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Thornton Leigh Page
File:File:Thornton Leigh Page.jpg
Born (1913-08-13)13 August 1913[1]
New Haven, Connecticut
Died 2 January 1996(1996-01-02) (aged 82)
Houston, Texas
  • Helen Ashbee
    (m. 1938–45)
  • Lou Williams
    (m. 1948–96)
Children Tanya (with Helen)[1]
Mary Anne and Leigh II (with Lou)[1]
Parents Leigh and Mary Page
Thornton Leigh Page
Alma mater Yale (B.S.)
Oxford (D.Phil.)
Awards Rhodes scholar
Fellow, Royal Astronomical Society
Military career
Allegiance Flag of the United States.svg United States of America
Service/branch Flag of the United States.svg United States Navy
Years of service 1942-1946
Rank US-O4 insignia Lt. Commander
Battles/wars World War II

Thornton Leigh Page was an American professor of astronomy at the University of Chicago and at Wesleyan University. He became embroiled in the controversy over unidentified flying objects (UFOs) after serving briefly on the Robertson Panel, a Central Intelligence Agency–sponsored committee of scientists assembled in Washington, D.C. from 14–18 January 1953 to study the available evidence on UFOs.[2][3]

Early lifeEdit

Thornton Page was born in New Haven, CT on 13 August 1913 to Leigh Page, a physics instructor at Yale University, and Mary Page, trained as a nurse.[1] He went on to receive a B.S. in physics from Yale in 1934, and was named a Rhodes Scholar,[4] later earning a D.Phil. from Oxford University in 1938.[1]

Military careerEdit

During World War II, he served in the Pacific Theater with the minelaying operations research group, serving in Guan, Tinian, and at sea. He was in Tokyo for the Japanese surrender, and had reported on the atomic tests at Bikini.[1]

Professional careerEdit

After his WWII service, Thornton Page served as a professor of astrophysics for the University of Chicago from 1946 until 1950.[5] He then worked for the U.S. Army's Operations Research Office (ORO) from 1951 until 1958.[5] In 1952, Thornton Page became the first editor of Journal of the Operations Research Society of America.[5] As an astronomer for the ORO, he became embroiled in the controversy involving Unidentified Flying Objects in 1953.[5]

In 1958, he became a professor and head of the astronomy department at Wesleyan University.[1] He resigned from Wesleyan in 1971 and began working for the United States Naval Research Laboratory until his retirement in 1976.[6]

Personal lifeEdit

In late 1961, he was seriously injured in an automobile accident where he broke several bones and lost sight in his right eye.[6] He died in Houston on 2 January 1996.[6]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 Osterbrock, Donald E. (August 1996). "Obituary: Thornton L. Page, 1913-1996". pp. 1461–1462. Retrieved 11 August 2016. 
  2. Shrader, Charles R. (2006). History of Operations Research in the United States Army. CMH Publication 70-102-1. Washington, DC: Center for Military History. p. 97. ISBN 0-16-072961-0. 
  3. Robertson Panel (redacted 28 November 1994 FOIA) (18 January 1954). "Report Of Scientific Advisory Panel On Unidentified Flying Objects Convened By Office Of Scientific Intelligence, CIA". Washington, DC. Retrieved 11 August 2016. 
  4. Schaeper, Thomas J.; Schaeper, Kathleen (2010). Rhodes Scholars, Oxford, and the Creation of an American Elite. New York, NY: Berghahn Books. p. 371. ISBN 978-1-84545-721-1. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Shrader 2006, pp. 125.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 "Thornton L. Page Papers, 1936-1983". 2013. Retrieved 11 August 2016. 

External linksEdit

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