The Audacity of Hope: Restoring Science to 9/11

Crockett Grabbe

President Barack Obama's inaugural promise that "We will restore science to it rightful place..." sounds like good news. In our article "Science in the Bush: When Politics Replaces Physics," published on the web in September of 2007 [1], Lenny Charles and I pointed out how scientific integrity had been placed well behind politics in analysis, not only in areas such as climate change caused by humans and public health issues, but also particularly in analysis of the attacks on the World Trade Center in 2001.

As we pointed out in the article, scientists who speak out publicly have been the main source of credible information on what science really portrays. The press in general selectively shows scientific results, often with errors in their stories because of their own scientific misunderstandings. Knowing their limitations, they often tend to shy away from controversial issues like the scientific facts and evidence of the mass murders in the World Trade Center. So when the government promotes ideas and conclusions that are not scientifically accurate, scientists provide the principal credible counter to these errors.

We described in some detail in the article how the physics in the NIST Committee analysis of what happened in the World Trade Center collapses is wrong. A paragraph of it was quoted from our article by noted columnist Dr. Paul Craig Roberts in his September 11, 2007 editorial "9/11: 6 years later" [2]:

Physicists have raised unanswered questions about the official explanation's neglect of the known laws of physics. Recently, Dr. Crockett Grabbe, a Caltech trained applied physicist at the University of Iowa, observed: "Applying two basic principles, conservation of energy and conservation of momentum, the government explanation quickly unravels. NIST conspicuously ignored these principles in their reports. NIST also ignored the observed twisting of the top 34 floors of the South Tower before it toppled down. This twisting clearly violates the conservation of both linear and angular momentum unless a large external force caused it. Where the massive amounts of energy came from that were needed to cause the complete collapse of the intact parts below for each tower, when their tops were in virtual free fall, is not answered in NIST's numerous volumes of study."

These scientific principles are a fatal flaw for the NIST Committee's explanations for the building collapses, as expounded in my Journal of 911 Studies Letter on January 29, 2008 [3].

Our government must correct all of the errors in their multiple studies of the collapse of these buildings. To do that, scientific integrity must be restored! So the question comes back to President Barack Obama and his new administration: will his promise to "restore science to its rightful place" allow for replacing those studies by correct science? Does it mean those 45 government reports with scientific errors put by the NIST Committee will be replaced with new reports that present correctly both the scientific facts and all the significant scientific evidence, allowing for scientific evaluation of what they may show?

We hope it does.

[1] Crockett Grabbe & Lenny Charles editorial, posted 9/8/07:

[2] Paul Craig Roberts editorial on 9/11/07:

[3] Crockett Grabbe article confronting NIST on energy & momentum: