Popular name for the Scientific Study of Unidentified Flying Objects,
written by Edward U. Condon, edited by Daniel S. Gillmor,
and released by the U.S. government in 1969. The project
grew out of a critical review of Project Blue Book, the U.S. Air
Force structure for reviewing UFO reports, by the Air Forces
Scientific Advisory Board in March 1966. The next month, a
hearing on UFOs was conducted by the U.S. House of Representatives
Armed Services Committee.
Subsequently commissioned by the U.S. Air Force, the Condon
study occupied 15 months investigation of reports of unidentified
flying objects. The report was skeptical and ascribed
most UFO sightings to weather balloons, stars, birds, insects,
optical illusions, or atmospheric phenomena. The tone and
conclusions of the report flatly repudiated earlier rumors that
the U.S. government accepted the reality of flying saucers, stating,
Our general conclusion is that nothing has come from the
study of UFOs in the past 21 years that has added to scientific
knowledge. As a result, the U.S. Air Force canceled Project
Blue Book in December 1969, and, as a whole, ufology entered
a period of decline.
During the writing of the report a controversy arose as
charges were made that the study was a sham and that Condon
had already reached his conclusions before the project began.
Several UFO groups withdrew their support. Ufologists who
read the report noted that many of the cases cited had no assigned
explanation. Slowly a reaction built. In 1972 J. Allen
Hynek wrote The UFO Experience, in which he critiques the report
and charges the Air Force with incompetence in handling
UFO reports. The following year he founded the Center for
UFO Studies (now the J. Allen Hynek Center for UFO
Condon, Edward U. Scientific Study of Unidentified Flying Objects.
Springfield, VA National Technical Information Service,
1968. Reprint, New York E. P. Dutton, 1970.
Hynek, J. Allen. The UFO Experience A Scientific Enquiry. Chicago
Henry Regnery, 1972.
Saunders, David R., and R. Roger Hawkins. UFOs Yes!
Where the Condon Committee Went Wrong. New York World,
1968. Reprint, New York New American Library, 1968.