On September 11, 2007, the BBC published an article based on a press release from the University of Cambridge called "9/11 demolition theory challenged", describing research purportedly done by Cambridge lecturer Keith Seffen.
Dr. Seffen, the BBC said, had constructed a mathematical model of the twin towers of the World Trade Center which showed that
once the collapse of the twin towers began, it was destined to be rapid and total.According to the BBC, Dr. Seffen proceeded from this mathematical model to describe the destruction of the twin towers as
a "very ordinary thing to happen".The BBC also reported that Dr. Seffen's findings
are published in the Journal of Engineering Mechanics.The Journal of Engineering Mechanics (JEM) is a monthly publication of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). When a search of the ASCE website turned up no mention of a Keith Seffen, nor any mention of any "Seffen", I began to detect the distinctive smell of manure.
I am familiar with mathematical models and that distinctive smell. I've taught college math; I've designed mathematical modeling software; and once during a debate I "proved", with a very simple series of deceptive "calculations", that zero "equals" infinity. To make a long story short, this "paper" reminded me of that "proof". So I was particularly anxious to see it, and disappointed when I found out it was unavailable.
I also began to suspect the worst: not only that the paper hadn't been published, and was not going to be published, but that perhaps the paper hadn't even been written. After all, unless you can "prove" that zero "equals" infinity, it would be very difficult to construct the "proof" described by the Cambridge press release.
I wrote a short piece that day about the BBC News item, pointing out that no such paper had been published by the JEM, nor indeed by any publication of the ASCE. Shortly thereafter, the BBC piece was changed to say that Dr. Seffen's findings
are to be published in the Journal of Engineering Mechanicsand I updated my piece to reflect this change. Three days later I wrote a second piece, a longer and more serious look at the press release from Cambridge. Then I started watching for Dr. Seffen's name on the net, trying not to miss anything published about him or his mathematical model. The results of that survey are published in my most recent article on this subject, "Seffen's Folly: Attempted 9/11 Hoax By Cambridge And The BBC Was A Failure".
This article documents various attempts to obtain clarification from Dr. Seffen, the purported author, and Ross Corotis, the editor of the journal which supposedly published -- or is about to publish -- the paper.
The American Society of Civil Engineers and the Journal of Engineering MechanicsFrom the website of the American Society of Civil Engineers we can find ASCE's monthly Journal of Engineering Mechanics, and thence JEM's Current Issue: Table of Contents.
You may note that nothing from Dr. Seffen is listed on this page. We can search the ASCE library from this page; I searched "all issues" for "Seffen".
The search returned:
You were searching for : (Seffen)The Journal of Engineering Mechanics lists Ross B. Corotis (Ph.D., P.E., S.E., NAE, University of Colorado, Boulder) as its editor.
No documents found for your query.
Ross CorotisRoss B. Corotis, editor of the JEM, is also a professor in the Department of Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering at the University of Colorado at Boulder.
Theoretically, at least, as the editor of the Journal of Engineering Mechanics, Dr. Corotis should have some interest in what Cambridge and the BBC are saying about the journal he edits. One might expect him to have some knowledge about it, too. Unfortunately Dr. Corotis has chosen not to share any of that knowledge, as indicated by his failure to reply to the email quoted below:
Dear Dr. CorotisDr. Corotis didn't see fit to reply to my message. Or maybe he just got busy and forgot.
I have read with great interest the article published by BBC last month regarding a mathematical model of the collapse of the World Trade Center's twin towers which according to the BBC was written by Dr. Keith Seffen of the University of Cambridge and published (or to be published) in the ASCE Journal of Engineering Mechanics.
It gets a bit confusing, because the original BBC piece said Seffen's "findings are published" but a later version says his "findings are to be published". I have checked the press release from Cambridge but it is is not clear on this point.
I'm intrigued by the description of Dr. Seffen's analysis and I have been searching the net looking for the paper, but without finding it. Fortunately, I did manage to find a page which says you edit the ASCE's Journal of Engineering Mechanics and another page with your email address(es). I am hoping you might be able to answer a few simple questions:
Has Keith Seffen's paper, "Progressive Collapse of the World Trade Centre: a Simple Analysis" in fact been published in the ASCE Journal of Engineering Mechanics?
If so, can you tell me the number of the issue in which it appeared and/or the date of publication?
Otherwise, can you tell me whether the paper is scheduled to be published?
And if so, can you tell me the issue and/or date when it will be published?
Thank you very much for any assistance you can provide.
Why don't you email Dr. Corotis and ask him what he has to say about all this? His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org, and I'm sure he'd be glad to hear from you.
Keith SeffenFrom Keith Seffen's page at the University of Cambridge website we can find the page that lists Keith Seffen's technical papers. There we can read his offer:
please request if WWW access unavailableThis was good news to me because the most interesting item listed on this page
K A Seffen,"Progressive Collapse of the World Trade Centre: a Simple Analysis", ASCE Journal of Engineering Mechanics, in pressdoes not appear to be available. I suppose that's exactly what it means when it says "in press", but nevertheless I did attempt to take Dr. Seffen up on his offer.
Unfortunately Dr. Seffen failed repeatedly to reply to the following message:
Dear Dr. SeffenI am not the only one who has attempted to contact Dr. Seffen without result.
I read with great interest the article published by BBC last month regarding your mathematical model of the collapse of the twin towers. Lately I have been searching the net for your paper but without finding it. Fortunately, I did manage to find a web page where you say: "Technical writings: please request if WWW access unavailable".
I was most heartened to read this and I am hoping you might be able to help me out by answering a few questions.
 Has "Progressive Collapse of the World Trade Centre: a Simple Analysis" in fact been published in the ASCE Journal of Engineering Mechanics? The press release from Cambridge is not clear on this point.
If so, can you tell me the issue number or date of publication?
Or if not, do you know when or in which issue it will be published?
 Has the paper been published anywhere else?
If so, can you tell me where I can find it?
Or if not, would you be willing (and able) to provide a copy of the paper for review?
Thank you very much for your very important work and of course for any assistance you can provide.
He also failed to respond to this message
Dear Dr Keith Seffen,and this one:
Further to reading the following BBC article... http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/6987965.stm,
I have been trying to obtain a copy of your findings which were reported as being published in the Journal of Engineering Mechanics. I am particularly interested in the sources of information used, your methodology of any calculations and any assumptions you may have made.
Could you please provide a link to this information or possibly E-mail me the paper as I cannot locate it on the Journal of Engineering Mechanics website... http://pubs.asce.org/journals/engineeringmechanics/
Your assistance would be much appreciated
Attn Dr Keith Seffen,and this one
I understand that Mr Brian McHugh (Mechanical Engineer) and perhaps others have requested that you support your recent hypothesis which has been discussed on the BBC website at http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/6987965.stm, and I would like to add my own weight behind this request, as there are many of us who would be very interested in examining your figures.
Of course, it must also be mentioned here that it would appear as if your hypothesis pertains to buildings which have possibly been the subject of hits by aircraft and subsequent fuel induced fires, which, of course, World Trade Centre 7 was not. However, my interpretation of your hypothesis may be in error as I have not examined your figures.
Although I am an accountant by profession, I have studied physics to university level, and am also in my final year with the Open University studying a degree in Mathematics and Computing, so I would study your figures with great interest, as indeed would many in the scientific community whose hypotheses and mathematics seem to be at odds with your own.
I shall be particularly interested in how you have dealt with the loss of mass and energy due to the vast amounts of concrete and other dust created and expelled as the buildings came down. In addition, if the steel supports offered what must have been virtually zero resistance to the floors falling from above, I am very interested in just how you must be explaining why they are not sticking 1,300 feet into the air. Furthermore, I shall be interested in your explanation as to how two of the buildings seemed to collapse from the top down, yet one (WTC7) collapsed from the bottom in a far more conventional way as is usual for buildings the subject of controlled demolitions and which we can see in numerous video clips.
Your early response to the request for your figures would be greatly appreciated.
Dear Dr Seffenand this one
I have read with interest a report of your investigations into the collapse of the World Trade Center here:
How do you explain the following:
1 how the heat in a carbon-based fire could have reached the melting point of steel
2 why molten steel was present at ground zero after the collapse
3 why no steel-framed buildings and none of the buildings hit by aircraft, either before or since 9/11, have resulted in similar destruction of the steel framework, shearing beams, trusses and columns. (In each such case the steel framework has remained standing despite damage to other parts of the buildings)
4 why a downward force of floor collapse should have sheared vertical columns
5 why the Saloman Brothers' building, also known as World Trade Center Seven, collapsed in like manner to the twin towers, despite not having been hit by an aircraft
6 how you can describe these three collapses in a unique manner in one day as a "very ordinary thing to happen"?
Hi Keith,I'm sure Keith Seffen would appreciate a few emails and phone calls inquiring as to when and whether his paper will be available for peer review. His email address, as noted on his personal web page, is email@example.com. For those who prefer to phone him, the numbers are +44 (0) 1223 7 64137. To send him a fax, try +44 (0) 1223 3 32662.
I see that you have 'proved' that the total collapse of the South Tower in about 9 seconds is scientifically possible. I really look forward to reading your article.
To me it has always seemed that:
As the collapse was at 'free-fall' speed (near as damn it), all the available P.E. was being converted into K.E. as the tower fell......or did I misunderstand the first law of thermodynamics?
If this is true, and it obviously is.......where did the energy come from to pulverise almost the entire building into to dust before it hit the ground? We all saw this happening didn't we?
Come to that, if the building was pulverised as it fell what constituted the impacting mass that provided the successive 80+ collapses and further pulverisations that took place?
If the whole dust thing was a figment of our collective imaginations and fully rigid real floors fell onto lower floors in a pancake-style collapse how come the Law of Conservation of Momentum forgot to apply itself for this particular 9 seconds of history. Such a collapse could not possibly have taken place at free-fall speed, could it? The collapse would have become successively slower. Estimates I have seen of collapse times applying this universally applicable law vary between 30 and 55 seconds.
Is there some entirely new 'building in a state of shock' principle going on or something? Even if every steel support offered zero resistance to collapse the millisecond it came under the tiniest stress, it is still impossible to see how the 47 massive steel beams that constituted the core of the building were brought down.
It had better be good, Keith.
It would really horrible to see a person make himself an accessory to mass-murder by manufacturing fraudulent bollox designed to assist in the cover-up of a truly evil crime.
Nothing At Stake But The Future Of MankindThe importance of this issue can hardly be overemphasized.
The Global War on Terror and the emerging National Security State are predicated on the events of 9/11.
We don't have any money for anything anymore because of the vast expense of enhancing National Security, not to mention the additional vast expense of fighting the Global War On Terror. In truth, if not for these two enormous expenditures, wealthy Americans could have had an even more meaningful tax cut.
And on the other hand, as well as going nationally bankrupt, we don't have any rights anymore because if we did, our rights would be a threat to National Security.
The very phrase "National Security" has taken on a double meaning in these dark post-9/11 days. It no longer means "the safety and security of the entire nation and all the people living in it", if it ever meant such a thing.
By the Nixon era it had taken on its primary Bush-era connotation, namely "the continued tenure in office of the president and the continued tenure in the White House of his gang".
Nowadays, in yet another Orwellian degradation of the language, it also means "anything the president wants to do, especially if the people do not want it".
Thus we have unlimited warrantless wiretapping of a most egregious and illegal nature, and no hint that this surveillance program is stopping terrorism or even that it could have stopped the attacks of 9/11 had it been in place at the time -- on the contrary, we have seen many hints that this surveillance program was in place at the time and did nothing to prevent the attacks, nor was it ever designed to do so.
But the president claims this power -- and many others, such as the power to detain indefinitely without charge or hearing, much less trial; the power to decide what is torture and what is not, and therefore the legal cover to practice virtually any sort of inhuman abuse and still say "we don't torture"; the power to decide which laws are to be enforced and how; the power to decide which laws are unconstitutional; even the grandiose and perverse power to have anyone anywhere killed at his command -- and all this is based on the twin pillars of "National Security" and the "Global War On Terror".
We've killed at least a million people so far, and left millions more homeless -- many of them stateless! And the Global War On Terror, although the name continues to change, seems set to last forever. Half a dozen countries are now on the verge of being engulfed: I write often of Pakistan and others write even more often of Iran, and there's still Syria, and Lebanon, and Turkey, and of course the six-pointed star in the middle of it all.
There is so much going on that we would have trouble keeping it all straight even if we were getting the truth about everything from our government and the media, but of course we aren't. We're getting more lies to justify more wars, and more killing, and more suffering, and eventually it's bound to result in more blowback, more terrorism, and an even more expensive, and more restrictive, National Security state.
And all this is predicated on 9/11, or more specifically, it's all predicated on the official story of 9/11. What if, as many people believe, that story is false, and not only false but deliberately false, concocted and injected into the national narrative expressly in order to justify the National Security State as well as the Global War on Terror?
So ... Where's The Paper?If Keith Seffen and the BBC and Cambridge and Ross Corotis and the JEM are all collaborating on such an obvious fraud as pretending there's a paper when there isn't, then the world should know about it, in my view.
If there is such a paper, then where is it? Has it been published or not? Is it scheduled to be published or not? Is it available for review? All these questions have been ignored. In other words, there's your answer.
If there is such a paper, then we should be able to see it and review it and decide on the basis of the math whether or not it makes sense, whether or not the collapse it describes is plausible, and equally important, whether or not the collapse it describes corresponds to what we know about the events of the day.
And if there is no paper, are we looking at accessories-after-the-fact in a case of mass murder?
Nearly two months ago, I knew nothing about the process by which scientific papers are published. Then I had a good long talk with my science adviser. He's a friend of long standing, with a PhD in Biology; he's had some papers published and he works in the Biology Department of a university where he knows a lot of other biologists who are having papers published, and he gave me some insight into the process.
Here's the gist of it: If a journal has accepted a paper for publication, it will tell the author either the issue number or the date of the issue in which the paper is to be published. Up until that point, there are no guarantees. The paper may have been submitted, it may be under consideration, it may have been rejected, it may have been sent back to the author for revision (and in that case it needs to be reviewed again after it is revised), and in none of these cases will a date of publication be established. How could it? The paper has to be satisfactory before it can be scheduled for publication.
So, if the paper has been published, when was it published and where is it? And if the paper is to be published, when will it be published? These are the basic questions to which both Dr. Seffen and Dr. Corotis chose not to respond.
It's a classic propaganda technique: tell the lie once and then never mention it again. Sometimes in politics this approach works well. But in science, if someone ignores relevant questions, the obvious implication is that he has no good answers.
In other words, in this case, we seem to be looking at accessories-after-the-fact. They may not want to deal with the questions, but the world deserves answers.
phone: +44 (0) 1223 7 64137
fax: +44 (0) 1223 3 32662
(November 8, 2007): We now have evidence that Dr. Seffen's paper has been written and is scheduled for publication.
WTC 'Collapse' Research Cited In September Is Scheduled To Be Published In February
(November 9, 2007) And now we have the paper
Introducing Keith Seffen's "Progressive Collapse Of The WTC: A Simple Analysis"