A Ghost in the Machine: How Sociology Tried to Explain (Away) American Flying Saucers and European Ghost Rockets, 1946–47

Pierre Lagrange
  • Pierre Lagrange Email author
Part of the Palgrave Studies in the History of Science and Technology book series (PSHST)


This chapter focuses on the invention of flying saucers, and the comparison between the ‘ghost rockets’ that appeared in the European skies in 1946 and the ‘flying discs’ that were seen in the United States a year later. UFOs were spotted at a time when scientific cultures changed considerably, a time in which scientists were professionals and not amateurs. By comparing the situation of science vis-à-vis sky anomalies in Europe at the end of the nineteenth century and sky anomalies in the United States in 1947, the chapter argues that the differences are attributable to different definitions of science, the relation of science and amateurs, and the attitude of science regarding certain anomalies.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.ParisFrance

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