I cannot dismiss the UFO phenomenon with a shrug. The "hard data" cases contain frequent allusions to recurrent kinematic, geometric, and luminescent characteristics. I have begun to feel that there is a tendency in 20th-century science to forget that there will be a 21st-century science, and indeed, a 30th-century science, from which vantage points our knowledge of the universe may appear quite different. We suffer perhaps, from temporal provincialism, a form of arrogance that has always irritated posterity.
|Dr. J. Allen Hynek makes a cameo appearance in the movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind|
A landed UFO is alleged to simply take off from the ground and zoom away, without expelling anything in the opposite direction. Momentum has been created - how? The UFO has acquired kinetic energy as it speeds away. Where did that energy come from? Magic, perhaps? So it would appear that "future science" will no longer be limited by simplistic concepts such as conservation of energy or momentum. Even many skeptics fall into this trap. Once I was being interviewed by a well-known skeptic for a podcast, who suggested that 'before long, our technology will be able to do the things that these UFOs are reportedly doing.' And I replied that's not true, unless you are willing to cavalierly toss out fundamental physical laws.
I was very interested to read in the San Diego Union Tribune a December 2 story by science reporter Gary Robbins titled "Flying cars and teleporters aren't in your future," based upon an interview with UCSD physics professor Tom Murphy. Murphy relates how one day when he was talking with a group of physics students, one of them said, "If it can be imagined, it can be done." Other students nodded their heads in agreement. Said Murphy, "It took me all of two seconds to violate this dictum as I imagined myself jumping straight up to the Moon... I wondered how pervasive this attitude was among physics students and faculty. So I put together a survey. The overriding theme: experts say don't count on a Star Trek future."
|Prof. Tom Murphy|
As might be expected, undergrads are the most optimistic about future "breakthroughs," grad students less so, and physics professors the most pessimistic of all. It seems that the more you know about physics, the less likely you are to accept the far-out stuff. However there was one dissenting faculty member:
Note the optimistic outlier in the faculty ranks. We saw this individual stand out on the wormhole question. Examining this person’s responses, it’s all 1, 2, and 3 responses, save one 4 for time travel. Nothing is off limits to this professor, and most things deserve a timescale. This individual is clearly out of step with the cohort, and tying the most optimistic undergrad: forever young.Participation in the survey was anonymous for invited persons, but if I had to take a wild guess, I'd say that Prof. Michio Kaku probably participated. (He praised Leslie Kean's problem-ridden UFO book as the "gold standard" of UFO research.) Murphy notes,
The biggest differences between faculty and grad students crop up on questions pertaining to flying cars, cloaking, and studying astrophysical objects up close. The largest graduate-undergraduate discrepancy appears for the question about artificial gravity. The largest end-to-end discrepancies (faculty to undergraduate) relate to flying cars, artificial gravity, and warp drive.The physics faculty members' expectations of the likelihood of certain developments, from most to least probable, is as follows:
Autopilot Cars likely within 50 years
So to those who are proclaiming that UFOs are real, and that 'future physics' will explain how they operate via wormholes, warp drives, teleportation, or time travel, the message from physics professors is: forget about it.Real Robots likely within 500 yearsFusion Power likely within 500 yearsLunar Colony likely within 5000 yearsCloaking Devices likely within 5000 years200 Year Lifetime maybe within 5000 yearsMartian Colony probably eventually (>5000 yr)Terraforming probably eventually (> 5000 yr)Alien Dialog probably eventually (> 5000 yr)Alien Visit on the fenceJetpack unlikely everSynthesized Food unlikely everRoving Astrophysics unlikely everFlying “Cars” unlikely everVisit Black Hole forget about itArtificial Gravity forget about itTeleportation forget about itWarp Drive forget about itWormhole Travel forget about itTime Travel forget about it