McDonald, James E.
Atmospheric physicist at the University of Arizona, Tucson, who was one
of the few prominent scientists openly to support the extraterrestrial
hypothesis of unidentified flying objects
in the 1960s. He became closely involved with the subject in 1966 following
a number of sightings in that year, including one over Tucson, and a visit
to Hynek and others involved with Project
Blue Book. A lecture he delivered in Washington, DC, in which he argued
that UFOs were "the greatest scientific problem of our times," received
widespread media coverage. He was particularly scathing of the Condon
Report, considering it "seriously deficient" and its conclusions "almost
incredible." In 1971, together with Gordon Thayer, he presented details
of two case studies which he considered completely unresolved. On June 13,
1971, he was found to have committed suicide in the desert near Tucson.