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Edward U. Condon collection

Identifier: COU:455

Scope and Contents

This collection includes documents, reports, journals, research papers, international newsletters, and books gathered during Edward U. Condon's work with the Gemini mission at NASA (1865-1966) and the “The Scientific Study of Unidentified Flying Objects" commissioned project (1966-1968). The latter materials also include moving image films donated to CU in 2009 by William K. Hartmann, a former photoresearcher for the Condon Commission.


  • 1965 - 1968

Conditions Governing Access

Research access to original moving image films in this collection is restricted, due to preservation concerns. Contact with a list of desired items and a statement of intended use, which will be evaluated by the Moving Image Archivist based on preservation condition of the desired items and staff availability; please note that access may not be guaranteed for all items. All analog sound recordings, video formats, and badly deteriorated film held by the Archives must be digitized for research access, due to preservation concerns. If these materials have not previously been digitized, the researcher is responsible for the cost of digitization. Researchers may request access to previously-digitized audiovisual materials that are not online on the CU Digital Library by contacting

Copyright Statement

The University Libraries do not own the copyright to this collection. Researchers are responsible for contacting the copyright holder(s) for this material and obtaining permission to publish or broadcast. The University Libraries will not grant permission to publish or broadcast this material and are not responsible for copyright violations resulting from such use.

Biographical Note

Born on March 2, 1902 in Alamogordo, New Mexico, Edward U. Condon (1902-1974) was a theoretical physicist who made substantial contributions to academia, industry, and government. He had major impact in the development of scientific fields such as quantum mechanics, nuclear science, and electronics. The Franck–Condon principle and the Slater–Condon rules are co-named after him.

Condon received both his bachelor’s degree (1924) and doctoral degree (1926) in physics from the University of California. He also received the honorary D.Sc. degree from various institutions such as the University of Delhi (India), New Mexico Institute of Mines and Technology, American University, and Alfred University. He taught at Princeton University before becoming director of the National Bureau of Standards (1945-1951) and the director of research and development (1951-1954) and consulting physicist (1954-1974) at Corning Glass Works. During his work with the National Bureau of Standards (NBS), he was influential in forming the McMahon-Douglas bill of August 1946, which established the Atomic Energy Commission. These activities drew the attention of the House Un-American Activities Commission (HUAC), and Condon was accused in 1952 by HUAC of being a liability for national security. These accusations persisted through 1954, though he was eventually absolved of any wrongdoing.

Edward Condon joined the faculty of the University of Colorado in 1963 as a professor of physics and physics and astrophysics and fellow of the Joint Institute of Laboratory Astrophysics (JILA). During his time at CU, he consulted on NASA's Gemini Missions of 1965-1966. Afterwards, he was asked to lead the "Scientific Study of Unidentified Flying Objects" (1966-1968), commissioned by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, to investigate claims of unidentified flying objects (UFOs). Condon's resulting report, published in 1968 and known as the "Condon Report," broadly concluded that there was no scientific basis to conclude that UFOs were of extraterrestrial origin.

Edward Condon died in Boulder, Colorado in 1974.


17 linear feet (11 boxes, 4 reels)

Language of Materials



Edward U. Condon (1902-1974) was a physicist well known for his participation in the development of radar and nuclear weapons. The collection includes documents, journals, research papers, international newsletters, and books gathered during his involvement with the Gemini mission at NASA and his commissioned study of Unidentified Flying Objects (UFOs).


The collection is arranged into five series: 1. Gemini Mission, 2. UFO sighting and incident reports, 3. Microfilm, 4. Printed material, and 5. Moving Image Films
In Progress
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the University of Colorado Boulder Libraries, Rare and Distinctive Collections Repository

1720 Pleasant Street
184 UCB
Boulder Colorado 80503 United States