The Counterculture & Physics / Grassroots UFOs

The Counterculture & Physics / Grassroots UFOs


HostGeorge Knapp

GuestsDavid Kaiser, Jack Sarfatti, Fred Alan Wolf, Sue Swiatek

In the first half, George Knapp welcomed Dr. David Kaiser, along with Dr. Jack Sarfatti and Dr. Fred Alan Wolf, for a discussion on how a group of counterculture physicists in the 1970's led the way for cutting edge concepts like quantum theory. Kaiser explained that this informal organization, dubbed the "Fundamental Fysiks Group," would meet weekly in Berkley, California during the 1970's. Described as "very free-spirited but also very serious," Kaiser noted that the group's members were focused on "big, deep, and great questions about quantum theory." Ultimately, he credited the group for fundamentally changing the field of physics and leaving a legacy that "simply can't be denied."

Wolf and Sarfatti, who were a part of the group, reflected on their time as members of the colorful coterie. Opting to eschew the label "hippies," Wolf countered that they were "fringe, you might call us, or marginal." He mused that what was considered marginal in the 1970's would go on to become "state of the world, 'okay' stuff in the '90s." Later in the program, as the duo was discussing the current state of theoretical physics, Sarfatti showed that the spirit of the Fundamental Fysiks Group remains alive and well. He observed that, based on cutting edge research, "there's a new physics happening," which violates the current quantum mechanics and requires a change in the prominent theories of the day. Sarfatti surmised that this revolutionary work indicates the "heretical" perspective that "current day orthodox quantum theory is not the final word."

Grassroots UFOs

The latter half featured MUFON Virginia state director, Sue Swiatek, talking about the work of John Timmerman, who ran a traveling UFO exhibit where thousands of ordinary people relayed their UFO sightings and experiences. Swiatek recalled how, in 1980, the largest mall in Texas requested that the Center for UFO Studies create an exhibit to coincide with the release of the second Star Wars film. The massive display proved so popular that copies were made and sent out on tour, ultimately traveling to 92 locations over the course of 12 years. Stationed at the end of the exhibit, Swiatek said, sat Timmerman, who would document visitors' UFO stories. All told, he recorded approximately 1,200 cases that were shared by members of the public who visited the UFO exhibit.

"It's amazing, the diversity and breadth of the cases," Swiatek marveled at the sheer volume of information collected by Timmerman. She noted that, beyond merely personal UFO accounts, some witnesses turned out to be additional, tangential observers to some of ufology's most classic cases. To that end, Swiatek recounted one man's tale of working at the control tower during the Thomas Mantell UFO event and listened to the pilot's baffled description of the encounter moments before he disappeared. Additionally, Swiatek pointed out how Timmerman's collection of cases encapsulates the variety and geographically expansive nature of the UFO phenomenon. This aspect of the enigma, she stressed, continues to persist to this day.



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