James McGaha, MS, F.R.A.S. | Conference Chairman

James McGaha is a retired USAF pilot, skeptic, astronomer and director of the Grasslands Observatory. He held a TOP SECRET security clearance and was involved in numerous classified operations, including operations in the so-called “Area 51.”

His current work includes astrometry and photometry of asteroids and supernovae. He has discovered 15 asteroids and 56 comets and provided optical identification of gamma-ray burst GRB 030329. He has provided over 1900 M.P.E.C. publications on near earth asteroids. He was the winner of the 2002 Shoemaker NEO Grant. Asteroid 10036 McGaha is named in his honor. He is scientific consultant to CSI (Committee for Skeptical Inquiry) and a fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society. For over thirty-five years he has investigated, lectured, and been interviewed as a UFO expert.

Dr. David Morrison

Dr. David Morrison is the director of the NASA Lunar Science Institute and senior scientist for astrobiology at the NASA Ames Research Center. Prior to this position, he served as director of Space and as chief of the Space Science Division at NASA Ames, and before that as professor and vice-chancellor for research at the University of Hawaii. Dr. Morrison is internationally known for his research on small bodies in the solar system and has published more than 155 technical papers and a dozen books, including five university-level textbooks and several popular trade books on space science topics.

He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the California Academy of Sciences, and the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry. He has served as chair of the Division for Planetary Science of the American Astronomical Society, chair of the Astronomy Section of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and chair of the Working Group on Near Earth Objects of the International Astronomical Union.

Dr. Morrison’s UFO presentations

Robert Sheaffer

Robert Sheaffer is a writer with a lifelong interest in astronomy and the question of life on other planets. He is one of the leading skeptical investigators of UFOs, and a founding member of the UFO Subcommittee of the well-known Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (formerly CSICOP). He is also a founding director and past chairman of the Bay Area Skeptics, a local skeptics’ group in the San Francisco Bay area pursuing aims similar to those of CSI.

Sheaffer is the author of UFO Sightings (Prometheus Books, 1998) and has appeared on many radio and TV programs. His writings and reviews have appeared in such diverse publications as OMNI, Scientific American, Spaceflight, Astronomy, The Humanist, Free Inquiry, Reason, and others. He is a regular columnist for the Skeptical Inquirer. He is a contributor to the book Extraterrestrials — Where Are They? (Pergamon Press, Hart and Zuckerman, editors), which Science magazine called “one of the most interesting and important of the decade.” He wrote the article on UFOs for Prometheus Books’ Encyclopedia of the Paranormal, as well as for the Funk and Wagnalls Encyclopedia.

Dave Thomas

Dave Thomas is a physicist and mathematician. He received bachelor's degrees in mathematics and physics and a master of science in mathematics from the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, where he was awarded the Brown Medal and the Langmuir Award. Thomas is president of the science group New Mexicans for Science and Reason (www.nmsr.org), and also is a fellow of CSI (Committee for Skeptical Inquiry), the publishers of Skeptical Inquirer. He has published several articles in Skeptical Inquirer on the Roswell and Aztec UFO Incidents, as well as on the Bible Code. Thomas has also published in Scientific American (Dec. 1980 cover article) and holds several patents.