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Regarding James McDonald
Scientist and Person


Dr. James E. McDonald (1920-1971)

James Edward McDonald received his Ph.D. in physics from Iowa State University in 1951, then worked there as an assistant professor in meteorology. He was a research physicist in the University of Chicago's department of meteorology (1953-54). In 1954 he joined the University of Arizona faculty, first as an associate professor (1954-56), then as a full professor in the department of meteorology (1956-71). McDonald was also a senior physicist in the University's Institute of Atmospheric Physics, and served as both associate director (1954-56) and scientific director (1956-57). He also advised numerous federal agencies, including the National Science Foundation, The Office of Naval Research, the National Academy of Sciences, and the Environmental Science Service Administration.

During the mid-late 1960s, McDonald became intensively involved in UFO research, interviewing hundreds of UFO witnesses and lecturing widely on the subject to professional societies. His talks emphasized the need for a serious scientific study, adding that he considered the best reports to be evidence of extraterrestrial visitation. He also played an important role in Congressional UFO hearings in 1968.

Privately, McDonald analyzed all Project Blue Book case files, convincing him that the Air Force had performed an entirely inadequate investigation, which appeared to have been more concerned with internal politics rather than real science. He also reviewed the cases of the Air Force's sponsored University of Colorado UFO study, and concluded that many of their explanations were not well founded either. McDonald left no book but privately published many monographs based on his lecture presentations, some of which are included below.

Science in Default - 22 Years of Inadequate UFO Investigations

The Problem of Unidentified Flying Objects

Meteorological Factors in Unidentified Radar Returns

UFOs And The Condon Report - A Scientist's Critique

Statement on UFOs - Hearings Before The Committee on Science and Astronautics Committee on Science and Astronautics,

"Symposium on Unidentified Flying Objects -- Hearings Before The Committee on Science And Astronautics,"U.S. House of Representatives, 19th Congress, Second Session, July 29, 1968.

Story, Ronald D., and Greenwell, Richard J.(eds.), "The Encyclopedia of UFOs," Doubleday & Company, New York, 1980, pp. 222-23. Vaughan, Valerie, "UFOs and Science -- The Collected Writings of Dr. James E. McDonald," The Fund for UFO Research, Mt. Rainier, Maryland, 1995.

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Brian Zeiler or Jean van Gemert

This page was last updated on Saturday, April 19, 1997
Copyright 1996-97 by Jean van Gemert and Brian Zeiler.

All Rights Reserved

McDonald Credentials to July 1968
compiled by Val Germann


Born: Duluth, Minnesota, May 7, 1920. B.A.,
Chemistry, University of Omaha, 1942. M.A.,
Meteorology, M.I.T., 1945. Ph.D.,
U.S. Navy, Intelligence & aerology, 1942-45.
Instructor, Physics, Iowa State University, 1946-49.
Physics, Iowa State University, 1951.
Assistant Professor, Physics, Iowa State University, 1950-53.
Research Physicist, Cloud Physics, Univ. of Chicago, 1953-54.
Associate Prof., Physics, Univ. of Arizona, 1954-56.
Full Professor,, Physics, Univ. of Arizona, 1956-57.
Senior Physicist, Inst. of Atmospheric Studies, 1958 - present.
Member, Weather Modification Panel, NAS, 1965 - present.
Member, Navy Stormfury Advisory Panel, 1966 - present.
Member, NSF Weather Modification Panel, 1967 - present.
Member, AAAS, American Meteorological Society,
Sigma Xi, American Geophysical Society,
American Society of University Professors.
Married, Six Children.

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