Robert Scott Lazar
January 26, 1959
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Robert Scott Lazar (//; born January 26, 1959) is an American businessman, film processor, pyrotechnician, and owner of United Nuclear Scientific Equipment and Supplies. Lazar is primarily known for his claims of having been hired in the late 1980s to reverse-engineer purported extraterrestrial technology at a secret site called "S-4", allegedly located several kilometres south of the United States Air Force facility popularly known as Area 51.
Lazar claims he examined an alien craft that ran on an antimatter reactor powered by element 115, which at the time had not yet been synthesized. He also claims to have read US government briefing documents that described alien involvement in human affairs over the past 10,000 years. Lazar's claims resulted in bringing added public attention to Area 51 and fueling conspiracy theories surrounding its classified activities.
Lazar's story has since been analyzed and rejected by skeptics and ufologists alike, including researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who point out Lazar was never employed at Nellis Air Force Base and does not hold degrees from MIT or Caltech, as he claims. His story gained renewed attention after a June 20, 2019 interview with Joe Rogan, as well as a 2018 documentary about his life entitled Bob Lazar: Area 51 & Flying Saucers.
In May 1989, Lazar appeared in an interview with investigative reporter George Knapp on Las Vegas TV station KLAS, under the pseudonym "Dennis" and with his face hidden, to discuss his purported employment at "S-4", a subsidiary facility he claimed exists near the Nellis Air Force Base installation known as Area 51. He said the S-4 facility was adjacent to Papoose Lake, which is located south of the main Area 51 facility at Groom Lake. He claimed the site consisted of concealed aircraft hangars built into a mountainside. Lazar said that his job was to help with the reverse engineering of one of nine flying saucers, which he alleged were extraterrestrial in origin. Lazar claims one of the flying saucers, the one he coined the "Sport Model", was manufactured out of a metallic substance similar in appearance and touch to stainless steel. In a subsequent interview that November, Lazar appeared unmasked and under his own name.
Lazar claimed that the propulsion of the studied vehicle was fueled by the chemical element with atomic number 115, or "E115" (which in the 1980s was presumed to exist but had not yet been artificially created; it was first synthesized in 2003 and later named moscovium). Lazar explained that the propulsion system relied on a stable isotope of E115, which he explained generates a gravity wave that allowed the vehicle to fly and to evade visual detection by bending light around it. No stable isotopes of moscovium have yet been synthesized; all have proven extremely radioactive, decaying in a few hundred milliseconds.
In addition, Lazar claimed that during his onboarding to the program, he read briefing documents describing the historical involvement of extraterrestrial beings with Earth for the past 10,000 years. He identified the beings as grey aliens from a planet orbiting the twin binary star system Zeta Reticuli, which had also been previously claimed to be the origin of the beings encountered in the alleged abductions of Barney and Betty Hill, another famous UFO case. As of September 2019, no extrasolar planets have been found in the Zeta Reticuli system.
Lazar's story quickly garnered enormous media attention, controversy, supporters, and detractors. Lazar admits he cannot support with evidence his core claim of alien technology. He continues to make the same claims as of 2019.
Education and qualifications
Lazar took electronics courses in the late 1970s at Pierce Junior College in Los Angeles. He also claims he earned a master's degree in physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and a master's degree in electronic technology from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech); however, there are no records of Lazar attending either MIT or Caltech. Furthermore, Lazar was not a member of any professional body. Lazar claims that his academic records were erased by authorities in an effort to discredit him.
In 1990, Lazar was arrested for aiding and abetting a prostitution ring. This was reduced to felony pandering, to which he pleaded guilty. He was ordered to do 150 hours of community service, stay away from brothels, and undergo psychotherapy. During trial and under oath, Lazar again claimed degrees from MIT and Caltech.
Lazar owns and operates United Nuclear Scientific Equipment and Supplies, which sells a variety of materials including radiation sensors, radioactive ores, non-radioactive elements (such as pure silicon), powerful magnets, and other scientific equipment such as aerogel, as well as a variety of lab chemicals. In 2006, Lazar and his wife Joy White were charged with violating the Federal Hazardous Substances Act for shipping restricted chemicals across state lines. The charges stemmed from a 2003 raid on United Nuclear's business offices, where chemical sales records were examined.
United Nuclear pleaded guilty to three criminal counts of introducing into interstate commerce, and aiding and abetting the introduction into interstate commerce, banned hazardous substances. In 2007, United Nuclear was fined $7,500 for violating a law prohibiting the sale of chemicals and components used to make illegal fireworks.
Desert Blast festival
Lazar and long-time friend Gene Huff run Desert Blast, an annual festival in the Nevada desert for pyrotechnics enthusiasts. Starting in 1987, but only formally named in 1991, the name was inspired by Operation Desert Storm. The festival features homemade explosives, rockets, jet-powered vehicles, and other pyrotechnics, with the aim of emphasizing the fun aspect of chemistry and physics.
- The 2018 feature-length documentary Bob Lazar: Area 51 & Flying Saucers focuses on Lazar's claims that he attempted to reverse-engineer alien spacecraft for the United States military at S-4. The documentary was directed by Jeremy Corbell and produced by George Knapp.
- "Bob Lazar UFO Reverse Engineering Podcast". youtube.com. Retrieved 11 February 2018.
- "Bob Lazar 2014". youtube.com. Retrieved 11 February 2018.
- Donald R. Prothero; Timothy D. Callahan (2 August 2017). UFOs, Chemtrails, and Aliens: What Science Says. Indiana University Press. ISBN 978-0-253-03338-3.
- Radford, Benjamin (September 27, 2012). "Area 51: Secrets, Yes; Aliens, No". Live Science. Retrieved September 19, 2019.
The UFO claims surrounding Area 51 emerged most prominently in the late 1980s, when a man named Robert Lazar told a television station that he worked at Nellis as a physicist helping other scientists studying crashed flying saucers on top-secret projects. Predictably, it caused quite a stir among the UFO believers for many months; however, Lazar's claims were later disproven (by UFO skeptics and believers alike). He was found to have fabricated not only his employment at Nellis but indeed his entire background; almost nothing of what he said was true. Still, Lazar's lies propelled Area 51 into the public's consciousness, and a few others (perhaps seeking attention or book deals) later followed in his footsteps making similar "insider" claims about an extraterrestrial presence there.
- George Knapp (1 November 2014). "Out there". KNPR.
- "Bob Lazar: The Man Behind Element 115". Lasvegasnow.com. 2005.
- Oganessian, Y.T. (2015). "Super-heavy element research". Reports on Progress in Physics. 78 (3): 036301. doi:10.1088/0034-4885/78/3/036301.
- Frank B. Salisbury (2010). A Scientist Brings Reason and Logic to Over 400 UFO Sightings in Utah's Uintah Basin. Cedar Fort, Inc. p. 146.
- David Hambling (2016). Weapons Grade. Constable & Robinson. pp. 178–180.
- Laureijs RJ, Jourdain de Muizon M, Leech K, Siebenmorgen R, Dominik C, Habing HJ, Trams N, Kessler MF (2002). "A 25 micron search for Vega-like disks around main-sequence stars with ISO" (PDF). Astronomy & Astrophysics. doi:10.1051/004-6361:20020366.
- "NASA Exoplanet Archive". NASA Exoplanet Science Institute. Retrieved 2019-09-16.
- "Area 51 Exhibit To Feature Russian Roswell UFO Artifact At National Atomic Testing Museum". HuffPost. 20 March 2012.
- "Area 51: Secrets, Yes; Aliens, No". Live Science. 27 September 2012.
- "Unusually Fanatical Observers". Los Angeles Times. 4 February 2003.
- "SOURCE IN CHANNEL 8'S UFO SERIES PLEADS GUILTY TO PANDERING CHARGE". Las Vegas Review Journal. 19 June 1990. p. 8b.
- "Judge Gives UFO "Witness" Lazar Probation on pandering charge". Las Vegas Review Journal. 21 August 1990. p. 2c.
- Stanton Friedman (2012). UFOs: Real Or Imagined?. Rosen Publishing. pp. 122–24.
- "Don't Try This at Home". Wired. July 2006.
- "New Mexico Company Fined, Ordered To Stop Selling Illegal Fireworks Components". U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. 20 July 2007.
- "US v. United Nuclear Scientific Supplies, et al". United States Department of Justice. 2006.
- "Desert Blast". Popular Science. April 1996. pp. 76–79.
- "Ka-Booom!!". Wired. 1 December 1994.
- Reimink, Troy. "In 'Bob Lazar: Area 51' documentary, director investigates UFO whistle-blower's story". Freep.com. Detroit Free Press. Retrieved 31 July 2019.