Condon, Edward U(hler) (1902–1974)
Professor of physics at the University of Colorado, and director
of the study on UFOs (unidentified flying objects) commissioned
by the U.S. Air Force and conducted by the University
of Colorado in the late 1960s. The Condon Report, officially
titled the Scientific Study of Unidentified Flying Objects, was released
by the U.S. government in 1969.
Edward Condon was born on March 2, 1902 in Almogordo,
New Mexico. An outspoken and controversial figure, he spent
two years doing research in Germany after obtaining a Ph.D.
in physics from the University of California in 1926. He was assistant
professor of physics at Princeton University (1928–29),
professor of theoretical physics at the University of Minnesota,
and associate professor at Princeton (1930–37). During World
War II he was associate director of the Westinghouse Research
Laboratories and participated in the development of radar and
the atom bomb. After the war he became director of the National
Bureau of Standards, U.S. Department of Consumers
(1945–51), and subsequently headed the research and development
division of Corning Glass Works (1951–54).
In the late 1940s Condon was attacked by the House UnAmerican
Activities Committee for allegedly ‘‘consorting with
communists.’’ At the time he was a special adviser to the Special
Senate Committee on Atomic Energy of the Congress. Following
the ‘‘witch-hunts’’ of the period, and after clashing with
Richard Nixon, his security clearance was revoked in 1953 and
1954. He resigned from Corning Glass Works and returned to
an academic career. From 1956 to 1963, he was Wayman Crow
Professor of Physics at Washington University, and he joined
the University of Colorado faculty in 1963 as a professor in the
Department of Physics and Astrophysics and fellow in the Joint
Institute for Laboratory Astrophysics.
Condon’s main conclusion was that further studies of UFO
phenomena would not be of scientific benefit. He rejected the
hypothesis of extraterrestrial origins of UFOs. Not surprisingly,
he was condemned by many UFO enthusiasts as a debunker
of the subject. He did not personally conduct field investigations
while preparing this report. Condon retired after the report
appeared and was named emeritus professor in 1970. He
died on March 26, 1974 in Boulder, Colorado.
Sources
Condon, Edward U. ‘‘UFOs I Have Loved and Lost.’’ Bulletin
of the Atomic Scientists (December 1969).

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