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Study: 19% of scientists believe they have observed UFOs

According to a recent survey of American scientists, nearly one-fifth of them have witnessed or know someone who has witnessed unidentified aerial phenomena (UAPs), and more than a third of them are interested in conducting UAP research.

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The survey, published in Humanities and Social Science Communications, suggests that many scientists regard UAPs as a legitimate topic of academic inquiry.

The survey was conducted by Marissa Yingling, Charlton Yingling, and Bethany Bell in 2022. They contacted 39,984 professors, associate professors, and assistant professors from 144 US universities across 14 academic disciplines.

The response rate was 4%, resulting in 1,460 participants. The majority of the participants were male (62%) and from disciplines such as political science (10%), physics (10%), psychology (10%), and engineering (6%).

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The participants were asked about their perceptions, experiences, and opinions about UAPs, which are defined as observations of the sky that could not be identified as aircraft or known natural phenomena. UAPs have gained attention in recent years due to the release of official reports and videos by the US government .

The results showed that 19% of the participants (276) reported that they or someone they knew had witnessed a UAP, and another 9% (128) reported that they or someone they knew may have witnessed a UAP. The most common explanations for UAPs among the participants were natural phenomena (21%), devices of unknown intelligence (13%), and unknown (39%).

Only 4% of the participants reported that they had done academic research related to UAPs, but 36% (524) reported some degree of interest in doing research in this area.

The main factors that would increase their likelihood of conducting UAP research were the availability of funding (55%) and the endorsement of an established scholar in their discipline (43%).

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The authors concluded that their survey revealed a significant level of curiosity and openness among scientists toward UAPs, despite the stigma and lack of institutional support associated with this topic.

They argued that further UAP research is important for advancing scientific knowledge and understanding potential threats or opportunities for humanity.

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Jake Carter

Jake Carter is a researcher and a prolific writer who has been fascinated by science and the unexplained since childhood. He is always eager to share his findings and insights with the readers of, a website he created in 2013.