynek was also distressed by what he regarded as the dismissive or arrogant attitude of many mainstream scientists towards UFO reports and witnesses.


Early evidence of the shift in Hynek's opinions appeared in 1953, when Hynek wrote an article for the April 1953 issue of the Journal of the Optical Society of America titled "Unusual Aerial Phenomena," which contained what would become perhaps Hynek's best known statement:

"Ridicule is not part of the scientific method, and people should not be taught that it is. The steady flow of reports, often made in concert byreliable observers, raises questions of scientific obligation and responsibility. Is there ... any residue that is worthy of scientific attention? Or, if there isn't, does not an obligation exist to say so to the public—not in words of open ridicule but seriously, to keep faith with the trust the public places in science and scientists?" 
The essay was very carefully worded: Hynek never states that UFOs are an extraordinary phenomenon. But it is clear that, whatever his own views, Hynek was increasingly distressed by what he saw as the superficial manner most scientists looked at UFOs. In 1953, Hynek was an associate member of the Robertson Panel, which concluded that there was nothing anomalous about UFOs, and that a public relations campaign should be undertaken to debunk the subject and reduce public interest. Hynek would later come to lament that the Robertson Panel had helped make UFOs a disreputable field of study.
When the UFO reports continued at a steady pace, Hynek devoted some time to studying the reports and determined that some were deeply puzzling, even after considerable study. He once said, "As a scientist I must be mindful of the past; all too often it has happened that matters of great value to science were overlooked because the new phenomenon did not fit the accepted scientific outlook of the time."
This is a good interview that Dr. Hynek had with Tom Snyder in from the early 1980's, it is very informative and well worth watching. 




Two Reasons For Hynek's Change of Opinion
In a 1985 interview, when asked what caused his change of opinion, Hynek responded, "Two things, really. One was the completely negative and unyielding attitude of the Air Force. They wouldn't give UFOs the chance of existing, even if they were flying up and down the street in broad daylight. Everything had to have an explanation. I began to resent that, even though I basically felt the same way, because I still thought they weren't going about it in the right way. You can't assume that everything is black no matter what. Secondly, the caliber of the witnesses began to trouble me. Quite a few instances were reported by military pilots, for example, and I knew them to be fairly well-trained, so this is when I first began to think that, well, maybe there was something to all this."

Regardless of his own private views, Hynek was, by and large, still echoing the post-Ruppelt line of Project Blue Book: There are no UFOs, and reports can largely be explained as misidentifications.

Though Hynek thought Ruppelt was a capable director who steered Project Blue Book in the right direction, Ruppelt headed Blue Book for only a few years. Hynek has also stated his opinion that after Ruppelt's departure, Project Blue Book was little more than a public relations exercise, further noting that little or no research was undertaken using the scientific method.

Center for UFO Studies (CUFOS)

Hynek was the founder and head of the Center for UFO Studies (CUFOS). Founded in 1973 (originally in Evanston, Illinois but now based in Chicago), CUFOS is an organization stressing scientific analysis of UFO cases. CUFOS's extensive archives include valuable files from civilian research groups such as NICAP, one of the most popular and credible UFO research groups of the 1950s and 1960s.

Interesting footnote
Hynek's son Joel Hynek is an Oscar winning movie visual effects supervisor who directed the design of the so-called camouflage effect from the movie Predator.



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