PROVO Three Brigham Young University employees who joined a national scholars group formed by suspended BYU physics professor Steven Jones say legitimate questions about the collapse of the World Trade Center towers still deserve investigation.
Kenneth Kuttler, Dillon Inouye and Jeffrey Farrer have different levels of commitment to the Scholars for 9/11 Truth, which has 80 full members and a number of student members, including six students at Utah colleges and universities two each at Utah Valley State College and Salt Lake Community College, one at BYU and another at Snow College.
Farrer, who works in BYU's physics department, asked to have his name removed from the group's Web site on Sept. 7, the same day BYU placed Jones on paid leave to review his involvement in the "9/11 truth movement." He said Jones tried to convince him not to withdraw from the Scholars for 9/11 Truth.
"He thought it would give the critics of that group more ammunition, and I'm sorry for that," Farrer said, "because I think what they're trying to do is a noble thing and it's brave. There's the possibility that a lot of them will ruin their careers by doing this."
Experts continue to explore why a third building fell on Sept. 11, and why it fell so fast. WTC7 was across the street from the two towers struck by planes. The National Institute of Standards and Technology is expected to release a report on WTC7's collapse early next year.
A computation by BYU's Kuttler, a math professor, is posted on www.scholarsfor911truth.org. It shows WTC7 should have taken at least 8.3 seconds to fall. Including resistance due to intact steel columns, it should have taken even longer.
The 47-story building collapsed so quickly that the roof hit the ground in 6.5 seconds, nearly free-fall speed.
"That's about the time (6 seconds) it would take a steel ballbearing to fall from the top of
the building to the ground," Kuttler said. "There's practically no resistance. This has caused some people to believe that something other than damage and gravity caused that building to fall. I don't see what other conclusion you can draw."
Critics of the self-named truth movement say WTC7 was struck by steel beams when the other towers collapsed and fell because of intense fires fed by diesel fuel stored in the building.
Jones began to explore these and other questions last year. Inouye is a professor in BYU's Department of Instructional Psychology and Technology who attended a campus lecture by Jones and signed a paper agreeing the Jones' findings required further investigation.
"That's the extent of my involvement," Inouye said. "I don't know what the group is doing."
Jones wrote a paper that said his experiments on materials from ground zero found evidence of thermate, a compound used in some military demolition charges. Jones has said the charges would explain why the buildings fell straight down and so quickly.
Farrer, who manages BYU's Transmission Electron Microscopy Laboratory, sent an e-mail asking the group to remove his name from the Web site on Sept. 7, hours before BYU administrators informed Jones they were placing him on paid leave. Farrer had grown increasingly uncomfortable with the content of scholarsfor911truth.org. He was disturbed that it appeared to have a political viewpoint, though he said he would continue to work with the group.
"If it's a scholarly Web site, I don't think they should have a political viewpoint," Farrer said. "I thought there was too much finger-pointing and maybe a little too much speculation that wasn't based on confirmable evidence."
Jones told the Deseret Morning News on Wednesday that he will no longer speculate about who might have set the cutter charges. Other members of the scholars' group blame government officials and neoconservatives.
BYU spokesman Carri Jenkins said the university is not reviewing the actions of Kuttler, Inouye or Farrer.
All three men complimented Jones, and Kuttler defended Jones' right to explore Sept. 11 issues, including the source of molten metal found in the basements of all three buildings. Jones said experiments done at BYU proved the metal is not structural steel or aluminum from the planes that struck the 110-story towers.
"I'm surprised, and I feel like sometimes people criticize Jones for things he didn't even say," Kuttler said. "I believe there's a little bit of guilt by association here. He is interested in some physical questions. He's very interested in the molten metal in the basements. It seems a legitimate question to ask, and a man trained in physics has every right to ask it. That's what he has emphasized all along. He's just interested in this thing about the molten metal in the basement and other anomalies, and why not?"Kuttler is writing a computer program to study the falls of the other towers, those struck by the planes.