Alumni: Joseph A. Hynek, 1935
Ph.D., University of Chicago, 1935

May 1, 1910 - April 27, 1986


Astronomer J. Allen Hynek led Northwestern's Astronomy Department into the Space Age and became the nation's foremost expert on unidentified flying objects (UFOs). He oversaw the significant expansion of Northwestern's Astronomy Department and made important contributions to his field, most notably by successfully incorporating television technology into telescopes for the first time. However, he was best known for his work on UFOs. First as an Air Force investigator and then as a lonely voice in the scientific community calling for more serious study of UFOs, he became the most important advocate of UFO research and inspired the film "Close Encounters of the Third Kind."