Hermann Oberth? Apocryphal?
Dear Quote Investigator: Engineer Hermann Oberth was an extraordinary pioneer in the fields of rocketry and astronautics. Provocatively, he conjectured that Earth was being visited by spaceships from another solar system. I saw a fascinating quotation about the development of advanced technology that was attributed to him in a book about UFOs:
We cannot take all the credit for our record advancements in certain scientific fields alone; we have been helped by the people of other worlds.
Is this an authentic remark from Oberth?
Quote Investigator: QI has not yet found any direct evidence supporting this ascription to Hermann Oberth in his writings or in an interview. A matching statement was attributed to him in the 1974 book “Did Spacemen Colonise the Earth?” by Robin Collyns. The words appeared as an epigraph to chapter twenty, but no justifying citation was given. Emphasis added to excerpts by QI: 1
Dr Hermann Oberth, internationally-known rocket pioneer and space authority, UFO lecturer, and head of the US CALTECH Laboratories until 1955, said:
‘We cannot take all the credit for our record advancements in certain scientific fields alone; we have been helped!’ When asked by whom, he replied: ‘The people of other worlds!’
The passage above was compressed to yield the quotation under investigation. Oberth died in 1989; hence, the words were attributed to him while he was will alive.
Below are additional selected citations in chronological order.
- 1974, Did Spacemen Colonise the Earth? by Robin Collyns, Chapter 20: Scientific Proof of Extra-Terrestrial Life, Quote Page 236, Published by Pelham Books, London. (Verified with hardcopy) ↩