Who started the Center for UFO Studies?
The Center for UFO Studies was started by Dr. J. Allen Hynek, who was a professor of astronomy at Ohio State University, and later, chairman of the astronomy department at Northwestern University. During the 1950s and 1960s, he served as the astronomical consultant to the United States Air Force's Project Blue Book. Essentially, his responsibility was to determine whether there was an astronomical explanation for a UFO sighting. Professor Hynek would study a UFO report and decide if its description of the UFO suggested a known astronomical object. That is, did the witness see the planet Venus or a meteor instead of a genuine UFO?
At first, Dr. Hynek was skeptical of the whole UFO business, but after examining hundreds of UFO reports by credible witnesses, he became convinced UFOs were worthy of serious study. With the closing of Project Blue Book in 1969, he began to seriously consider forming a private, scientific UFO organization composed of scientists and other highly-trained technical experts, who would work together to solve the UFO enigma. In 1972, Hynek published his classic book, The UFO Experience: A Scientific Study, in which he presented his categories for grouping UFO sightings and coined the phrase, "Close Encounters." In 1973, he started the Center for UFO Studies and served as its scientific director until his death in 1986. Before he died, Dr. Hynek appointed Mark Rodeghier to succeed him as scientific director. The Center for UFO Studies continues to honor Hynek's legacy through its serious study and examination of the UFO phenomenon.
What does the Center for UFO Studies do?
The Center for UFO Studies (CUFOS) has two principal activities. First, it maintains a library and archives of UFO-related materials. These materials include books, articles, documents, and sighting reports. Second, the Center supports investigators with research materials. Of course, the Center for UFO Studies continues to investigate UFO sightings and to collect and evaluate UFO reports from around the world. This sighting information is summarized in a computer database called UFOCAT maintained and updated by Don Johnson.
Current board members are Dr. Mark Rodeghier, Scientific Director; Michael Swords, Western Michigan University (retired); George Eberhart, Secretary; Bill Murphy, Treasurer; Jerome Clark and Eddie Bullard.