Robertson Panel

Robertson Panel
Robertson Panel

Date: Early 1950's

In July 1952, a major sighting wave occurred and Air Force jet interceptors chased UFOs all over the country. Around Washington, D.C., UFOs were tracked by several radar installations simultaneously, and seen visually from the air and ground. The Central Intelligence Agency apparently became concerned that whether UFOs were real or not, the reports might clog the Nation's intelligence channels, allowing an enemy to attack undetected.

In January 1953, the CIA convened a panel of scientists, chaired by HP. Robertson, a scientist at Cal Tech, to look at some of the Government's UFO data. The scientists were briefed by an Air Force team. After three days, the panel concluded that its original concern was correct, but that there was no convincing evidence that UFOs themselves were a threat to national security. The panel's recommendation that the Government treat UFOs more openly was never implemented.

The group was under the leadership of Howard Percy Robertson, who was physicist, and a CIA employee. The groups first meeting was on January 14, 1953.

The group members were:

Dr. H.P. Robertson California Institute of Technology Physics, weapons systems (Chairman)

Dr. Luis W. Alverez University of California Physics, radar (and later, a Nobel Prize winner)

Dr. Lloyd V. Berkner Associated Universities, Inc. Geophysics

Frederick C. Durant, CIA officer, Missile expert (Secretary to the panel)

Dr. Samuel Goudsmit Brookhaven National Laboratories Atomic structure, statistical problems

Dr. Thornton Page Office of Research Operations, Johns Hopkins University Astronomy, Astro-physics

Associate panel member:

J. Allen Hynek Astronomer

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