The Search for Dark Matter and UAP (UFOs) - with Matthew Szydagis | Merged Podcast EP 8
You asked a really good question about, well, what expertise did I bring to UAP? And the expertise that I bring is radiation detection, because dark matter detection is just one step away from just detection of any particles in general. Because when you're looking for a new particle, and you need to know what particles we already understand, you cannot claim to discover something new unless you've addressed all the existing possibilities. And the reason why that's connected to UAP is because of all of the claims of radiation. There's plenty of historical examples of claims of UAP producing radiation. And to me, that's really interesting because you can fake or hoax a video, it's really hard to fake a radiation signal. I'm not saying it's impossible, but like it's one thing to use CGI and fake people with a UFO picture, but radiation screams to me real phenomenon, very difficult to hoax. And again, that
doesn't prove it's alien spacecraft, but it proves it's something weird and interesting. Caius Institute is a pioneer in the field of AI driven comparative and qualitative analysis, and was established with the primary goal of uncovering the hidden value left behind in complex data sets. Through a combination of human expertise and cutting edge technologies, Caius has developed a range of services that cater to various industries. They are providing valuable insights that can help drive growth, formulate competitive strategy, and to identify key patterns in targeted demographics.
Head to their site to learn more. Caius.Institute. That's C-O-E-U-S.Institute. Matt, thanks for joining me. You are
an associate professor, and you primarily focus on detections of dark matter, weakly interacting massive particles, another thing. You also are interested, or at least intrigued to some degree, by unidentified anomalous phenomenon. Both of those, I would say, are principles or theories that suffer from a lack of data that satisfies everyone else's say. Do you feel like there's a relation between the two as far as you're interested in them, as far as driving towards these conversations about things on the edge of our data sets, if you will, if not our understanding? Yeah, there is one major difference, though, which is dark matter is accepted by most of the mainstream scientific community. That being said, there really is a good analogy, actually, because even though I just said dark matter as well, accepted, that's really mostly within astrophysics, cosmology, particle physics. I've encountered scientists in
other fields, including in other fields of physics, who will laugh about dark matter and say, "Oh, there's no such thing." So actually, there is a remarkable amount of good analogies. So even though one is considered accepted, if you talk to the right people, you do get laughed at for looking for dark matter as well.
Interesting. Well, let's talk a little bit about your academic and professional background. Could you tell us a little bit about your studies and what you do now professionally? Sure. So I'll start with my alma mater, University of Chicago. That's where I got everything, actually, got my bachelor's, master's, and PhD there. So I
stuck around for a long time. Then I went to UC Davis in California for a few years. And after that, I was and have been, continue to this day to be a faculty member at the University at Albany, SUNY. So that's the State University of New York system. So
that's sort of my background. I'm a professor of physics at SUNY Albany. And I've been there for over nine years now. And my
main effort, as we just said, is really the search for dark matter. It's my research effort. But as a professor, I do, you know, I teach courses, and I have to sit on committees, you know, nobody likes that part. And there's research. So being a
professor is kind of like a full-time job times three. So I often joke with people, I work 300% a time because each of those pillars of being a professor, research, teaching, service, all can take up all your time. Is your teaching focused on your research activities? That's a good question. It's not. It's, that's a very common question that we, that professors often get. We teach whatever, whatever needs to be done. It can be physics, physics one for pre meds and those who hate physics. It can be a graduate course
anywhere in between. We do sometimes get to, but it's very rare actually, we may get to teach an elective advanced course in our, in our field. So I did a few years ago create a class that focuses not just on dark matter, because that's too specific for one semester, but sort of dark matter within the bigger picture of what's called astroparticle physics. But I haven't taught that course in years, especially with the, given the pandemic and everything that electives weren't as high of a priority for teaching as like the main, the main focus of physics courses. Astroparticle physics? Yeah, that's the big picture name for my sort of where dark matter fits and sort of the field that, that I work in.
So where, where is this, this state of the knowledge on, on that topic right now? So in terms of dark matter, I mean, so we, we, the current state is that we have mountains, mountains of evidence, but they're observational evidence. They're not what you would call direct evidence. So we have hints, really good hints. And they're very, very diverse. We've seen things
like the velocities of stars orbiting centers of galaxies. That's the one of the biggest hints. Then there's another effect called gravitational lensing. That's where mass can distort light, you can then calculate the amount of mass that's doing the distortion. That's another clue that points towards there being dark matter more matter than we can see. And there's a whole host of other pieces of evidence. We've even
found galaxies in the recent years that are either entirely dark matter or no dark matter at all. And that seems to imply that it really is stuff. It's some kind of stuff. And you can have more of that stuff and less of that stuff. So the current state of the art is that we have all these hints, and they all seem to be pointing towards something there. But we still
don't have a solid grasp. We can't, we, we don't even have one theory that everyone can get behind for how much does one dark matter particle weigh. We don't even know that. It could be, it could take on any value we don't know. We have such a broad range of possibilities. So even though we have all this evidence from astronomy and cosmology, the current status is that we still haven't, from the particle physics angle, actually seen anything conclusive yet. So you guys, you
can detect potential galaxies that are actually completely made of this, but those are still not considered direct observations. That's a really good point. Some say that's good enough. But for a particle physics, it's not good enough, because we still don't know what that is. We just know there's
some stuff there. But that's not, that doesn't count as direct detection. Let me give you an example. Let's say we didn't know protons existed, but we detected hydrogen gas, which is effectively just protons and electrons. It's not the same thing. Because even if we have identified, you know, before we conclude, we knew atoms existed. We already knew
what hydrogen gas was, you know, chemists were able to, you know, use it. And yet we didn't know that it was made of these little tiny protons and electrons. It's the same thing with dark matter. So I think the right analogy is think of chemists finding elements in the periodic table centuries ago, but without knowing what's the fundamental structure. So we know dark matter is out there, but we don't know what the fundamental structure is. So that's why it's not good enough to say we've got this evidence from our galaxy, this other galaxy, and the universe as a whole. It's still
not good enough for most scientists. We need to go deeper. A lot of cosmology to my, you know, amateur eye right now seems to be a linking of the small with the big, if you will, with the quantum world, with the larger cosmology. We have E.R. equals E.P.R., which is trying to combine general relativity, quantum mechanics to some degree using black holes and entanglement. And that is, you know, an example of quantum effects happening at a macro scale and us taking that into consideration. Is
there any line of thought around quantum effects or that same type of principle applying to dark matter or dark energy? Yes, absolutely. So in fact, one of the things about my line of work is I'm always talking about how it links the small with the large, the microscopic with the macroscopic worlds on multiple scales. So even though we were just talking about how dark matter is out there and we're talking about galaxy, but that's not what I do. I'm not an astronomer. I'm
a particle physicist. So what I do is to try to build detectors to see dark matter at the quantum mechanical level, at the particle level, but that's directly impactful on our theories of cosmology and astrophysics. So there's a deep and intimate connection between dark matter out there, so to speak, in space versus detecting it in particle detectors. But there's another level of that too, which is the type of dark matter detection technologies I work on. They're designed
to take something that's invisible, one atom being hit by a particle of dark matter and turning that into a macroscopic, detectable flash of light that the instrument can then record. And so that's another link where we're taking the microscopic and taking it to the macroscopic realm. Is it microscopic or is it at a level where the quantum effects are applicable? Oh definitely, quantum effects are definitely applicable. It depends on the type of dark matter actually. We're actually not sure whether dark matter is what you would call more particle-like or more wave-like. That's kind of a misnomer because in quantum mechanics everything is a particle and a wave, right? So the thing is, we don't know, is dark matter really heavy? In which case it acts more like a particle, like a billiard ball on a pool table. Or is dark matter
more wave-like? Does it act more like water or sound waves? Dark matter could be anywhere in between those possibilities or something else. And so the type of dark matter I focus on, different researchers have their different specialties, I'm looking for particle-like dark matter where the quantum effects are less important. What I mean by that is, in our detection technologies, it's almost like two microscopic billiard balls hitting each other. So we can for the most part, not entirely of course because we're stuck about atoms, we can for the most part ignore quantum effects and pretend it's a classical system as if it was a pool table. But not
all dark matter researchers do that. Some consider the possibility that dark matter acts more like waves, in which case it would have more quantum weirdness. Interesting. So how do you detect or potentially detect these objects? You said you are directly related to that, so what does that process look like and how do you go about that right now or how are you trying to do that? So I work an experiment called LZ, which is short for lux zeppelin. It's a merger
of two earlier experiments, lux and zeppelin, and the technology it uses is not the only one. This is only one example of a broad class of detectors called direct detectors. What direct detectors do is they'll have a giant tank of liquid or solid or maybe a gas, a giant target. And the idea is you look for dark matter to hit one of the nuclei inside of one of the atoms in your experiment. So this is a very broad class of experiments and different people around the world use different substances. So LZ uses liquid xenon, the reason why we use liquid xenon, it has several advantages. It's dense when
it's liquefied, when it's cold, and so it can stop non-dark matter, other kinds of radiation, just other particles we know and love, just naturally occurring radiation. But the general idea for all direct detection experiments is dark matter comes and hits one of the nuclei inside one of the atoms in your target and then when that atom is moving, it has got extra energy now, it produces some kind of signal you can detect. Maybe it's electric, maybe it's charged, maybe it's light, maybe it's heat. And so you're looking for a signal so the different technologies that are used rely on some sort of macroscopic measurable signal from that microscopic interaction of that first atomic or nuclear recoil. So in the case
of the technology I spend most of my time on liquid xenon, we have two signals, light and charge. We combine those signals because that gives us like position and energy reconstruction and information. Okay. Is there direct evidence of this dark matter interacting with the nucleus of atoms or is that an assumption still? That's an assumption and it's one that's required in order to move forward. So there's absolutely no proof or evidence that it's even possible. So all we know is that dark matter interacts gravitationally. So in all the direct
detection experiments, the assumption is always that there's something extra, there's some sort of weak, very rare interaction other than gravity that allows the dark matter in a sense to talk to a nucleus and kick it and give it some measurable energy. That is absolutely an assumption. It could be wrong but without that assumption then we wouldn't even then there's no point in even trying to detect dark matter. But the reason why it's a decent assumption is because we have a lot of models like a supersymmetry, a collusicline extra dimensions and all these other ideas out there that all predict that there could be a particle that might explain dark matter, some sort of new particle is predicted by all these different theories. And in almost every case they will have interactions other than gravitational. And so that's why that's
how we justify that assumption but it is still an assumption. It could be dark matter only interacts gravitationally in which case we may never be able to detect it directly and the astronomical evidence may be all that humanity ever gets for it which would be very sad because that would be very hard to to figure out what it is if it only interacts through gravity. Interesting. So I don't want to jump into UAP quite yet but I feel like there's a lot of analogies that we could talk about.
Maybe just for a quick aside before we perhaps get back to physics in a moment, you were doing work on detecting UAP, unidentified anomalous phenomenon. Is that the definition you use? Oh, everyone uses a different one. No use, what is it? Unidentified aerial phenomenon or aerospace. Sometimes aerial becomes aerospace and sometimes yeah unidentified becomes unclassified. Right, we keep changing what the letters mean, we keep changing what the letters are even.
So let's talk about how you got involved in that topic. When did that begin? So that began not too long ago actually maybe about five years ago something like that, you know time warps during the pandemic, it's hard to remember but it was before it was before the pandemic started and it was all actually it was primarily due to my colleague Professor Kevin Knuth who's also at the University of Albany, he's been big on this for years and he's the one that roped me in and sort of convinced me as an adult but the seeds were sort of there because as a child I watched like for example when I was a kid you know this totally scared the crap out of me I watched the Rendlesham and Forest episode for example of Unsolved Mysteries with Robert Stack and was glowing red orb and stuff so I would watch the the UFO stuff as a kid but probably most important I watched Star Trek the Next Generation and so that really opened my mind to possibilities but more from like a science fiction perspective versus a fantasy perspective where there's this subtle difference you know sort of like the hard science fiction nuts and bolts and so that's sort of those are sort of like the the threads and and the motivations it was really though the watershed moment a lot of people will probably say the same answer but it is true was the New York Times article of a few years ago about the you know about A-Tip and the and you know by Leslie Kane and Ralph Blumenthal it was really that kind of changed the game for not just me of course for so many people it's like wow this is the New York Times it's not you know supermarket tabloid from the checkout aisle and that really changed the conversation and it made it more okay to to study UAP as a scientist. How were you approached you know what was the how were you convinced if you will what was the logic that was used to convince you and what were you convinced of that there's something there that's worth looking into? Yeah so that's a good question so what I was how what my colleague Kevin was able to convince me of was anomalous velocities in accelerations in particularly in the Nimitz encounter but in other encounters other famous cases as well like the Japanese airline incident things like that and and so he was able to by looking at actual numbers and data be able to show evidence that he could show me he could show other scientific colleagues of there being anomalous velocities and accelerations and that's what really began to convince me that there was something worth worth looking at it does still doesn't prove it's alien spacecraft because you could have some naturally occurring phenomenon you know something in atmospheric physics but what it does to me prove is that there's something worth studying and not ignoring there that you should that's worth diving into so it's really looking at numbers of velocities and accelerations from reliable sources you know from like the the US Navy videos are what really convinced me but like I said the seed was was already planted from from childhood from things like Star Trek and Unsolved Mysteries and stuff so I probably didn't need that much convincing. I was a I was a next generation fan myself in fact there's a I think a video of my one-year-old daughter screaming at the the intro to Star Trek and excitement I've got a video of my daughter Ivy doing the same thing it used to be that when she was upset she would be calmed by the Star Trek the next generation theme song and credits playing so I've heard that you've also tried to bring in some of that pop culture whether it be Star Trek or other things into some of your communication style when it comes to physics that's right can you give an example of that sure so when I would teach physics three which was modern physics that's like a bit of relativity and a bit of quantum as well mixed mixed together and and some thermodynamics in that class which I've taught four or five times now in that particular class I would um I often based a lot the whole almost all the homework questions were either Star Trek or Star Wars or Doctor Who or something else like I had a question about Raoul like the the red star that of Superman's you know home star system they just could I would throw in question I would I would write almost all of my homework questions like that so I think that's a good example and I'll do analogies from from uh Star Trek and maybe you know skeptical scientists will get uh uber skeptical scientists get get me get angry at me for doing that but I think there's no harm in using something even that's fictional to get people interested and excited in doing real science it does science fiction seems to drive our motivation towards certain ends to some degree whether they're feasible or not it doesn't really matter if we want it to be and we believe in it we are going to push in that direction and we're going to get a little bit closer to some degree um that's very true so you got involved in UAP uh through a colleague what does that look like how are you involved in it at least at that point were you asked to provide some specialty based off of your perhaps um I don't want to call experimental background is that correct that is correct yeah yeah so yeah when many people hear that I'm a physicist they immediately say oh so you're a theoretical physicist and I say no I'm an experimental physicist and then I get blank stares you know like a cocktail party those are very different things so an experimental physicist is more like an engineer whereas a theoretical physicist is more like a mathematician that's a very imperfect analogy because they're their own things of course but basically I build things with my hands I don't just I will do things on computer computer simulation things like that so I also use a pencil and calculator like a theoretical physicist but I'm but I focus on building things and so actually you asked a really good question about well what what expertise did I bring to uh UAP when my colleague professor Knuth invited me to to join him in that grand adventure and the expertise that I bring is radiation detection because dark matter detection is just one step away from just detection of any particles in general and the reason is is because when you're looking for a new particle like dark matter and this applies even to you know particle colliders like the LHC in Switzerland you need to know what particles that already we already understand what do they look like you cannot claim to discover something new unless you've addressed all the existing possibilities and the reason why that's connected to UAP is because of all of the claims of radiation there's the famous you know cash landrum case in Texas it has just one example of many there's another example in France one in Canada there's plenty of historical examples of claims of UAP producing radiation and to me that's really interesting because you can fake or hoax a video it's really hard to fake a radiation signal I'm not saying it's impossible but like it's one thing to use CGI and fake people with a UFO picture but radiation screams to me real phenomenon very difficult to hoax and again that doesn't prove it's alien spacecraft but it proves something weird and interesting and so that's the angle where I come in is my expertise is in particle detection that's very interesting there's a bit of analogy there between looking for a new particle that you've hypothesized about you may you have to account for all the particles and and things that you're expecting to see and then work your way backwards to see what anomalous data might exist exactly remove all that it's a very similar problem to UAP that's right so but the the fortunate thing when we're looking for dark matter is we have a short list of possibilities all the different particles that we've already discovered and we know how they behave it's always very challenging when you're doing UAP research because you can prove something's not a bird a plane a drone a helicopter and but what about that one thing you forgot on your list ah it's a dragonfly or something you know what I mean like that's it's really hard when the list of possibilities is so long so it's a good analogy but with UAP you have such a long list because you've got animals you've got human-made craft of all different varieties that it makes it just exacerbates the problem because you have to show it's when you want to claim something is an anomaly or anomalous you have to say it's not this this this this and the the list is even longer than when we say something is dark matter it's not an alpha beta neutron gamma muon not that many things not that many other kinds of they're not that many kinds of particles I mean there are plenty of subatomic particles but not that many that would interact on a regular basis with a detector of the kinds I use so too many potential variables compared to particle physics yeah the search space is is much higher as well so how do you look for radiation then and when we say radiation I think the layman would think of your normal uranium type radiation that can physically harm a person is that what you're referring to um yes and no so but first let me see your question is about for the UAP research is that right correct okay so yeah in that case we're not looking for um a new particle because then we will be doing two things at the same time so we're look what we're looking for in that case are those natural kinds of radiation you mentioned but something extra instead of an extra new particle the goal with radiation detection for UAP research is a strange blip that is statistically anomalous above natural background so you you're talking about uranium and those things now most radiation most people don't know this is actually not very harmful right now in this room we are constantly bombarded not just by cosmic radiation but even your body is radioactive in fact the dark matter detectors I work on are less radioactive than this table or you and me and that's because in order to find something new you got to get the background you know radiation down so when I talk about the the radiation both for what we need to eliminate for our dark matter research and also what are we looking for in terms of UAP research we're looking for something extra above normal background radiation so the most common types of radiation are alpha beta gamma neutron muon alphas and betas they don't go very far they'll go like a few millimeters even in air so that's kind of useless if you're trying to remote detect something that's super radioactive far far my many miles away in the air so that's really not the focus so the focus is really other things mostly neutrons and gamma rays so um which made the incredible okay if I'm not mistaken but those are the kinds of particles that can travel long distances and the idea is again not to see them period because that's not anomalous because they're bombarding us constantly from the sun from this from other sources in our galaxy from distant distant stars supernovas so the goal there with with UAP and it's a very challenging one is to see a blip above normal background and the reason why that's challenging you have to be so careful because if you've got a million data points for example don't be surprised if you've got a one in a million miracle in it and you do have a blip and so the idea is to take something traditional for UAPs you know cameras and have a blip and the radiation detection at the same time you've got a weird image on FLIR or on an ordinary camera so really the focus of the UAP research I've been doing um with UAPX is to do what's called in science a coincidence measurement it doesn't mean coincidence like is used in stand-up parlance like that's a coincidence no it means like something's not a coincidence it's too much of a it's too much it's too much of a statistical anomaly to be a coincidence so what we're looking for are multiple sensors all saying something weird is happening within a very very small time frame so what other sensors is UAPX using and now you know broaden it out a little bit to what the organization as a goal is trying to accomplish yes so the the goal of of UAPX is to figure out very you know very simply what UAP are and that's a very ambitious goal especially because we might not be thinking of one thing right it might be phenomena plural instead of a phenomenon but really want to figure out what is going on are we talking natural phenomena are we talking advanced uh a craft figure it out and get data get data of our own that is not classified that doesn't belong to the US government or any government but is open data that we can then publish in scientific publications which then not just other scientists but literally anyone can read and we want to do that with sensors so you ask also what sensors so that's our goal the sensors we use we we use to reach that goal are cameras of different types visible light infrared made very famous of course by the go fast and gimbal videos but more than just cameras but the radiation detection i'd discuss so you take the cameras take radiation detection and we want to keep adding to that we want to add magnetometers there have been so many claims going back decades of strange electromagnetic effects due to UAP that's testable that's testable those people we laugh at those stories and people think they're crazy but those are testable hypotheses we can we can do add trifield meters magnetometers so we started with cameras both visible and infrared and we also had radiation detection we want to expand to electromagnetic field detection and and and move on from there we also want to do ultraviolet because what if there are objects that are similarly to what happened with infrared you know sometimes there are strange objects that are visible infrared and not visible or vice versa what about ultraviolet you know the other end of the spectrum so we want to add more to the spectrum of light that humans can't see but our machines can but also want to add the complementary sensors that have nothing to do with with light that are things like or are connected but aren't you know visible light or close to things like electromagnetic field detection and and the and the and the the the other sensors like accelerometers as well for like whether is there some you know strange vibration sound we want to add sound sensors as well and so many groups are doing this now UAPX was one of the first but now it's really taking off really taking off you got um aviloben galleyo project got sky 360 you got so many groups now and that's that's great because now more and more scientists and engineers are taking it seriously and trying to get some hard data on on these things yeah it is a good thing to see multiple efforts um would you say there's some competition perhaps with galleyo maybe friendly or are there perhaps different methods that uh UAPX is uh taking than galleyo if you talk about it so so yeah there there are we have um extremely similar approaches and I I think that it's it's very very important to to to maintain friendliness and collaboration absolutely there is some sense of of competition but I think it's very important to try to reduce that because I think that whatever UAP are whether whether it's ET or even if it's some sort of strange atmospheric phenomenon there's so much to be gained potentially by what humanity can learn that I think it's very important to not be competitive and petty and I think that might be a detriment so I I think that um but at this so it's very important to have multiple groups I still think there are too many we should start collaborating more and merging I think is last time I try to count like I don't know 30 40 50 groups I try to list all the acronyms impossible I do think more people need to merge but I don't think there should just be one effort because that's dangerous because if one if one group claims some amazing discovery you you want some healthy competition you want another group to be jealous and then say try to disprove them that's good because that'll prevent false positives false discoveries exactly as soon as there's something discovered that the next step is someone else to independently verify exactly so having someone with somewhat similar tools and ready to go would be a complete part of that puzzle to make that that scientific process yeah absolutely but the main difference is resources also Galileo project very very rich we're trying on new apex to get more more resources but I think what we we want to have complementary measurements not duplicate the exact same cameras exact same sensors I think that's crucial because then once we it's not it says things are only only trade secrets temporarily because if these groups are all scientific and they publish papers you know Galileo project has published several papers we're working on our first results paper then you can see what the other person did and see ah that was a bad idea that didn't work hey that was a good idea let's steal that which is a good thing you want scientific groups to look at each other even if they're competing and say you know what that's a good idea we need to do that or that's a bad idea let's not repeat the same mistake they did and then we have this for cross fertilization of good ideas so where where is UAPX in this process where where are you guys what's your status right now so right now we're still analyzing the data from our first expedition even though that was a long time ago well let's talk about that yeah let's let's do a little back just if you can just so people aren't familiar with the 30 second background on that so on um uh UAPX we had on our uh organization which as I explained earlier we have our goal of you know checking out well what UAP are we we had an expedition where we went to a a supposed UAP hotspot more importantly the site of the 2004 Nimitz encounter and that was um off the coast of California uh on and near Catalina Island so we our expedition was funded by uh Carolyn Corey and was part of a documentary movie called A Tear in the Sky and in that movie we had um a lot of sensors deployed on a roof in Laguna Beach California and then sensors on Catalina Island and we found some potentially interesting things but the thing is the data analysis taking a long time because we are a very small group and an all-volunteer effort so we want to publish our results perhaps more than one publication dedicated to different aspects of our work like our instrumentation versus any potentially anomalous results and so right now we're in the process of trying to finish writing a first scientific paper but it isn't just going to be about instrumentation because we also have results maybe there'll all be null results where it didn't find anything interesting but we might have found some interesting things but we need to be extremely careful anything we claim is weird or interesting we got to again go through our giant list is it a bird is it a plane it is a drone is it a helicopter etc that takes a lot of time especially when you have several hundred hours of videos of mostly clouds rolling over the channel that's a very difficult problem even with ai even with image processing that's a very hard problem so that's why even though it's been almost two years we still we're not ready but we're getting close to publishing hopefully our first our first paper on our findings interesting it's fine with the answer is no is but is there any anything uh you can talk about as far as um your findings or um well i guess you already did i'm trying to push a little bit but i don't want to oh yeah sure no we can i can i can talk about our most interesting our i can try to i can focus on our number one most interesting event it's been covered publicly you can go on youtube and look at our scu talk that's a scientific coalition for uap studies or the limena conference and this is also an important part of the scientific process especially on a controversial topic like this so many people disagree and say we should have published we should publish a paper first before we talk about anything but there's two reasons why we did it number one is we do have an incredible spirit of openness we haven't shared all our data not because we don't want to because there's many terabytes of data so it's really really hard but we want to share what the world what we think our findings are another important reason why we want to talk about it even before we publish a scientific paper is then we get criticism that's great because then get the early criticism and still later and then we get we add to our list of things it could be because someone will watch our talk and say oh that's a flock of seagulls or oh that's a this that's a that's that's good we can test that idea we don't like on uapx we don't like truth by proclamation if someone's got an idea for what we saw we're going to test it we're going to try to replicate the that situation kind of like mick west is famous for doing in his garage we're going to do that not in garage but in my lab and we're going to replicate all the ideas we haven't finished doing that and so that's why we want to before we we publish we want to test but i can tell you about our number one most interesting potential anomaly which was a there was a dark spot we saw in one of our in one of our cameras and and this dark spot is there on several videos sometimes it has dots in it sometimes it doesn't have dots in it and we don't know what it is so we're testing things like could it be a fly on the camera lens could it be an artifact in the camera but all the tests we perform so far none of the mundane explanations seem to fit so i know it sounds boring when i say it that way a dark spot in a camera in the movie um it's called a wormhole or wormhole like anomaly but the thing is we have to be very careful of these um these really um really kind of crazy explanations where we don't have the scientific evidence for believe me i would like nothing more than for the black hole the hole in the clouds or dark spot in the camera that we sought to be a wormhole but that's a very high bar of evidence no one's seen a wormhole before we don't even know how one would behave like mathematically how that would translate into the real world and so we we cannot call it a wormhole even though that makes it sound more exciting but it's a it's a dark spot in our camera and we're trying to determine is it real is it a hole in the clouds that the camera saw in our expedition or is it is a glitch in the camera everything we've we've we've looked at so far seems to imply it's some it's a real hole in the clouds and not a not a glitch in the camera or nearby but we need to be very careful and test all the different possibilities but really that's our number one most exciting um uh event that we're continuing to study and that's why the um so the movie is called a tear in the sky actually it was named before that actually so so i think um carolyn could claim to have been i don't know psychic and like saw you know remote viewed the future or or whatever because it was named before we before we observed that but that really is our most exciting thing we saw some other things but as explained in some of my other already um my and professor kevin canute's youtube presentations that we were able to explain a lot of the other anomalies as as camera noise or one example is the international space station and i think that's really important because if you don't look at your own data critically someone else will do it for you and then make fun of you right afterwards so we are we try to be very uh very very self skeptical and critical of our data we don't claim something is weird unless we've tested multiple mundane hypotheses and found them and found them lacking is you a px in a position to draw firm conclusions on their data is that what your goal is or is it really more to observe what's out there and report on the data without really looking into uh some of the more subjective and and second tier analysis such as origin things of that nature because one of the problems i always hear in this conversation uh is people immediately jump to conclusions as they're considering the data immediately and so it's and that drives them either into or away from the topic to some degree yes that's a great question so yeah we want to stay away from jumping to conclusions that doesn't mean we never want a conclusion we're we're in it for the long game the long haul maybe someday you know we'll get a high or or gal air project because somebody else will get a high resolution photograph of you know i don't know flying saucer an alien waving from the window so it is always it's the goal to eventually want to get solid conclusions so so on uapx we do want solid conclusions but not not not yet and probably not for a while so initially the idea is you know take some data figure out what things are not right go through the mundane hypotheses which is it's which is a challenge because you never know if there was that one mundane hypothesis you forgot to consider that explains your data as boring and ordinary so it's a very very difficult process and it's a combination sort of of deductive and inductive reasoning of different kinds of reasoning and and so the the goal is solid conclusions like you know it's an advanced craft or it's this natural phenomenon but not right away not while we're still getting our sea legs you know so to speak you know i could use navy analogy since you know gary verise is the former navy guy and president of of uapx but basically we want to first feel things out get to know our our instruments our sensors make sure they're well calibrated not jump to any conclusions and that temptation is already was as there we already started doing that a little bit with you know we we call it we called our dark spot a wormhole like anomaly which was a compromise between calling it a wormhole versus calling it you know a boring name like it's a dark dark spot in the camera hole in the cloud so the temptation is always there so it's a constant battle because scientists we're just we're human beings we're not vulcans like on star trek or lieutenant commander data initially without emotions we have emotions too i have emotions i sometimes am very tempted to say oh my gosh let's you know go find evidence of alien spacecraft but that's going to be really hard and so we want to balance that excitement with some hard nosed skepticism and and data without becoming over skeptical and dumping anomalies and dumping data we don't like if something's weird we're going to say oh this is weird because we test it and it's not this this this this this we're not going to write because we reject all those things therefore it's an alien spacecraft we're not going to be able to do that maybe someday but we're very far from being able to do that yet we're just getting started i've heard similar sentiment from the galler project to a certain degree and you know just you know set your expectations that's where this conversation is now so none of the projects here they're standing up we're really calibrating and getting to better understand what's in front of us we're not necessarily expecting to grab a snapshot in the you know next six months this is a long process exactly we've considered ourselves extremely lucky on uapx that we got at least one potentially interesting event again you know i don't want to call it a wormhole but that would be amazing if that's what it was i don't think it it is we don't have evidence yet that that that's what it is that's a high bar but at least we have one anomaly that is still refusing explanation that's exciting and like i said most of the other so-called anomalies we saw turn out to have explanations but we consider ourselves extremely lucky because how can you just go out for a week you know to the location where there were some tic tacs in 2004 that was 2004 what are they what are they hanging around right it seems so unlikely that we would catch something so we consider ourselves supremely lucky because we we we especially the scientists on uapx me and uh um and and kevin who was in the the movie with me were like what if we find nothing which is great for science because calibrating the instruments not so great for a movie and so we we consider us as extremely lucky that we saw something we're not only that makes the the film more exciting than um a tear in the sky but is also worthy of years of scientific investigation afterwards let's try to figure out what the heck did we did we see because we might have end up ended up being just exclusively a calibration expedition which would also be okay how do you so i know there's some academic journals that this could these results could potentially um be published and one of them you mentioned is is limena um i'm not sure how familiar you are with them but if you are familiar might be hopefully get a little background because my understanding is this is a anomaly or or perhaps uap focused paper or um um not paper but um what's the right term journal journal thank you it's a it's a uap or anomaly based journal um which i think has its pros and cons uh one of the pros is that it's it solidifies its position and starts to coalesce perhaps um coincident cases or similar cases under a banner that can be looked at from outside in yeah but the the con of it also is that it's outside of mainstream academia still uh and might get looked at differently um how do you think about that that pro and con when you think about publishing your results for uapx that's an excellent question so this is why actually we're not planning planning on publishing a first paper in limena and i can say that because i'm great friends with the chief editor mike syphonia i've already told him this and and i he and i already explained no hard felix we support him and some of our other some of my colleagues are going to write papers for limena but for the first result from uapx we all have agreed on uapx we need to go to something established again there are pros and cons we will absolutely probably eventually end up with multiple papers in limena but it's too new so the reason why we want to go to something established because we don't want to hear critics skeptics debunkers say oh that doesn't count that's in some no-name journal which again to be fair to mike he's going to work his way up to try to make it a big important thing but he's starting at zero everyone starts at zero if you found a new journal you start at zero you're not famous you're not considered rigorous or important yet everyone starts they're the most important journals in the world had to start somewhere from day zero you know even science and nature magazine so the idea is we want to go for something in astronomy and aerospace like the galler project has done i'll be honest you know we were a little jealous because we had results already we could have published you know and stuff but the thing is that's not important these kinds of competitive feelings and professional jealousies there's no room for this there's no room for this so actually galler project being first has a massive advantage for us so we can we can be be petty and talk about how well we have actual results and we and we try to publish them first but we just didn't have time for installing the paper but a more important positive way to look at this is because galler project has already started publishing papers now it's easier for uapx so this is a positive because now when uapx tries to publish we'll say hey hey you publish their paper oh you just published them because they're harvard and we're you know a lower university that's not fair that's not ethical so that's great now we can cite the galler project papers as a reference in our bibliography and say and and point to them as paving the way and so basically thanks to someone of avi lobes incredible reputation he's helping break that ceiling and now it's he's he's made the uapx's path easier actually um it's he's making it easier on his competitors but that's okay i hope he feels okay about that because before galler project published man we would have had probably hell of a time but we want what we want to do is we want to aim for similar caliber of journals i'm not saying necessarily the identical uh journals but we want to aim for the same caliber where galler project is publishing because we want to establish uap by looking at by starting out by trying to publish in journals that are very well established already everyone knows they're real they're not pseudoscientific they're not woo they're not crackpot because they've been around for 20-30 years and are already have a high reputation either in aerospace or astronomy or similar field like that so that's our goal very cool awesome how else do we move this conversation forward outside of just detection and sensing you know are there other areas where we could apply our knowledge and our technology to increase our understanding outside of looking for where something is in the sky um i'm not sure that's a very open-ended question um you mean like in terms of like maybe a culture the cultural sphere that's one we could look at it from a cultural sphere we could look at other avenues of technological exploration outside of you know remote sensing um against the sky perhaps or or in space there is a crazy i i i can say one crazy thing we can we can edit it out later but outside of remote sensing of the sky you know you know one of the obviously the most common hypotheses for uap is that their advanced spacecraft and not necessarily human ones you know it's such a common hypothesis that we can't avoid it and i think that's okay to talk about and is getting increasingly socially acceptable but on that aspect there are all those there have been all these claims you know of alien abduction we stay away from that uapx because we're focused on remote sensing nevertheless i have an opinion on that which is because i i think this is where you go like something other than remote sensing of the sky right this is not yeah good sky yeah so i i really it still censors though and that is always people who claim to have be repeat alien abductees we we laugh but instead of discounting crazy hypotheses as a scientist i'm like let's test it i would love to instrument and people have claimed this has already happened i'm seeing any scientific publications of this people claim to be repeat abductees all right put a camera in their bedroom like i'm all for getting data even if the odds are really high that it's probably nonsense what if it's not so i'm all for testing any any crazy idea we can think of instead of immediately disregarding or discarding it is like that's impossible let's apply the scientific method let's put it to the test so it doesn't just have to be remote sensing of the sky or space or see there are other aspects that are you could say traditionally associated with this phenomenon that sounds so crazy so improbable of being true but nevertheless we can still test those ideas so even though i'm skeptical of the like less nut nuts and bolts kinds of things these are still things we can test with nuts and bolts we can another example is people who claim to have had crazy things happen to them we've got we've got lie detector tests are nearly impossible nearly impossible to break they've tested them on mythbusters it's really hard to cheat some of the lie detector technologies we have available these days so the that's another aspect people claim to have seen something crazy that they can't explain UFO or something like that they claim they seem some sort of a being i really think and this has been done already of course to multiple witnesses but i think we i think that we should make more use as long as you know people are okay with it witnesses more use of technologies we have like like the polygraph and other forms of of lie and deception detection because they're actually really good they're more than you know 99 point something percent effect they're not they're not they're not they're not they're not more than you know 99 point there's something percent effect they're not it's not a coin toss it's not like it's 5050 so we've got we've got technologies where even so this is very different than remote sensing even if we focus on on witnesses there are ways to determine with a very high level of scientific certainty whether people at least it doesn't prove they saw what they saw but at least test whether they believe what they're saying and that helps eliminate people who are just in uap is trying to get famous versus people who have actually witnessed something they can't explain so there are a lot of different ways we can tackle tackle this problem have you experienced any stigma related to your interest in this topic professionally or personally i i have but i'm very lucky because i think the stigma is greatly reduced it's not gone but it's greatly reduced and it's reduced because of the first excellent journalistic work we've got people like um leslie keen you know we had the the famous new york times article we have um lou elizondo coming out and talking about these things and the these incidents reduce the stigma but don't eliminate it completely so i've definitely had um uh family members laugh most are supportive don't get me wrong but there will be a giggle or um from from colleagues in my department as well much worse for for my i'm sure for my friend kevin a canooth who's been doing this uh for longer than i have but there's definitely still stigma but that being said i still consider myself lucky because i feel like decades ago it was much worse i'm sure it was much much worse for people like uh jail and heineck for example probably had um a heck of a time at their home institution home department so i consider myself lucky that i have mostly supportive colleagues and supportive family the the giggle factor is has become the exception where it used to be the rule and it used to be that the exception was that that it would be okay interesting um is this something you've engaged with your students at all i have and my students are are um way open-minded than any people um my age or older and i think that's great because that gives me hope for the future and and so i have very it's very rare that i would have that i would encounter student who's not immediately fascinated by the topic very rarely our students as um as uh as as uh a skeptical as uh as as scientists in general or as as uh you know i was i was about to say adults in general college students are adults but you know what i mean you know people who have established careers do you think that's our natural state and something happens as we go through the process we end up at a degraded state or is is that a sense of silliness or risk that they're taking that they'll grow out of for the better do you think well i i don't think growing out of it for the better is a good thing because even if even if let's say i don't think this is the case but let's say all of uap it's all nonsense i don't think that's the case is your experience is experience of of gary verise and kevin day and so many others but let's for the sake of argument say it's all nonsense and people should grow out of it for the better no because i think that it can fire the imagination in the same way that fiction does so for example let's say either uap does nothing interesting or let's say it is interesting but let's say it's a natural phenomenon and there are no alien spacecraft for example that doesn't matter because this is how i i've often concluded talks i've given um with with kevin on our uapx preliminary results is on our concluding side we say look even if this is all nonsense we want to inspire the next generation of scientists engineers even coming up um underneath us underneath and me too because what if there's no what if um there are no alien wormholes or warp drives things like that but what if by trying to find aliens doing these things wormholes warp drives what if we inspire human scientist engineers to create those technologies and so it's still a worthwhile endeavor but i think u.s is a people something people grow out of i think that's part of it but i think there's another part which is there is a natural progression also of humanity from generation to generation where each generation is um open to more things you can see this it's not just science you can see this you know in religion in morals and ethics things that used to be you know we wouldn't talk about them decades ago are now accepted parts of our society you can see this with um lgbtq and advancements on that front where you know we didn't talk about it you know decades ago and then the sort of the sphere of human rights keeps expanding i think that the same thing sort of happens in science so it's not just you know kids are curious and then they end up you know becoming you know hard you know then they get their job and then they lose the magic of childhood that's part of it but i think another part uh an opposite force of that is every generation becomes slightly more open-minded at least i hope so and that gives me hope for the future of humanity it's not a perfect process i'm not saying that it's a linear process i'm not claiming that i'm sure there are some cases where we take we take three steps forward two steps back things like that but i think as a general process each younger generation on average again you can always find outliers but i think that on average we're becoming slowly more open-minded and i think that's what i'm seeing in my classrooms so it's it's encouraging for me to hear you say that about the younger generation but academia of course is ruled by an older class of professors whatnot so i have seen a somewhat unique i support everything you just said about the younger generation being more open to this i have seen a cohort of um of of older people who are engaging this and they're engaging it from a manner of this was something i was interested in when i was a kid this is something that was presented to me in a different light and then it went away and it went away in the public's fear to a certain degree but didn't necessarily go away for them they cont