Robert Scott Lazar (//; born January 26, 1959) is an American conspiracy theorist who claims to have been hired in the late 1980s to reverse-engineer purported extraterrestrial technology at what he described as a secret site called "S-4". Lazar alleges that this subsidiary installation is located several kilometres south of the United States Air Force facility popularly known as Area 51.
Robert Scott Lazar
January 26, 1959
|Criminal charge(s)||Pandering, trade of illegal goods|
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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 some ufologists. Universities from which he claims to hold degrees show no record of him, and supposed former workplaces have disavowed him. In 1990, he was convicted for his involvement in a prostitution ring and again in 2006 for selling illegal chemicals.
Lazar attended Pierce Junior College in Los Angeles. He filed for bankruptcy in 1986, where he described himself as a self-employed film processor. Lazar owns and operates United Nuclear Scientific Equipment and Supplies, which sells a variety of materials and chemicals.
Lazar has achieved notoriety as an Area 51 conspiracy theorist. In May 1989 he 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. Lazar 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. He 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 (E115), which at the time was provisionally named ununpentium and had not yet been artificially created. (It was first synthesized in 2003 and later named moscovium.) He said that the propulsion system relied on a stable isotope of E115, which allegedly 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.
Lazar additionally claimed that during his joining the program, he read briefing documents describing the historical involvement of Earth for the past 10,000 years with extraterrestrial beings described as grey aliens from a planet orbiting the twin binary star system Zeta Reticuli. As of September 2019, no extrasolar planets have been found in the Zeta Reticuli system. In the 2018 feature-length documentary Bob Lazar: Area 51 & Flying Saucers,[a] Lazar claims that the seats of the saucer he saw were approximately child-sized, and that while walking in a hallway at S-4, he briefly glimpsed through a window what he interpreted as a small grey alien between two men in lab coats.
Lazar claims to have 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. His supposed employment at a Nellis Air Force Base subsidiary has also been discredited by skeptics, as well as by the United States Air Force.
A 1982 article in the Alamogordo Daily News featured Lazar's jet-powered car which reportedly achieved speeds of 200 mph, describing him as "a physicist at the Los Alamos Meson Physics Facility"; however, the Los Alamos National Laboratory has disavowed him. Lazar alleges that his records have been erased; however, skeptics such as Donald R. Prothero, Stanton T. Friedman, and Timothy D. Callahan have found this to be implausible. According to Prothero, "He was employed not by the government but rather as a technician working for a private company that contracted work at Los Alamos."
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.
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.
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- "New Mexico Company Fined, Ordered To Stop Selling Illegal Fireworks Components". U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. July 20, 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. December 1, 1994.