Steven E. Jones lectures on ‘alternative theories’ surrounding the attacks
By Ben Fulton
The Salt Lake Tribune
OREM – For most of the American public, the dust has settled over how the World
Trade Center fell Sept. 11.
But seven years later, former Brigham Young University physics professor Steven
E. Jones remains perhaps the most famous proponent of so-called "alternative
theories" surrounding the Sept. 11 attacks.
Almost two years since BYU placed him on paid leave following controversy
over his claims that the WTC towers did not fall due to the collision of passenger
jets alone, he’s still studying dust samples gathered near ground zero.
The man can also pack a small lecture hall, as he did Wednesday afternoon
during one of the weekly physics colloquiums sponsored by Utah Valley University’s
"I’ll see if I can prepare you all to be whistle-blowers," Jones
told the hall of some 100 people who came to hear his presentation titled, "9/11/2001:
Forbidden Questions, Explosive Answers."
Many in the crowd identified themselves as doubters of accepted explanations
for why the WTC towers fell, but declined to be named. Others were not shy.
"He’s really on to something," said Brett Smith, a 25-year-old UVU
student of behavioral science producing a documentary film about Jones, which
he will later submit to film festivals. "There’s so much that doesn’t add
Using a Power Point presentation, Jones argued that basic laws of physics matched
with careful observation of the motion and circumstances of the towers’ collapse
point to a missing cause behind their fall. After his analysis of dust samples
from the attack site, which he said show high concentrations of aluminum, sulfur
and silicon, he believes explosive materials were placed at the underground
base of both buildings.
Critics of Jones’ theory have long pointed out the absence of any evidence
that the tons of explosives needed to fell both towers had slipped past building
security, and that seismic readings recorded throughout the attack show no record
of ground-level explosions. Jones, however, said his dust analysis points toward
evidence of an ultra-fine, composite form of highly explosive thermite that
could have been painted onto the inside walls at the underground base of both
Jones said before the lecture that whoever painted the explosives onto WTC
walls could have done so to initiate the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"But of course we don’t know for sure until we identify the perpetrators,"
he said. "What I’m trying to identify is the science that might lead to
a criminal investigation."
Although placed on paid leave from BYU in September 2007 pending a university
review on whether or not the "increasingly speculative and accusatory nature"
of his claims had been properly vetted by authoratative scientific review, Jones
retired voluntarily before the review could begin.
Since then he’s sold a few family properties to keep afloat financially, but
said he will look for a new teaching position early next year. Whatever his
new job, he said he will never abandon his ongoing research on the Sept. 11
Jones recited a Book of Mormon verse from III Nephi as a parallel to those
who might try to persuade him otherwise: "Lachoneus was a just man who
could not be threatened by the demands and threatenings of Gadianton robber,"
Jones told the crowd.
The citation drew applause, but some left undecided.
"At the very best it made me think," said Cary Dortch, a 26-year-old
physics major at UVU. "I found him a bit narrowly focused in his presentation,
but he did well in at least picking apart some of the accepted arguments."