In an article published in the Albuquerque Journal on July 25, 1997, staff writer John Fleck quoted scientists who said the strange material unveiled as a possible "extraterrestrial artifact" at the recent UFO conference in Roswell, New Mexico, "could have been cooked up in any college chemistry lab."
Fleck quotes University of Kentucky chemist Rob Toreki as saying, "You could do it here... There's no validity to what he [Dr. Russell VernonClark] is saying."
Dr. VernonClark, a Ph.D. chemist employed by the University of California at San Diego who presented the scientific data at the Roswell conference, agrees that it would be possible to create an object with altered isotopic ratios. But it would be neither cheap nor easy.
VernonClark commented on that problem on his web site:
"To put it plainly, it IS POSSIBLE, but expensive to create a material with non-natural isotopic abundances... If anyone tells you the isotopic ratios 'can't be altered,' then don't believe them.
"There is a small group of individuals struggling with understanding the difficulty of human manufacture of the object right now," VernonClark wrote.
The object he tested turned out to be almost pure silicon, with traces of other elements such as silver, nickel and zinc, VernonClark said. Regarding the various non-natural isotopic ratios in the sample, he wrote: "It seems most plausible that if one were to try and fake the silicon ratios, the other elements, found only in very minor concentrations, would have terrestrial abundances."
In the Albuquerque Journal article, writer Fleck emphasized that "the scientist who made the original out-of-this-world claim... now acknowledges the evidence is 'inconclusive.'"
Television producer Chris Wyatt, who helped to arrange the testing of the unusual material and has stayed in close touch with VernonClark since the Roswell press conference, told CNI News on July 30 that Fleck's article distorted and misquoted what VernonClark said. "In fact, we are sticking entirely to our original statements," Wyatt said.
Both Wyatt and VernonClark have said all along that the results of the testing are preliminary and further testing is required.
"There are more tests we are planning on this material. When it's all done, we'll write an article for a peer reviewed journal," VernonClark wrote on his web site.
According to Fleck's story, "scientists studying VernonClark's data point to serious flaws.
"Among the problems: VernonClark's claim that the alleged 50-year-old spacecraft debris contained detectable amounts of the element [isotope] germanium-75, a substance so radioactive scientists say it would decay into other elements in less than a day."
VernonClark acknowledges that his original presentation in Roswell included mention of the radioactive isotope gernmanium 75.
"There has been much made about the fact that this isotope [Germanium 75] would not be present in any object that had been around for more than just a few days," he wrote on his web site. "I did not personally analyze this data. Since this presentation I have had the opportunity to review the analysis in some detail and the only reasonable assumption is that the mass peak at 75 is arsenic. In fact, the Mass Spectroscopist who analyzed the material does not mention Ge 75 at all. That information, and all of the other SIMS [Secondary Ion Mass Spectroscopy] data, was provided to me by the person who had ordered the work done."
VernonClark said that the germanium findings were provided by the as yet unnamed "major west coast research university" that tested the material after he did. He said that the SIMS process used by that lab identifies isotopes by numerical value (atomic weight) only, and it is up to the researcher to interpret what element is there. Arsenic 75 and germanium 75 would appear almost identical in a SIMS analysis.
"Three other labs have done work on the material. I have not seen a clean copy of the 'raw data' from any of these sources and [I] presented their material [at Roswell] on good faith. I still have no reason to doubt the truth of their conclusions," VernonClark wrote.
Chris Wyatt told CNI News that he is personally convinced that the other scientists involved in the testing will eventually participate in publishing a peer reviewed paper on the unusual material. He said he thinks this could happen "within a few months."
Both Wyatt and VernonClark refuse to name the others involved in the testing. VernonClark wrote that he had agreed not to "subject the other researchers to the same harassment/hassle that I'm undergoing, until they were satisfied and ready to submit the work for publication."
Russell VernonClark's website comments can be found at http://www-chem.ucsd.edu/~ruvernon/Odds.n.ends/Analysis/talk
Original file name: CNI - ET Artifact
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