Steven E. Jones

Steven E. Jones

Steven Earl Jones is an American physicist. For most of his career, Jones was known mainly for his work on muon-catalyzed fusion. In the fall of 2006, amid controversy surrounding his work on the collapse of the World Trade Center, he was relieved of his teaching duties and placed on paid leave from Brigham Young University. On October 20, 2006, he announced his retirement. He holds that the World Trade Center was destroyed by controlled demolition during the September 11 attacks.


Jones earned his bachelor's degree in physics, magna cum laude, from Brigham Young University in 1973, and his Ph.D. in physics from Vanderbilt University in 1978. Jones conducted his Ph.D. research at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (from 1974 to 1977), and post-doctoral research at Cornell University and the Los Alamos Meson Physics Facility. [ Brigham Young University: Steven E. Jones's CV] ]

Research interests and background

Jones conducted research at the Idaho National Laboratory, in Arco, Idaho where, from 1979 to 1985, he was a senior engineering specialist. He was principal investigator for experimental muon-catalyzed fusion from 1982 to 1991 for the U.S. Department of Energy, Division of Advanced Energy Projects. From 1990 to 1993, Jones studied fusion in condensed matter physics and deuterium under U.S. Department of Energy and Electric Power Research Institute sponsorship. Jones also collaborated in experiments at other physics labs, including TRIUMF (Vancouver, British Columbia), KEK (Tsukuba, Japan), and the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory at Oxford University.

Jones' interests also extend to archaeometry, solar energy, [cite web | url= |title = Steven E. Jones' biography at BYU | accessdate = 2006-08-03] [cite web |url= |title=The Solar Funnel Cooker] and, like many professors at BYU, archaeology and the Book of Mormon. [For the relationship between BYU and Mormon apologetics scholarship see generally John-Charles Duffy. "Defending the Kingdom, Rethinking the Faith: How Apologetics Is Reshaping Mormon Orthodoxy." "Sunstone", May 2004, 22-55.] For example, he has sought radiocarbon dating evidence of the existence of pre-Columbian horses in the Americas, [Anonymous. [ "Out of the Dust"] in "Journal of Book of Mormon Studies" Volume 10 Issue 1.] and has interpreted archaeological evidence from the ancient Mayans as supporting his faith's belief that Jesus Christ visited America. [ [ "Behold My Hands: Evidence for Christ's Visit in Ancient America," by Steven Jones] , article claiming evidence that Jesus Christ visited the Americas (also [ here] )]

Cold fusion

In the mid-1980s, Jones and other BYU scientists worked on what he then referred to as "Cold Nuclear Fusion" in a Scientific American article, but is today known as muon-catalyzed fusion to avoid confusion. Muon-catalyzed fusion was a field of some interest in the 1980s, but its low energy output appears to be unavoidable (due to alpha-muon sticking losses). Jones led a research team that in 1986 achieved 150 fusions per muon (average), releasing over 2,600 MeV of fusion energy per muon, a record which still stands. [cite web |last = Jones |first = Steven Earl |year = 1986 |url = |title = Muon-catalysed fusion revisited |work = Nature |publisher = Nature Publishing Group |accessdate = 2007-09-04]

Around 1985 Jones then became interested in the anomalous concentration of helium-3 found in the gases escaping from volcanoes. He hypothesized that the high pressures in the Earth's interior might make fusion more likely, and began a series of experiments on what he referred to as "piezofusion", or high-pressure fusion. In order to characterize the reactions, Jones designed and built a neutron counter able to accurately measure the tiny numbers of neutrons being produced in his experiments. The counter suggested a small amount of fusion was going on. Jones said the result suggested at least the possibility of fusion, though the process was unlikely to be useful as an energy source.

Pons and Fleischmann (P&F) started their work around the same time. Their work was brought to Jones' attention when they applied for research funding from the Department of Energy, after which the DOE passed their proposal along to Jones for peer review. Realizing their work was very similar, Jones and P&F agreed to release their papers to "Nature" on the same day, March 24, 1989. However, P&F announced their results at a press event the day before. Jones faxed his paper to Nature. [ [ Jones’s manuscript on history of cold fusion at BYU, Ludwik Kowalski, March 5, 2004] ]

A "New York Times" article says that while peer reviewers were quite critical of Pons and Fleishchmann's research they did not apply such criticism to Jones' much more modest, theoretically supported findings. Although critics insisted that his results likely stemmed from experimental error, [cite web |last = Browne |first = Malcolm W. |year = 1989 |url = |title = Physicists Debunk Claim Of a New Kind of Fusion |work = Science |publisher = The New York Times
accessdate = 2006-07-14
] most of the reviewing physicists indicated that he was a careful scientist. Later research and experiments supported the metallic cold fusion reports by Jones. [cite web
last = Czerski, K. and Huke, A. and Biller, A. and Heide, P. and Hoeft, M. and Ruprecht, G.
year = 2001 |url = |title = Enhancement of the electron screening effect for d+ d fusion reactions in metallic environments |filetype = pdf |publisher = Europhysics Letters| pages=449-455, Volume 54, number 4| quote=...the observedenhancement of the electron screening in metal targets can, in tendency, explainthe small neutron production rates observed in the cold-fusion experiment ofJones [reference 1989 Nature paper] .

WTC destruction controversy

On September 22, 2005 Jones presented his views on the collapse of the World Trade Center towers and World Trade Center 7 at a BYU seminar attended by about 60 people. Pointing to the speed and symmetry of the collapses, the characteristics of dust jets, and reports of molten metal in the debris, Jones suggested that the evidence defies the mainstream collapse theory and favors explosive or Thermite-based demolition. He called for further scientific investigation to test the controlled demolition hypothesis and the release of all relevant data by the government. [cite web |url= |title=Why Indeed Did the WTC Buildings Collapse? |accessdate=2008-09-09 |last=Jones |first=Steven E. |format=html |quote=I presented my objections to the “official” theory at a seminar at BYU on September 22, 2005, to about sixty people. I also showed evidence and scientific arguments for the explosive demolition theory.] Shortly after the seminar, Jones placed a paper "Why Indeed Did the WTC Buildings Collapse?" on the Physics department web site.

He subsequently defended the research twice more at BYU,Fact|date=September 2007 also at Idaho State University, Utah Valley State College, University of Colorado at Boulder and University of Denver, the Utah Academy of Science, Sonoma State University, University of California at Berkeley, and the University of Texas at Austin. [cite web |url= |title=What Caused Not Two but Three World Trade Center Skyscrapers to COMPLETELY Collapse on 9/11/2001? |accessdate=2007-09-04 |format=pdf |last=Jones |first=Steven E |date=2006-09-22] [cite web |last=Jones |first=Steven E |url= |accessdate=2007-09-04 |title=9/11 Revisited: Scientific and Ethical Questions |date=2006-02-01] [cite news |last=Riley |first=Michael |url= |title=Backers hail 9/11 theorist's speech |date=2006-10-29 |accessdate=2007-09-04 |publisher=Denver Post |work=Denver & The West] [cite news |title=Physicist says heat substance felled WTC |last=Dean |first=Suzanne |url=,1249,635198488,00.html |date=2006-04-10 |accessdate=2007-09-04 |publisher=Deseret Morning News] [cite web |url= |date=2006-10-26 |accessdate=2007-09-04 |title=Scholars For Truth Founder Is Keynote Speaker for Media Accountability Conference, Nov. 3 And 4] [cite web |url= |date=2006-11-11 |accessdate=2007-09-04 | title=Analysis of the World Trade Center Destruction |work=Lifting the Fog: The Scientific Method Applied to the World Trade Center Disaster] [cite web |url= |title=The Twin Towers in scientific detail |work=Project for a New American Citizen: Rebuilding America's Senses |date=2007-04-14 |accessdate=2007-09-04]

Jones' paper has been the center of controversy both for its content and its claims to scientific rigor.cite news |first=John |last=Gravois |title=Professors of Paranoia? |work=The Chronicle of Higher Education |volume=52 |issue=42 |page=A.10 |date=2006-06-23 |url= |accessdate=2007-09-03 |quote=Soon after Mr. Jones posted his paper online, the physics department at Brigham Young moved to distance itself from his work. The department released a statement saying that it was 'not convinced that his analyses and hypotheses have been submitted to relevant scientific venues that would ensure rigorous technical peer review.'] Jones' early critics included members of BYU's engineering faculty; [cite web |last=Firmage |first=D. Allan | date=2006-04-09 |url= |title=Refuting 9/11 Conspiracy Theory | work=Letter to the Editor |publisher=NetXNews (online edition of College Times, the Utah Valley State College student newspaper) |accessdate = 2007-09-04] shortly after he made his views public, the BYU College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences and the faculty of structural engineering issued statements in which they distanced themselves from Jones' work. They noted that Jones' "hypotheses and interpretations of evidence were being questioned by scholars and practitioners," and expressed doubts about whether they had been "submitted to relevant scientific venues that would ensure rigorous technical peer review." [cite news |last = McIlvain |first = Ryan | date=2005-12-05 |url = |title=Censor rumors quelled |accessdate=2007-09-04 |publisher=BYU NewsNet |quote=Professor Jones’s department and college administrators are not convinced that his analyses and hypotheses have been submitted to relevant scientific venues that would ensure rigorous technical peer review. The structural engineering faculty in the Fulton College of Engineering and Technology do not support the hypotheses of Professor Jones.]

Some of Jones' colleagues have defended his work on 9/11 to varying degrees,cite web |last=Walch |first=Tad |date=2006-09-18 |url=,1249,650191550,00.html |title=Three at BYU praise Jones | publisher=Deseret News | accessdate=2007-09-03] and Project Censored lists his 9/11 research among the top mainstream media censored stories of 2007.cite web |last=Kramer |first=John |coauthors=David Abbott and Courtney Wilcox |year=2007 | url= |title=Physicist Challenges Official 9-11 Story |work=Project Censored |accessdate=2007-09-03]

Jones maintains that the paper was peer-reviewed prior to publication within a book "9/11 and American Empire: Intellectuals Speak Out" by D.R. Griffin [cite web| author=Tad Walch|title=BYU places '9/11 truth' professor on paid leave |publisher= [ Desert News] |date=2006-11-8|accessdate=2008-06-01|url=,1249,645199800,00.html] , however it has never been published in an independent peer-reviewed journal. The paper was also posted on the Internet site of the "Journal of 9/11 Studies", which was co-founded by Jones for the purpose of "covering the whole of research related to 9/11/2001", was co-edited by him, and which has recently slowed publication, having posted a notice that potential contributors were encouraged to submit their prospective work to other, more mainstream, publications. [cite web |last=Jones |first=Steven E |volume=200609 |title=Why Indeed Did the WTC Buildings Collapse? |url= |accessdate=2007-09-03] The paper also appears in "Global Outlook", [cite journal |last=Jones |first=Steven E |issue=11 | volume=Spring/Summer 2006 |title=Why Indeed Did the WTC Buildings Collapse? | pages=pp. 47–70 |journal=Global Outlook] a magazine "seeking to reveal the truth About 9/11" [cite web |url= |title=Global Outlook |accessdate=2007-09-03] and in a volume of essays edited by David Ray Griffin and Peter Dale Scott. [cite book | last=Griffin |first=David Ray (ed.) |coauthors=Peter Dale Scott (ed.) |title=9/11 and American Empire: Intellectuals Speak Out, Vol 1.| publisher=Olive Branch Press |date=2006-08-23 |isbn= 1566566592 |pages=247 pages]

On September 7, 2006, Jones removed his paper from BYU's website at the request of administrators and was placed on paid leave.cite web |last=Walch |first=Tad
title=BYU's Jones Denies Bias
publisher=Deseret News | accessdate=2007-10-09

The university cited its concern about the "increasingly speculative and accusatory nature" of Jones' work and the concern that perhaps it had "not been published in appropriate scientific venues" as reasons for putting him under review. The review was to have been conducted at three levels: BYU administration, the College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences, and the Physics Department. [cite news |last=McFarland |first=Sheena |date=2006-09-08 |publisher=Salt Lake Tribune |title=BYU prof on paid leave for 9/11 theory |accessdate=2007-09-03]

Jones' placement on paid leave drew criticism from the American Association of University Professors and the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education. Both organizations are long time critics of BYU's record on academic freedom. [cite news |title=BYU action on Jones lamented |url=,1249,645200780,00.html |last = Walch |first=Tad |publisher=Deseret Morning News |date=2006-09-14 |accessdate=2007-09-03] Jones "welcomed the review" because he hoped it would "encourage people to read his paper for themselves," however the review was abandoned (contrary to Jones' request) when Jones elected to retire, effective January 1, 2007.cite news |url=,1249,650200587,00.html |title=BYU professor in dispute over 9/11 will retire: Jones had been placed on leave 6 weeks ago |last=Walch |first=Tad |date=2006-10-21 |publisher=Deseret Morning News |accessdate=2007-09-04]

Jones has been interviewed by mainstream news sources and has made a number of public appearances. While Jones has urged caution in drawing conclusions,cite web |last = Jones |first = Steven E| date=2006-07-18 |url= |title=Answers to Objections and Questions |accessdate=2007-09-04] his public comments have suggested a considerable degree of certainty about both the controlled demolition of the World Trade Center and the culpability of rogue agents working within the U.S. government. [cite news |title=Fury as academics claim 9/11 was 'inside job' |publisher=London Daily Mail |date=2006-09-06 |url= |accessdate=2007-09-04 ] In one interview, he asserted that the attacks were "an 'inside job', puppeteered by the neoconservatives in the White House to justify the occupation of oil-rich Arab countries, inflate military spending, and expand Israel." [cite news |title=Who really blew up the twin towers? |publisher = The Guardian |work=Education Guardian Weekly |date=2006-09-05 |url=,,1864524,00.html| accessdate = 2007-09-04 ] His name is often mentioned in reporting about 9/11 conspiracy theories. [cite news |last=Dwyer |first=Jim |title =U.S. Reports Seek to Counter Conspiracy Theories About 9/11 |url= |publisher = New York Times |date=2006-09-02 |accessdate=2008-04-08]

In April 2008, Jones, along with four other authors, published a letter in "The Bentham Open Civil Engineering Journal", titled, 'Fourteen Points of Agreement with Official Government Reports on the World Trade Center Destruction' [cite web |url= |title=Fourteen Points of Agreement with Official Government Reports on the World Trade Center Destruction |accessdate=2008-23-04 |format=html |last=Jones |first=Steven E] . And in August 2008, Jones, along with Kevin Ryan and James Gourley, published a peer-reviewed article in "The Environmentalist", titled, 'Environmental anomalies at the World Trade Center: evidence for energetic materials'. [cite web |url= |title=Environmental anomalies at the World Trade Center: evidence for energetic materials |accessdate=2008-06-09 |format=html |last=Jones |first=Steven E] .

cholars for 9/11 Truth

Jones was a founding member of Scholars for 9/11 Truth and has served as co-chair, with James H. Fetzer, since its inception. From mid-November 2006 until the end of that year, he, Fetzer and a series of other researchers and individuals engaged in an open dispute about the direction the organization should take. Fetzer has said Jones wants to suppress some alternative theories about 9/11, including those of Judy Wood and Morgan Reynolds involving the destruction of the WTC by directed energy weapons, and the so-called "no-plane" theories. [Fetzer, Jim. [ "An Open Letter about Steven Jones"] .] Jones has said he has examined the mini-nukes hypothesis and delineated empirical reasons for rejecting it, [Jones, Steven. [ "Hard Evidence Repudiates the Hypothesis that Mini-Nukes Were Used on the WTC Towers"] ] and that he invites further discussion and response. Jones and about 4/5 of the scholars left the organization to establish [ Scholars for 9/11 Truth and Justice] , dedicated to 9/11 research using the scientific method. By mid-2008, that organization had grown to over [ 500 members] .


Jones had been co-chair of Scholars for 9/11 Truth up until December 5, 2006. Following a dispute with co-chair James Fetzer over the direction the organization was taking, Jones resigned his membership and joined Scholars for 9/11 Truth and Justice.

Jones is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Jones has been described as "a devout Mormon and, until recently, a faithful supporter of George W. Bush." However, Jones himself noted that he did not vote for Bush/Cheney, and he called for their impeachments beginning at large conferences in Chicago and Los Angeles in June 2006. [ [] ] [ [] ]

Jones is co-editor of Journal of 9/11 Studies. [ [ Journal of 9/11 Studies] ]

Recognition and awards

* 1968, David O. McKay Scholarship at BYU; National Merit Scholar
* 1973-1978 Tuition Scholarship and Research Fellowship at Vanderbilt University
* 1989 Outstanding Young Scholar Award (BYU); Best of What's New for 1989 ("Popular Science"); Creativity Prize (Japanese Creativity Society)
* 1990 BYU Young Scholar Award; Annual Lecturer, BYU Chapter of Sigma Xi


ee also

* Collapse of the World Trade Center
* Controlled demolition hypothesis for the collapse of the World Trade Center
* 9/11 Truth Movement
* Jim Hoffman
* David Ray Griffin

External links

* [ BYU energy research]
* [] - 'Cold Fusion'
* [ The BYU Solar Funnel Cooker/Cooler] and [ Solar Cooker on Project Gutenberg]
* [ Physicist Challenges Official 9-11 Story] - 'Top 25 Censored Stories of 2007,' Project Censored, Nov, 2006.
* [ Podcast of WTC demolition debate between engineer Leslie Robertson and physicist Steven Jones on KGNU radio] , Oct. 26, 2006.
* [ Analysis of the World Trade Center Destruction] by Steven Jones, video recording of the one day conference "Lifting the fog: the scientific method applied to the world trade center disaster" held at the University of California, Berkeley Campus, November 11, 2006.

Links covering Steven Jones' Cold Fusion research

* [ Infinite Energy Magazine] article covering Cold Fusion with mention of Jones' contributions
* [ WIRED Magazine] article covering Cold Fusion with mention of Jones' contributions

Links covering Steven Jones' 9/11 research

* [ Scholars For 9/11 Truth & Justice]
* [ 'Why Indeed Did the WTC Buildings Collapse?'] by Steven E. Jones
* [ 'Answers to Objections and Questions'] PDF presentation by Steven E. Jones
* [ 'Fourteen Points of Agreement with Official Government Reports on the World Trade Center Destruction'] , by Steven E. Jones, Frank M. Legge, Kevin R. Ryan, Anthony F. Szamboti, & James R. Gourley. "The Open Civil Engineering Journal," Volume 2, Issue 1, pp.35-40.

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