About one-fifth of academics who responded to a recent survey reported that they or someone they knew had seen what we now call unidentified aerial phenomena (UAPs), and more than a third were interested in doing serious academic research on the topic.

“I personally know three physicists who independently report seeing UFOs,” one scientist (whose field was omitted for privacy reasons) told social scientist Marissa Yingling, historian Charlton Yingling, and education researcher Bethany Bell. “They have no explanation for the phenomenon they observed, other than they observed it.”

That scientist is one of about 280 academic researchers who reported that they, or someone they know, have witnessed UAPs — the current, more respectable term for UFOs. They make up a fifth of the researchers who responded to Yingling and her colleagues’ recent survey on the subject. Responders included researchers in 14 academic fields, from art and design to physics, at 144 major U.S. universities. They published their results in the journal Humanities and Social Sciences Communications.

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