published Wednesday, November 16th, 2011

Seminar on science of Trade Center disasters raises questions

  • photo
    The twin towers of the World Trade Center burn after hijacked planes crashed into them in New York on September 11, 2001.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Questions should be asked about the science behind the falling of the World Trade Center buildings 10 years ago, panelists agreed Tuesday night.

The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga hosted the event, "The Science of 9/11," which began with a moment of silence for the families who lost loved ones.

The discussion "is an opportunity to illustrate the application of the scientific method to a real life event that most Americans remember exactly where they were," said UTC professor of anthropology Lyn Miles, one of the event's coordinators.

There are also more than 1,500 architects and engineers who have raised scientific questions over the collapse of the World Trade Center and are calling for a full investigation of 9/11, and it's worthwhile to discuss why, she added.

The school showed the documentary "Architects & Engineers 9/11 Truth," also the name of the nonprofit that says the collapse of the buildings was not caused by the impact of the planes but by explosives or controlled demolition.

Close to 300 people attended the event, many university students, who often cheered the comments made from one of the panelists, David Johnson, a University of Tennessee at Knoxville urban planning professor emeritus and urban engineering expert, who also calls for a new investigation of what happened on that day when almost 3,000 people were killed.

"We need a citizens' initiative to ask for an investigation. We need other kinds of efforts to ask the academic and legislative world for hearings that are authentic and that we can respect and settle this and bring us to some closure," he said.

Jim Hall, former director of the National Transportation Safety Board and leading expert on transportation safety and security, agrees.

"As a nation, we have to be very careful not to overclassify information that we the taxpayers are paying for. We need to be sure as these investigations proceed, so the American people and those individuals who lost loved ones have confidence in the integrity of the investigation," he told the crowd to applause.

There were a few instances when self-described "truthers" rebutted comments from panelists, especially from Erwin Foster, UTC College of Engineering professor emeritus, civil engineer and forensic investigator, who provided a lot of the scientific explanation. But moderator Richard Winham was quick to emphasize the discussion was not about conspiracy theories but about science.

The documentary showed the testimony of experts ranging from chemical and structural engineers to physicists and architects talking about why the official findings are flawed.

ABOUT AE: 911Truth

  • Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth is a nonprofit, nonpartisan association of architects, engineers and affiliates dedicated to exposing the falsehoods and to revealing truths about the collapses of the three World Trade Center high-rises on Sept. 11, 2001.

  • The group believes there is sufficient evidence to conclude that three World Trade Center buildings No. 1 (North Tower), No. 2 (South Tower), and No. 7 (the 47-story high-rise across Vesey Street) were destroyed not by jet impact and fires but by controlled demolition with explosives.

Source: Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth website

The official finding was that the fires weakened the structures, leading to the collapses.

One argument in the documentary was the speed at which tower seven, the 47-story high-rise across Vesey Street collapsed in less than seven seconds.

But Foster said there were a lot of "half truths."

"My philosophy is that everybody ought to ask questions and ought to keep asking questions," he said.

Foster added he was impressed by the number of half-truths about the temperature of steel and how it wouldn't melt and the lack of mention about the beams in the building being very flexible.

"There are a lot of mathematics and dynamics going on here that we don't have any experience on whatsoever," he added.

One of the earliest casualties of 9/11 was the truth, said Tom Junod, an Esquire magazine journalist who interviewed families and survivors to determine the identity of the famous falling man -- a man photographed falling from one of the buildings.

The picture of the falling man immediately was suppressed, he said. The official explanation was that nobody jumped from the buildings, but families were desperate to learn the truth.

Rorie Jones, 19, attended the panel discussion to get extra credit and write a paper about it for her sociology class.

When the freshman entered the auditorium at the University Center, she didn't have an opinion on the matter. When she left, she only had more questions.

"It brought up points I hadn't thought about before, like the physical aspects of how the buildings collapsed," she said.

"It makes you think," she added, "but in order to come up with any conclusions we have to remove our emotions."

about Perla Trevizo...

Perla Trevizo joined the Chattanooga Times Free Press in 2007 and covers immigration/diversity issues and higher education. She holds a master’s degree in newswire journalism from Universidad Rey Juan Carlos in Madrid, Spain, and a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Texas. In 2011 she participated in the Bringing Home the World international reporting fellowship program sponsored by the International Center for Journalists, producing a series on Guatemalan immigrants for which she ...

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TrubbaMan said...

I am very pleased the University (and the paper) are bringing up these questions. The physics of the destruction of those three sky-scrapers needs to be determined, as the official explanation, as we have seen, cannot be true. The facts alone should tell the story, with no need for political spin, or a refusal to face facts.

November 16, 2011 at 11:14 p.m.
Truth_B_Known said...

I was disappointed to see that a professor of such high standing as Erwin Foster, even after viewing the video and getting numerous questions from the audience, wouldn't budge on his stance that the actual planes brought down the towers! There were at least a couple of questions (one being: "Why there was molten iron still evident up to 3-months after the tragedy?") that Dr. Foster, himself, said he had no answer for these questions. Well, what makes him think that his hypothesis holds any validity if he cannot explain ALL the aspects and answer ALL the questions of the destruction of the towers?

November 18, 2011 at 4:06 p.m.
nvannes said...

It is curious that for one of the largest crimes in the history of our nation, our own government would fail to follow the highly evolved principles and standards of proper investigative methodology which has always been the pride and mainstay of our "independent" DOJ and democracy; choosing instead to rely on coerced confessions of tortured (waterboarded), illegally held, unrepresented detainees, (no matter how unreliable such tortured sources have proven to be), and the intentional withholding of (controlled demolitions) evidence. Like the "top-down" Warren Report that investigated JFK's assassination, the 9/11 Commission Report asks more questions than it sets out to answer. What we got was a "report". What we need is an honest, unbiased, proper investigation which takes testimony under oath and follows up on contradictory testimony and chases down all evidence wherever it might lead, however inconvenient and shameful and yes, possibly treasonous, especially since IT MIGHT BE AND PROVE treasonous. Following proper methodology will bring us to a proper conclusion. Intentionally short circuiting proper methodology will only leave us to question its conclusion, leaving us in doubt, suspecting the worst, living in fear, being unfree. We owe it to ourselves to demand a proper and real investigation.

November 23, 2011 at 10:57 a.m.
bootz15 said...

Excellent article -- great coverage! I am uplifted with hope that ordinary citizens can look objectively at the tragedy of 9/11 and ask questions about how it happened. We need the truth!

November 23, 2011 at 12:25 p.m.
mhine said...

After 10 years, Universities say it's OK to ask the hard questions about September 11.

University faculty are now openly questioning the official version of what happened to the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.

The day before the UTC event, at Indiana University in Bloomington, Dr. Niels H. Harrit of Copenhagen University (Denmark) spoke about the collapse of the World Trade Center Twin Towers and Building 7.

Independent researchers contend the buildings were brought down with the use of explosives. They base their conclusions on evidence in the World Trade Center dust that the official government report completely disregards.

Every sample the team analyzed contained unreacted nano-thermite (also called "super thermite") -- a substance that can be used to destroy steel structures. The dust also contained previously molten iron droplets caused by very high temperatures that could not have been caused by jet fuel or office fires.

The findings, published in the April 2009 edition of the Open Chemical Physics Journal, have never been challenged. "This stands as an indictment of the official story of 9/11," says Dr. Steven E. Jones, professor emeritus of physics from Brigham Young University.

Dr. Jones notes that the laws of chemistry and physics are not influenced by political or cultural pressures.

He commented that the red-grey chips found in independently collected samples of the dust undergo a thermitic reaction. Before ignition, iron oxide and aluminum are present in the chips. After ignition, elemental iron spheres are present. The iron has been "reduced" in chemical terms.

"This means that a thermite reaction has occurred", he said.

Their peer reviewed published paper is online, Google "Active Thermitic Material Found at World Trade Center".

A trailer of the film presented at UTC can be viewed online at the Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth site at

An independent film, critical of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) investigation is also available online at

November 29, 2011 at 7:28 a.m.
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