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J. Allen Hynek
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    (May 1, 1910-April 27, 1986)
    Born in Chicago, Illinois
    Birth name was Josef Allen Hynek
    Astronomer and ufologist
    Scientific advisor for the US Air Force's UFO studies (1949-69)
    Wrote 'The UFO Experience: A Scientific Inquiry' (1972) and 'The Hynek UFO Report' (1977)
    Founded the Center for UFO Studies (1973)
    He initially dismissed UFOs as 'a fad that would soon pass,' but ended up spending the rest of his life studying them.
    He said, 'I stretched far to give something a natural explanation, sometimes when it may not have really had it.'
    He popularized 'swamp gas' as a dismissive explanation for UFOs when he suggested it may have been responsible for sightings in Michigan (1966).
    He helped develop a radio proximity fuse for the Navy during WWII.
    He popularized the phrase 'close encounter' and was a consultant for (and made a cameo appearance in) Stephen Spielberg's 'Close Encounters of the Third Kind.'
    He said, 'Ridicule is not part of the scientific method, and people should not be taught that it is.'

Credit: C. Fishel

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