Roswell, New Mexico. 1947. Mention of the place, the year — that’s all it takes. Even those only casually interested in reported UFO phenomena know at least parts of the story that follows. Those for whom the mysteries surrounding UFOs hold more allure — they’re able to recite chapter and verse. The alleged crash of a flying saucer. And, depending on which theories one prefers, the recovery of its deceased alien occupants, followed by a government effort aimed at sweeping the whole thing under the rug.

The name of a city, a year. Even an eventful year. In the case of most places, that’s not much to go on, but not so with Roswell. That’s owed largely to one person — nuclear physicist and famed UFO researcher Stanton Friedman, who died last week at 84 — and a conversation that began with his investigation into the Roswell Incident.