Fred Singer


Fred Singer : biography

September 27, 1924 –

1960: Artificial Phobos hypothesis

In a 1960 Astronautics newsletter, Singer commented on Iosif Shklovsky’s hypothesisI. S. Shklovsky, The Universe, Life, and Mind, Academy of Sciences USSR, Moscow, 1962.Iosif S. Shklovski and Carl Sagan. Intelligent Life in the Universe, San Francisco: Holden-Day, 1966. that the orbit of the Martian moon Phobos suggests that it is hollow, which implies it is of artificial origin. Singer wrote: "My conclusion there is, and here I back Shklovsky, that if the satellite is indeed spiraling inward as deduced from astronomical observation, then there is little alternative to the hypothesis that it is hollow and therefore martian made. The big "if" lies in the astronomical observations; they may well be in error. Since they are based on several independent sets of measurements taken decades apart by different observers with different instruments, systematic errors may have influenced them."S. F. Singer, "More on the Moons of Mars", Astronautics, February 1960, American Astronautical Society, page 16. Later measurements confirmed Singer’s big "if" caveat: Shklovsky overestimated Phobos’ rate of altitude loss due to bad early data. E. J. Öpik, "News and Comments: Phobos, Nature of Acceleration". Irish Astronomical Journal 6: 40, March 1963. Photographs by probes beginning 1972 show a natural stony surface with craters. Ufologists continue to present Singer as an unconditional supporter of Shklovsky’s artificial Phobos hypothesis.

Time magazine wrote in 1969 that Singer had had a lifelong fascination with Phobos and Mars’s second moon, Deimos. He told Time it might be possible to pull Deimos into the Earth’s orbit so it could be examined. During an international space symposium in May 1966, attended by space scientists from the United States and Soviet Union, he first proposed that manned landings on the moons would be a logical step after a manned landing on the Earth’s moon. He pointed out that the very small sizes of Phobos and Deimos—approximately and eight miles (13 km) in diameter and sub milli-g surface gravity—would make it easier for a spacecraft to land and take off again.Sullivan, Walter. , The New York Times, May 19, 1966.

  • S. Fred Singer. , Philosophical Society of Washington, November 22, 2002, accessed May 13, 2010.

1962: National Weather Center and University of Miami

In 1962, on leave from the university, Singer was named as the first director of meteorological satellite services for the National Weather Satellite Center, now part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and directed a program for using satellites to forecast the weather.The New York Times. , July 6, 1962. He stayed there until 1964. He told Time magazine in 1969 that he enjoyed moving around. "Each move gave me a completely new perspective," he said. "If I had sat still, I’d probably still be measuring cosmic rays, the subject of my thesis at Princeton. That’s what happens to most scientists."Time magazine. , February 21, 1969. When he stepped down as director he received a Department of Commerce Gold Medal Award for Distinguished Federal Service.Lehr, Jay H. Rational Readings on Environmental Concerns. John Wiley and Sons 1992, p. 393.

  • Levy, Lillian. Space, Its Impact on Man and Society. Ayer Publishing 1973, p. xiii.
  • Singer, S. Fred. The Changing Global Environment. Springer Publishers 1975, p. 401.

In 1964, he became the first dean of the School of Environmental and Planetary Sciences at the University of Miami in 1964, the first school of its kind in the country, dedicated to space-age research.Terte, Robert H. , The New York Times, March 15, 1964. In December 1965, The New York Times reported on a conference Singer hosted in Miami Beach during which five groups of scientists, working independently, presented research identifying what they believed was the remains of a primordial flash that occurred when the universe was born.Sullivan, Walter. , The New York Times, December 20, 1965.