Thornton Leigh Page

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Thornton Leigh Page
Thornton Leigh Page.jpg
Born(1913-08-13)13 August 1913 [1]
Died2 January 1996(1996-01-02) (aged 82)
  • Helen Ashbee
    (m. 1938;div. 1945)
  • Lou Williams
    (m. 1948;his death 1996)
ChildrenTanya (with Helen) [1]
Mary Anne and Leigh II (with Lou) [1]
Parent(s)Leigh and Mary Page
Alma mater Yale (B.S.)
Oxford (D.Phil.)
AwardsRhodes scholar
Fellow, Royal Astronomical Society
Scientific career
Thesis  (1938)
Doctoral advisor Harry H. Plaskett
Edward A. Milne [1]
Military career
AllegianceFlag of the United States.svg United States of America
Service/branchFlag of the United States.svg  United States Navy
Years of service1942-1946
Rank US-O4 insignia.svg Lt. Commander
Battles/wars World War II

Thornton Leigh Page was an American professor of astronomy at the University of Chicago and at Wesleyan University. He became embroiled in the controversy over unidentified flying objects (UFOs) after serving briefly on the Robertson Panel, a Central Intelligence Agency–sponsored committee of scientists assembled in Washington, D.C. from 14–18 January 1953 to study the available evidence on UFOs. [2] [3]

University of Chicago Private research university in Chicago, Illinois, United States

The University of Chicago is a private research university in Chicago, Illinois. Founded in 1890, the school is located on a 217-acre campus in Chicago's Hyde Park neighborhood, near Lake Michigan. The University of Chicago holds top-ten positions in various national and international rankings.

Wesleyan University private liberal arts college in Middletown, Connecticut

Wesleyan University is a private liberal arts college in Middletown, Connecticut. It is a baccalaureate college that emphasizes undergraduate instruction in the arts and sciences, but also grants research master's and doctoral degrees in many academic disciplines.

Robertson Panel

The Robertson Panel was a scientific committee which met in January 1953 headed by Howard P. Robertson. The Panel arose from a recommendation to the Intelligence Advisory Committee (IAC) in December 1952 from a Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) review of the U.S. Air Force investigation into unidentified flying objects, Project Blue Book. The CIA review itself was in response to widespread reports of unidentified flying objects, especially in the Washington, D.C. area during the summer of 1952.


Early life

Thornton Page was born in New Haven, CT on 13 August 1913 to Leigh Page, a physics instructor at Yale University, and Mary Page, trained as a nurse. [1] He went on to receive a B.S. in physics from Yale in 1934, and was named a Rhodes Scholar, [4] later earning a D.Phil. from Oxford University in 1938. [1]

Yale University Private research university in New Haven, Connecticut, United States

Yale University is a private Ivy League research university in New Haven, Connecticut. Founded in 1701, it is the third-oldest institution of higher education in the United States and one of the nine Colonial Colleges chartered before the American Revolution.

Military career

During World War II, he served in the Pacific Theater with the minelaying operations research group, serving in Guan, Tinian, and at sea. He was in Tokyo for the Japanese surrender, and had reported on the atomic tests at Bikini. [1]

Professional career

After his WWII service, Thornton Page served as a professor of astrophysics for the University of Chicago from 1946 until 1950. [5] He then worked for the U.S. Army's Operations Research Office (ORO) from 1951 until 1958. [5] In 1952, Thornton Page became the first editor of Journal of the Operations Research Society of America. [6] As an astronomer for the ORO, he became embroiled in the controversy involving Unidentified Flying Objects in 1953. [7]

The Operations Research Office (ORO) was a civilian military research center founded in 1948 by the United States Army. It was run under contract by Johns Hopkins University and is regarded as one of the founding institutes of operations research as an interdisciplinary science.

<i>Operations Research</i> (journal) journal

Operations Research is a bimonthly peer-reviewed academic journal covering operations research that is published by the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences. It was established in 1952 as the Journal of the Operations Research Society of America and obtained its current name in 1955. The editor-in-chief is John Birge.

In 1958, he became a professor and head of the astronomy department at Wesleyan University. [1] He resigned from Wesleyan in 1971 and began working for the United States Naval Research Laboratory until his retirement in 1976. [8] He was elected to the 2002 class of Fellows of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences. [9]

United States Naval Research Laboratory corporate research laboratory for the United States Navy and the United States Marine Corps

The United States Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) is the corporate research laboratory for the United States Navy and the United States Marine Corps. It conducts basic scientific research, applied research, technological development and prototyping. The laboratory's specialties include plasma physics, space physics, materials science, and tactical electronic warfare. NRL is one of the first US government scientific R&D laboratories, having opened in 1923 at the instigation of Thomas Edison, and is currently under the Office of Naval Research. NRL’s research expenditures are approximately $1 billion per year.

A fellow is a member of an academy, learned society or group of learned subjects which works together in pursuing mutual knowledge or practice. There are many different kinds of fellowships which are awarded for different reasons in academia and industry. These often indicate a different level of scholarship.

The Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS) is an international society for practitioners in the fields of operations research (O.R.), management science, and analytics. It was established in 1995 with the merger of the Operations Research Society of America (ORSA) and The Institute of Management Sciences (TIMS). The 2019 president of the institute is Dean Ramayya Krishnan of Carnegie Mellon University.

Personal life

In late 1961, he was seriously injured in an automobile accident where he broke several bones and lost sight in one eye. [8] He died in Houston on 2 January 1996. [8]

Related Research Articles

Unidentified flying object Unusual apparent anomaly in the sky that is not readily identifiable

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UFO conspiracy theories argue that various governments, and politicians globally, most especially the officials of Washington, D.C., are suppressing evidence of extraterrestrial unidentified flying objects and alien visitors. Such conspiracy theories commonly argue that Earth governments, especially the Government of the United States, are in communication or cooperation with extraterrestrials despite public claims to the contrary, and further that some of these theories claim that the governments are explicitly allowing alien abduction.

Ufology study of UFOs

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Project Blue Book was one of a series of systematic studies of unidentified flying objects (UFOs) conducted by the United States Air Force. It started in 1952, the third study of its kind, following projects Sign (1947) and Grudge (1949). A termination order was given for the study in December 1969, and all activity under its auspices officially ceased in January 1970. Project Blue Book had two goals:

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J. Allen Hynek American astronomer and ufologist

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  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Osterbrock, Donald E. (August 1996). "Obituary: Thornton L. Page, 1913-1996". Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society. 28 (4): 1461–1462. Bibcode:1996BAAS...28.1461O.
  2. Shrader, Charles R. (2006). History of Operations Research in the United States Army (PDF). CMH Publication 70-102-1. Washington, DC: Center for Military History. p. 97. ISBN   978-0-16-072961-4.
  3. Robertson Panel (redacted 28 November 1994 FOIA) (18 January 1954). "Report Of Scientific Advisory Panel On Unidentified Flying Objects Convened By Office Of Scientific Intelligence, CIA". Washington, DC. Retrieved 11 August 2016.Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  4. Schaeper, Thomas J.; Schaeper, Kathleen (2010). Rhodes Scholars, Oxford, and the Creation of an American Elite. New York, NY: Berghahn Books. p. 371. ISBN   978-1-84545-721-1.
  5. 1 2 Shrader 2006, pp. 125.
  6. Shrader 2006, pp. 107.
  7. Shrader 2006, pp. 97.
  8. 1 2 3 "Thornton L. Page Papers, 1936-1983". Special Collections, Virginia Tech. 2013. Retrieved 11 August 2016.
  9. Fellows: Alphabetical List, Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences , retrieved 2019-10-09