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Posted: 11:37 AM- Brigham Young University placed physics professor Steven Jones on paid leave Thursday in order to review his controversial research on the collapse of the World Trade Center.
Jones published the paper, "Why Indeed Did the World Trade Center Collapse?" online and began lecturing about his theories, which stated that the planes crashing into the towers created a diversion while an unnamed group, possibly the U.S. military, had planted bombs inside the towers.
Jones in recent media interviews said materials found at Ground Zero and studied at BYU found traces of thermite, an explosive compound used by the military. However, Jones refused to name any specific people or groups responsible for the explosion.
"We are looking at the increasingly speculative and accusatory nature of Dr. Jones work, and the fact this work hasn't been published in appropriate scientific venues," said Carri Jenkins, a BYU spokeswoman.
Jones also was recently appointed co-chairman of Scholars for 9/11 Truth, "a nonpartisan association of faculty, students, and scholars, in fields as diverse as history, science, military affairs, psychology and philosophy, dedicated to exposing falsehoods and to revealing truths behind 9/11," according to its Web site. He is also the co-editor of Journal of 9/11 Studies.
Jones' two classes are being taught by other professors this fall, and Jenkins says the review will last throughout fall semester.
"BYU has a policy of academic freedom, but what's expected is that professors submit their work to academic peer reviews so it can be challenged and debated by experts," Jenkins said.
It is a "rare" occurrence for a tenured professor to be put on paid leave. Jones has taught at BYU since 1985.
Jones, who has focused on cold fusion in the past, has had no other research cause such a stir, Jenkins said.
The review will be three-tiered, with the school's administration, the College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences and the Physics Department involved.
Jones did not immediately respond to telephone calls this morning.