Meta Materials From UFOs

Nope, it's the number of protons. All atoms with the same number of protons have similar chemical properties, and that determines their place in the periodic table of elements. "Isotope" is simply Greek for "same place", so all atoms linked to the same place on the periodic table are isotopes of each other.

(I did not refer to the number of electrons because atoms can have more or less electrons than protons, which makes them ions. Atoms with the same number of protons and electrons are not electrically charged and not called ions.)
The thing that differentiates isotopes of the same element is the number of neutrons. Thus the most common form of carbon is Carbon-12, which has six protons and six neutrons, whereas Carbon-14 has six protons and eight neutrons. This makes it less stable, thus radioactive. Elemental materials have the same number of electrons (-) as protons (+), and are thus electrically neutral, but ions of an element have the same number of protons but different numbers of electrons, so they have a net positive or negative charge.

(Sorry, I appear to be repeating something that was already clarified. Carry on. :) )
 
I got that he is talking about the different isotopes of Mg such as 24Mg, 25Mg and 26Mg. That is, Mg atoms with 24, 25 and 26 neutrons in the nucleus respectively. All the Mg atoms would have 12 protons.

Sturrock's paper is saying that a ratio of 0.127 of Mg atoms with 25 neutrons to atoms of Mg with 24 neutrons and a ratio of 0.139 of Mg atoms with 26 neutrons to Mg atoms with 24 neutrons is normal. It's all about the amount of neutrons. Right? Or am I missing something?

Nolan seems to be saying in one of his samples the ratio is unusual or that there is atoms of Mg with unusual numbers of neutrons. I think.
The number used to refer to an isotope is its atomic mass: 24Mg means 12 protons + 12 neutrons; 25Mg is 12 protons+13 neutrons...and so on.

Mg stable isotopes are 24Mg, 25Mg and 26Mg, with natural abundances of 79%,10% and 11% respectively. If you take the ratio of abundances 25Mg to 24Mg, you get the value 0.127, and the ratio of abundance 26Mg to 24Mg is 0.139.

https://www-nds.iaea.org/relnsd/vcharthtml/VChartHTML.html

MG.png
 
The number used to refer to an isotope is its atomic mass: 24Mg means 12 protons + 12 neutrons; 25Mg is 12 protons+13 neutrons...and so on.

Mg stable isotopes are 24Mg, 25Mg and 26Mg, with natural abundances of 79%,10% and 11% respectively. If you take the ratio of abundances 25Mg to 24Mg, you get the value 0.127, and the ratio of abundance 26Mg to 24Mg is 0.139.

https://www-nds.iaea.org/relnsd/vcharthtml/VChartHTML.html

MG.png

Thanks again for the clarification jplaza. Would be interested in your take on all of this "weird isotopes or weird isotopic ratios" in the samples and what would constitute weird or unusual. All studies agree the samples are mostly Mg, so the isotopes are being touted as the strange thing.
 
Thanks again for the clarification jplaza. Would be interested in your take on all of this "weird isotopes or weird isotopic ratios" in the samples and what would constitute weird or unusual. All studies agree the samples are mostly Mg, so the isotopes are being touted as the strange thing.
I hadn't heard about these samples until this thread, and I have followed it only discontinuously...

I can comment about the two papers that came up in some posts (Sturrock and Powell), though. None of them demonstrates unusual values for the Mg isotopes abundance, so there isn't much to discuss about.

BTW, by "usual values" I mean the abundance values from IAEA (see my previous post) , since they gather the values after years of measurements, comparisons, and evaluation of data.

So what would be unusual values and what would that mean? That depends. I think there are a few steps before considering an extra-terrestrial origin.

First one, instrumentation or analysis accuracy / artifacts. In Sturrock, all samples (unknown from Ubatuba, and two from known origin), basically show the same results, but they are different to the "usual values". Take figure 2 in that paper, it shows the number of counts of each isotope, so abundance can be calculated very straight forward:
Table_corrected.jpg
All samples are equivalent, but different to the "nominal value". IMHO, there seems to be a systematic error that has to be taken into account somehow.

On the other hand, Powell takes the same numbers and calculates something totally different to me:
Table_Powell.jpg
I just don't know how Powell did the calculations. It should be as simple as divide the counts by the sum of all the counts. Maybe he knows about the systematic error I mention, and knows how to correct it. But to me it seems that for the ISO-A sample he just copied the nominal values from anywhere (NIST, I guess), without making any sum or division at all.

If you discard experimental or calculation innacuracies, then you can think about how the isotopes were able to change their abundances.
Sturrock points out he was told that:
When magnesium is heated, it tends to lose the lighter isotopes preferentially: the change in the abundance ratio 26 Mg/24Mg should be twice the change in 25Mg/24Mg.
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So I depending on the "history" of the sample, the Mg abundances can vary (but how much? I don't know)

Also, you can think about that the change could be made on purpose. Changing the isotopes abundance is common in nuclear technology. The best example being Uranium. Natural Uranium has 99.3% of 238U and 0.7% of 235U, but it is enriched to 3-5% to be used as nuclear fuel (or 80-90% to produce a nuclear bomb). Helium most abundant isotope is 4He (99.998%), but neutron detectors are built using pure 3He. So the point in this case is that you enrich with an specific isotope to take advantage of nuclear interactions. I don't know if Mg is used in any nuclear application, but changing a minor isotope in a few tenths of percent, won't really make much difference.

Then you can think about natural causes for changing the abundances. If a material is hit by neutrons or cosmic rays (we are constantly being hit by these), it may undergo a nuclear reaction, which usually are isotope-dependent (that is, Mg24 could have a reaction that Mg25 and Mg26 do not). However, I think you would need a very high dose of irradiation to significantly change the abundances.

There may be other possibilities I am missing, but then you may start speculation about the material coming from outside Earth.
 
Nice find! I was busy reading through how various P&W engines were built. What's interesting is it's a logical thought. We have a piece of Mg supposedly form Ubatuba in 1957 and we have a known plane crash in the same area and time. Yet, Sturrock nor any of the other researchers that I can find ever consider the plane a possible source for the Mg. They're too busy looking for UFOs.
Well, the connection would be enough for any conspiracy theorist to believe in.
We know that it's just a hypothesis at this point, a possibility that should be checked out.
But it is a possible answer to the question of how a piece of magnesium ends up in the jungle.
 
Just following up, I did find this picture that is supposedly of the Ubatuba samples Nolan tested. He is credited with the picture:


https://www.schwartzreport.net/2021...alyzing-anomalous-materials-from-ufo-crashes/

The naming conventions don't seem to follow the one created for the samples by Sturrock:

3 Since there had been no systematic tracking of specimens in the APRO files, it was convenient to adopt a new system of coding the various specimens when they were transferred from APRO to Stanford University. Specimens received from APRO were numbered SU-A, SU-B, etc. If a specimen was subdivided, its parts were coded SU-Ia, SU-Ib, etc.
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I'm just curious, the piece in the back of the "B" sample looks really tiny. Maybe like Craig described his sliver he took off the sample he was using:

1688394166738.png

He returned the sample he tested in the '60s to the Lorenzens. If that included the sample and the sliver he took off and tested, then the sample was loaned out and lost, maybe the sliver stayed with the collection.

@jplaza, if that little sliver had been subjected to Neutron Activation Analysis, would the it now have different isotopes of Mg in it?
 
I noticed this news report on Avi Loeb's researches on the first 'interstellar' meteor. It describes his explorations in the Pacific Ocean and states that he has completed the explorations and taken the materials discovered back to Harvard for further analysis.

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/avi-loeb-interstellar-object-aliens-b2369534.html

If I understand the report correctly, the materials discovered consist only of the 50 or so 'spherules' brought up by a magnetic 'sled', as discussed earlier in this thread. He seems confident that these derive from the 'interstellar' meteor, though I don't see his reasons for confidence, given that small spherules of cosmic origin are widely found in ocean sediments. He is quoted as believing

they either have interstellar origins, or have been made by an advanced extraterrestrial civilization.

He is also quoted as believing [note that this does not necessarily use his own words] that

the tiny objects, about half a millimetre in size, are most likely made from a steel-titanium alloy that is much stronger than the iron found in regular meteors.

His earlier report mentioned iron, magnesium and titanium in the spherules, but I suppose 'steel-titanium alloy' sounds more like the products of advanced technology!

I note that the news report does not seem to mention the so-called 'wire' discovered shortly before the 'spherules'. (See #4 above.) Perhaps Loeb is no longer confident of its extraterrestrial origins.
 
I noticed this news report on Avi Loeb's researches on the first 'interstellar' meteor. It describes his explorations in the Pacific Ocean and states that he has completed the explorations and taken the materials discovered back to Harvard for further analysis.
As also mentioned in the article, Avi Loeb reports first-hand on his blog. So I would see the primary source here:
Summary of the Successful Interstellar Expedition

Source: https://medium.com/@avi-loeb/summary-of-the-successful-interstellar-expedition-61ff4467070d


resp. here in general:
https://medium.com/@avi-loeb
 
As also mentioned in the article, Avi Loeb reports first-hand on his blog.
Thanks. I didn't spot the link.

Interesting (as Loeb himself says) that the radiometric age of the supposed extra-solar system spherules (or rather the materials in them, such as uranium) is

of order the age of the universe (14 billion years)

If I understand correctly, in nature uranium is only produced in very high-energy stellar events like supernova explosions or mergers of neutron stars, so it couldn't be produced before stars themselves, at least a few hundred million years after the Big Bang. But 'of the order the age of the universe' is a rather loose phrase which could strictly include anything more than a few billions of years old. However, Loeb himself contrasts it with the age of the solar system (~5 billion years) so he must mean something older than that.

I don't know how reliable radiometric dating is for objects like cosmic spherules. In dating igneous rocks like granite, the underlying assumption is that the mineral components of the rock were formed when the rock cooled from a molten state and have stayed largely intact since then. On this assumption the date of formation of the rock can be estimated from the relative proportions of (say) uranium and lead in the rock, as uranium decays to lead at a predictable rate. This underlying assumption is not obviously valid for cosmic spherules formed when objects 'burn up' in the atmosphere.
 
Claims of 'non human origin' are laughable given that there probably isn't a scientist or metalurgist in the world who is aware of every single manufacturing technique that exists. There are probably thousands of bizarre patents locked away in draws, that only the manufacturer is aware of or would even know of as they are the only ones making a particular product. Long before claims of 'non human origin' are made, every single patent in existence needs to be reviewed...and I doubt anyone has done that.
 
As Avi Loeb has reported that some of his cosmic spherules contain a 'steel titanium alloy', I was interested to find a historical study of the use of titanium in human technology.

At first sight titanium might seem a good candidate for the 'reverse engineering' of ETI artifacts like crashed spacecraft. Titanium is an abundant material (more common than carbon in the earth's crust) with remarkable and useful chemical and physical properties. Yet little titanium was produced until the 1950s, when production suddenly and dramatically increased, and titanium came to be extensively used in military aerospace projects, following large-scale investment by the US Government. We might suspect that crashed UFOs (at Roswell or elsewhere) were found to contain large amounts of titanium, and the Government decided 'aha, we must make more use of this wonder material before the Russkies do!)

The historical study suggests a more mundane but still exciting story. Titanium turns out to be an exceptionally difficult material to extract and work with, and practical applications (other than titanium dioxide as a white pigment in paint) were long delayed. The study traces the development of titanium from its discovery by an English clergyman in 1790 to its use in modern aerospace. By 1938 the problem of extracting pure titanium had been largely solved, but there was not much interest in it until in 1940 the US Bureau of Mines got involved. It might be thought that this was a response to military needs, but according to the study 'its work was delayed by the war', so it does not seem that it was given a high priority for military reasons. Work continued after the War, and by the late 1940s the military was taking a keen interest in its potential as a strong but relatively lightweight material. It began to be hyped in the press as a 'wonder metal', but turned out to be very difficult to work with. Only great persistence, and Government funding, overcame the technical problems, and by the late 1950s it was coming into widespread use, notably in the Lockheed A-12 and its successors. The study is here:

https://www.construction-physics.com/p/the-story-of-titanium

This doesn't after all seem like a good case for reverse engineering from crashed UFOs. Much of the groundbreaking work was done by independent researchers or commercial companies before the military became involved, and before the 'flying saucer' craze began. It might still be thought that discovery of crashed vehicles containing titanium could have given research fresh impetus, since it would have shown that use of titanium is at least possible , but the onus would be on the advocates of such a theory to find more direct evidence to prove it
 
As Avi Loeb has reported that some of his cosmic spherules contain a 'steel titanium alloy', I was interested to find a historical study of the use of titanium in human technology.

At first sight titanium might seem a good candidate for the 'reverse engineering' of ETI artifacts like crashed spacecraft. Titanium is an abundant material (more common than carbon in the earth's crust) with remarkable and useful chemical and physical properties. Yet little titanium was produced until the 1950s, when production suddenly and dramatically increased, and titanium came to be extensively used in military aerospace projects, following large-scale investment by the US Government. We might suspect that crashed UFOs (at Roswell or elsewhere) were found to contain large amounts of titanium, and the Government decided 'aha, we must make more use of this wonder material before the Russkies do!)

The historical study suggests a more mundane but still exciting story. Titanium turns out to be an exceptionally difficult material to extract and work with, and practical applications (other than titanium dioxide as a white pigment in paint) were long delayed. The study traces the development of titanium from its discovery by an English clergyman in 1790 to its use in modern aerospace. By 1938 the problem of extracting pure titanium had been largely solved, but there was not much interest in it until in 1940 the US Bureau of Mines got involved. It might be thought that this was a response to military needs, but according to the study 'its work was delayed by the war', so it does not seem that it was given a high priority for military reasons. Work continued after the War, and by the late 1940s the military was taking a keen interest in its potential as a strong but relatively lightweight material. It began to be hyped in the press as a 'wonder metal', but turned out to be very difficult to work with. Only great persistence, and Government funding, overcame the technical problems, and by the late 1950s it was coming into widespread use, notably in the Lockheed A-12 and its successors. The study is here:

https://www.construction-physics.com/p/the-story-of-titanium

This doesn't after all seem like a good case for reverse engineering from crashed UFOs. Much of the groundbreaking work was done by independent researchers or commercial companies before the military became involved, and before the 'flying saucer' craze began. It might still be thought that discovery of crashed vehicles containing titanium could have given research fresh impetus, since it would have shown that use of titanium is at least possible , but the onus would be on the advocates of such a theory to find more direct evidence to prove it

Although most texts say that steel is a man made alloy, and steel titanium alloy would be even more so, given the vast array of conditions that exist out there I personally would not find it that surprising if 'man made' materials could be cooked up on some exoplanet.
 
Following up on Loeb's Globes, here is an interview with one of the guys pushing back on his claims of intergalactic origin and the likelihood that Loeb's team mange to find pieces related to a specific meteor, or possible alien prob (bold by me):

"It's been known for a century that if you take a magnetic rake and run it over the ocean floor, you will pull up extraterrestrial spherules," Peter Brown, a meteorite specialist at the University of Western Ontario in Canada, told Live Science. Such debris has accumulated worldwide on the seafloor over millions of years from meteors dropping tiny bits of molten metal as they pass overhead, Brown added. Factoring in shifting ocean currents and sedimentary movements, "it essentially would be impossible to say that this particular spherule comes from a particular event."
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Brown also recently co-authored a paper calling into question IM1's interstellar pedigree. The claim that the meteor came from outside our solar system is based on its ridiculous speed upon entering our atmosphere. However, Brown said, "particularly at higher speeds, the U.S. government sensors tend to overestimate speeds." A lower speed would also account for the object's unusual brightness profile, which didn't match what would be expected for a metallic meteor moving at over 100,000 mph (160,000 km/h), Brown said.
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Brown doesn't say any of it is impossible, just not likely:

Of course, this doesn't mean the meteorite isn't from another star system — just that it doesn't have to be. To date, there have been no confirmed interstellar meteorite impacts on Earth, though Brown himself has spent 20 years searching for one.

As for the possibility that this is evidence of extraterrestrial technology, most of the scientific community is skeptical. "That would be an extremely cool result," Brown said. "But I don't see any evidence that would necessarily back you into such an extreme hypothesis."
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EDIT: Forgot my source.
https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/tech...&cvid=7f015103409343be8188e77745658104&ei=129
 
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Readers may like to note that Avi Loeb's expedition is causing an international (not interstellar) incident. Allegedly the materials in question were recovered from waters in the jurisdiction of Papua New Guinea. The Government of PNG say that permission should have been sought for the expedition and for removal of material ('rare objects') from the sea floor. The row may even scupper a recent defense deal between PNG and the USA. Some are saying that Loeb's team should face criminal charges.

I base this on a paywalled article in today's UK Times. A Google News search should turn up other sources.
 
A Google News search should turn up other sources.
lazy bum Thanks for the heads up!
Article:
However, George Penua Polon, deputy administrator of Manus Province, has now come out and demanded answers as to why and how the fragments were removed.
"We've been cheated," he told the Sunday Times. "They came here, no one knew about it and now they've gone. What have they found? Does it have value? Do we have rights over it? If it's scientific research, how are our scientific institutions going to benefit?"

Rob McCallum, an experienced ocean explorer, claimed that Loeb's team had applied for a marine science research permit. However, he said that this doesn't cover objects from space.
"This is a unique project," he said. "It aims to locate, retrieve and study material that literally fell from the sky. Current permitting procedures focus on the extraction of existing biological or geological material, which this is not. This research recovered grains of sand that are from outside of the area/PNG/Earth and have no known economic or commercial value."

A senior official from the immigration department claimed that there may be a legal question to answer for prof Loeb and his tea with regards to how they retrieved the IM1 fragment.
They told the outlet: "It may be illegal, hence, those scientists can be charged criminally."

Speaking to UNILAD, prof Loeb said: "We have been engaged with PNG for eight months and have an agreement with the University of Technology (PNG) to study and share the results of this unique astrophysical project. We look forward to continuing to work with the relevant PNG authorities as they may so determine."


I'm pretty sure that meteorites are "geological material", and the fact that they didn't originate where they ended up is true for a large amount of geology.

Note that McCallum states that the team had applied for a permit, not that they had received one.
 
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From Mendels article above:

This research recovered grains of sand that are from outside of the area/PNG/Earth and have no known economic or commercial value."
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"No known economic or commercial value", that is until they can reverse engineer an anti-gravity drive out of these parts from an alien probe. ;)
 
"No known economic or commercial value", that is until they can reverse engineer an anti-gravity drive out of these parts from an alien probe. ;)
I'd say, until someone puts them up on ebay. "Genuine exterrestrial material retrieved from the seafloor", a unique item like that should fetch a pretty penny.

It's kinda taking magnet fishing (-> youtube) to the next level.
 
Quoting Avi Loeb:

“There are about 850 spoken languages in Papua, the most linguistically diverse place on Earth,” Prof Loeb wrote on Medium. “Yet, if the expedition recovers a gadget with an extraterrestrial inscription, we will add a new language to this site.”
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"Why a Harvard professor thinks he may have found fragments of an alien spacecraft", Bevan Hurley, The Independent, 05 July 2023
https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/avi-loeb-interstellar-object-aliens-b2369534.html,
my emphasis.
Link originally posted by DavidB66 here
I noticed this news report on Avi Loeb's researches on the first 'interstellar' meteor.

Enthusiasm and optimism can be wonderful, and there's no reason for scientists to conform to some stereotype of an emotionally cool, straight-laced model of reserve.
But I think Avi Loeb is starting to blur the line between optimism for his originally-stated goal (recovering parts of a meteorite which might be of interstellar origin) and support for unlikely fringe theories with little scientific basis.

There is no real reason to connect the possible finding of meteoritic fragments of possible interstellar origin with an increased chance of finding alien artefacts.

Following up on Loeb's Globes...

"It's been known for a century that if you take a magnetic rake and run it over the ocean floor, you will pull up extraterrestrial spherules," Peter Brown, a meteorite specialist at the University of Western Ontario in Canada, told Live Science. , "it essentially would be impossible to say that this particular spherule comes from a particular event."

My (perhaps cynical) suspicion is that any materials found with "interesting" characteristics (e.g. relatively high titanium content) will be described as having been part of an "interstellar object", but more conventional materials won't be.
If this is so, we could have an interstellar object built to order- and an (admittedly slim) opportunity to study the real composition of a meteorite possibly of interstellar origin will be lost, a loss to science.

A loss to science driven by a deliberate selection bias. Maybe we already see evidence of this in Loeb's interest in the piece of wire that was retrieved; if you find a piece of wire on the seabed- wherever you find it- the default theory must be that it's a piece of wire with terrestrial origins.

Incidentally, high-titanium content spherules of debated origin are already known,
YDB spherules with diameter <50 μm averaged 5.0 wt% TiO2, or 35× higher, and 26 of those had average TiO2 of 41 wt% (range: 12–70 wt%),
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(my emphasis),
from "Evidence for deposition of 10 million tonnes of impact spherules across four continents 12,800 y ago", Wittke, J.H. et al., 2013 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
https://www.researchgate.net/public..._spherules_across_four_continents_12800_y_ago
(PDF attached below).

The authors studied spherules from widespread locations and conclude that they originated from a Younger Dryas impact event.
The possibility of such an event, with global consequences, is much contested and not widely accepted.
Whatever the accuracy of their conclusions, the author's descriptions of spherules with a wide range of size, chemical composition and colours demonstrates that spherules perhaps similar to those described by Avi Loeb are already known.

A number of different origins are listed (clearly some are not likely explanations for Loeb's spherules),

It is widely accepted that spherules form during cosmic impacts, and spherules also form as ablation products from the influx of meteorites and cosmic dust. However, not all terrestrial spherules are cosmic in origin...spherules and glass can be produced by continental volcanism, hydro volcanism, metamorphism, lightning strikes, and coal seam fires. In addition, detrital magnetite and quartz grains are frequently rounded from wind and water action and may appear spherulitic, as can authigenic framboids, all of which are common in sediments. Spherules... can also be produced anthropogenically, especially by coal-fired powerplants and smelters... numerous spherules... have been produced in atomic explosions
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(Edited for brevity, citation numbers removed; original text viewable on link or in attached PDF).
The authors do not discuss the destruction of an alien spacecraft as a possible origin of titanium-rich spherules.
 

Attachments

  • Spherules PNAS 2013 Wittke.pdf
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In a detailed critique, scientists Steve Desh (Arizona State University) and Alan Jackson (Towson University) now thoroughly dissect Avi Loeb's thesis discussed above. The criticism is devastating: it was not even an interstellar object.
I am not in a position to judge this technically, but can only take note of it.

Abstract
Recently a manuscript by Loeb et al. was uploaded to arXiv1 (preprint 2308.15623) thatasserted that the CNEOS bolide 2014-01-08 was interstellar; that spherules recovered from theseafloor near the airburst were associated with this bolide; that they had Fe isotopic ratiosindicating origin as micrometeorites; that they had unusual chemical compositions enriched inBe, La and U, never seen before in micrometeorite spherules; that these compositions wereformed in the magma ocean stage of a differentiated extrasolar planet; and that the Beabundance reflected passage through the interstellar medium. Despite not being peerreviewed, this uploaded manuscript has been reported by media outlets as “published”, and itsconclusions have been widely distributed as fact. The purpose of this manuscript is to providepotential peer reviewers and the general public with an appreciation of the multiple fatal flawswith the manuscript’s arguments. We discuss the published evidence that the 2014-01-08bolide is not interstellar. We show that there is no statistical spatial correlation of a chemicalsignature or even number of recovered spherules with the 2014-01-08 bolide. We demonstratethat the Fe isotopic ratios decisively indicate an origin in our Solar System, with > 99.995%probability. We demonstrate that the unusual enrichments in La, U, etc., have in fact beenobserved in micrometeorites before and attributed to terrestrial contamination; and that theBe abundances are similarly consistent with those of ferromanganese nodules, after reactingwith sea water. Far from being exotic particles from an extrasolar planet, the spherulescollected and analyzed by Loeb et al. appear to be just like those found around the world, witha Solar System origin and compositions modified by tens of thousands of years residence at theocean bottom.
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XIII. Conclusions
Loeb et al. claim the spherules they found are “likely” to be interstellar in origin. They advancedarguments to this effect, but upon slight scrutiny, all of their arguments fall apart. There is noevidence for interstellar materials. The 2014-01-08 probably wasn’t interstellar. If it were, itwould have completely vaporized. Even if ablation spherules were produced, these would havebeen few and spread out, and vastly outnumbered by background spherules. There is noevidence that spherules overall, or “BeLaU” spherules, were concentrated anywhere, let alonethe path of the bolide, which is very poorly known. The “BeLaU” triple spherule S21 most likelyformed in an impact plume tens of thousands of years ago, and not in a fireball like the 2014-01-08 bolide. The “BeLaU” pattern is seen in other cosmic spherules in the Indian Ocean andAntarctica and is attributed to terrestrial contamination. The Be abundance also is attributableto terrestrial contamination, not cosmic-ray spallation. Finally, the Fe isotopes are moreconsistent with terrestrial contamination than vaporization during entry, and are a smoking gunfor a Solar System origin for all their spherules. Not a single one of their arguments holds water.The reason their arguments fall apart so easily is because they did not follow the scientificmethod. They made associations between their data and their favored hypothesis (interstellarorigin), but at no point did they consider any competing alternative hypothesis and ask whetherthe data are better explained by that model. It’s a textbook example of confirmation bias.The simplest competing hypothesis is this: the spherules they collected are part of thecopious background of cosmic spherules deposited on the seafloor over the world.During the tens of thousands of years spherules spend on the seafloor before being buried bysediments, they may chemically react with the sea water and the sediments. This alternativehypothesis could have been tested by sampling the sediments along with the spherules, or bycollecting a large and statistically meaningful number of spherules from regions far from thebolide’s path. Because they didn’t consider alternative hypotheses, Loeb et al. did not properlydesign their experiment to avoid inconclusive results.On January 31, 2021, Loeb is quoted by The Guardian17 as saying: “If someone comes to me andsays, ‘For these scientific reasons, I have a scenario that makes much more sense than yours,’then I’d rip that paper up and accept it,” he says. “But most of the people who attacked, theyhadn’t even looked at my paper, or read the issues, or referred to the items we discussed…”We have read and considered the manuscript they uploaded to arXiv, and we have a scenariothat makes much more sense than theirs. Will they now metaphorically rip up their paper?
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Source: https://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/2311/2311.07699.pdf
 
In a detailed critique, scientists Steve Desh (Arizona State University) and Alan Jackson (Towson University) now thoroughly dissect Avi Loeb's thesis discussed above. The criticism is devastating: it was not even an interstellar object.
I am not in a position to judge this technically, but can only take note of it.
...
Source: https://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/2311/2311.07699.pdf
To claim an interstellar origin for the spherules they collected, all the links in the chain of logic
above would have to withstand scrutiny.

In fact, not a single link above withstands scrutiny.
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Brutal! Thanks for posting that, it was an interesting read. The authors do appear to be actual experts in the field:
Steve Desch is a professor of astrophysics in the School of Earth and Space Exploration at ASU. His research focuses on developing models of star and planet formation, using data from meteoritics and planetary science. He especially studies the origins of chondrules and meteorites.
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-- https://search.asu.edu/profile/641337

Alan Jackson

I am an astronomer and planetary scientist. Underlying my work is a deep curiosity about how planets, and the systems they reside in, form and evolve. This is a very broad theme, and my work reflects this diversity, spanning the divide between astronomy and planetary science. The breadth of this topic also means that it touches on many different fields of expertise, and so I work closely with a wide range of other researchers. I typically approach questions from a theoretical perspective, whilst always endeavouring to link back to observational or experimental data.

I am an Assistant Professor in the Department of Physics, Astronomy and Geosciences at Towson University.
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-- https://www.alanjacksonastronomy.com/

The paper's not the most professionally written one, it seems a bit of a hatchet job - which got me wondering if there might be bad blood between the two pairs of authors - they do seem to have crossed paths historically, e.g.:
Matters Arising on "Breakup of a long-period comet as the origin of the dinosaur extinction" by Siraj & Loeb
Steven J. Desch, Alan P. Jackson, Jessica Noviello, Ariel Anbar
Rebuttal Submitted to Nature Scientific Reports
Abstract

The recent publication by Siraj & Loeb (2021; Nature Scientific Reports 11, 3803) attempts to revive the debate over whether the Chicxulub impactor was a comet or an asteroid. They calculate that ~20% of long-period comets impacting Earth will have first been disrupted by passage inside the Sun's Roche limit, generating thousands of fragments, each the needed size of the Chicxulub impactor. This would increase the impact rate of comets by a factor ~15, making them as likely to hit the Earth as an asteroid. They also argue that a comet would be a factor of 10 more likely to match the geochemical constraints, which indicate the Chicxulub impactor was carbonaceous chondrite-like. These conclusions are based on misinterpretations of the literature. Siraj & Loeb overestimate the number of fragments produced during tidal disruption of a comet: tens of fragments are produced, not thousands. They also conflate 'carbonaceous chondrite' with specific types of carbonaceous chondrite, and ignore the evidence of iridium, making comets seem more likely than asteroids to match the Chicxulub impactor, when in fact they likely can be ruled out. Rather than a comet, an asteroidal impactor similar to CM or CR carbonaceous chondrites is strongly favored.

DOI: 10.48550/arXiv.2106.01533
Content from External Source
-- https://ui.adsabs.harvard.edu/link_gateway/2021arXiv210601533D/doi:10.48550/arXiv.2106.01533
via: https://www.alanjacksonastronomy.com/publications.html
Plenty of other Oumuamua papers in that list, so it seems likely that at least Jackson has clashed with Avi several times.

I'm kinda perturbed by the arrogance of Avi's (very frequent it appears, scroll down the page for his publication record) co-author:
Princeton University

PhD in Astrophysics, 2028 (expected)
Content from External Source
-- https://siraj.scholar.princeton.edu/
 

Indeed! From the conclusion above (bold by me):

Not a single one of their arguments holds water. The reason their arguments fall apart so easily is because they did not follow the scientific method. They made associations between their data and their favored hypothesis (interstellar origin), but at no point did they consider any competing alternative hypothesis and ask whether the data are better explained by that model. It’s a textbook example of confirmation bias.
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The paper's not the most professionally written one, it seems a bit of a hatchet job - which got me wondering if there might be bad blood between the two pairs of authors - they do seem to have crossed paths historically, e.g.:

Possible bad blood, or maybe a bit of professional reprimand. Loeb is all over the media with his views on aliens and he seemed to make no secret of the idea that he thought the bolide in question was very likely, at least an interstellar "something" and maybe an alien prob. He started by finding a piece of "anomalous" wire while dragging the seafloor in a spot he already said had been impacted by an interstellar object:

After our first run through the site of the first recognized interstellar meteor, IM1, we found plenty of volcanic dust on our magnetic sled, containing tiny particles less than a tenth of a millimeter in size. I was able to remove them from the sled magnets with a painter’s brush.
Content from External Source

Source: https://avi-loeb.medium.com/an-anomalous-wire-made-of-manganese-and-platinum-in-the-pacific-ocean-site-of-the-first-3ccb7076dfc0


Before recovering anything, Loeb had decided this was the impact site of interstellar origin. And he when he found the wire, he was already hinting that it could be alien:

By then, I hope to know whether the first recognized interstellar object from our cosmic neighborhood, IM1, carried materials that are anomalous relative to what we find in our backyard around the Sun. And most importantly, I wish to know whether it was manufactured technologically by another civilization.
Content from External Source
Interesting bit of incestuousness, the CEO of the company that made the equipment the wire was tested on also co-founded the Galileo Project with Loeb:

For the composition analysis, Ryan used the X-ray fluorescence analyzer, manufactured by Bruker — whose CEO, Frank Laukien, co-founded with me the Galileo Project.
Content from External Source
Maby Desh and Jackson had enough of Loeb's claims out in the media and his "science by blog" pre-peer reviewed conclusions being touted. But as you said, brutal.

EDIT: corrected the names.
 
Indeed! From the conclusion above (bold by me):
I'd only read about half of it when I posted the above - it gets even better! The very final paragraphs:

On January 31, 2021, Loeb is quoted by The Guardian17 as saying: “If someone comes to me and
says, ‘For these scientific reasons, I have a scenario that makes much more sense than yours,’
then I’d rip that paper up and accept it,” he says. “But most of the people who attacked, they
hadn’t even looked at my paper, or read the issues, or referred to the items we discussed...”

We have read and considered the manuscript they uploaded to arXiv, and we have a scenario
that makes much more sense than theirs. Will they now metaphorically rip up their paper?
Content from External Source
 
I'm kinda perturbed by the arrogance of Avi's (very frequent it appears, scroll down the page for his publication record) co-author:
Princeton University

PhD in Astrophysics, 2028 (expected)

We could all benefit from following Loeb et al.'s guidance on resume/ CV writing; I'm applying it already:

Highest ever pass for quantum physics PhD, Oxford 2027 after 6 month's study (planned)
Nobel Peace Prize winner, 2028 (eagerly anticipated)
Confirmed by DNA analysis as member of UK Royal Family, grandson of Queen Elizabeth II, 2029 (not entirely impossible)
 
We could all benefit from following Loeb et al.'s guidance on resume/ CV writing; I'm applying it already:

Highest ever pass for quantum physics PhD, Oxford 2027 after 6 month's study (planned)
Nobel Peace Prize winner, 2028 (eagerly anticipated)
Confirmed by DNA analysis as member of UK Royal Family, grandson of Queen Elizabeth II, 2029 (not entirely impossible)
Wishful thinking—it's not just for UFOs and aliens!
 
I'm kinda perturbed by the arrogance of Avi's (very frequent it appears, scroll down the page for his publication record) co-author:
We could all benefit from following Loeb et al.'s guidance on resume/ CV writing; I'm applying it already:

Highest ever pass for quantum physics PhD, Oxford 2027 after 6 month's study (planned)
Nobel Peace Prize winner, 2028 (eagerly anticipated)
Confirmed by DNA analysis as member of UK Royal Family, grandson of Queen Elizabeth II, 2029 (not entirely impossible)

Having a student as co-author isn't that unusual. My son and his wife were lead and co-authors on a number of papers while still grad students. The earlier ones were on projects started by their primary advisors, then latter papers were related to their own research and became part of their dissertations.

The PhD (2018 expected) thing is from his CV of sorts where it's not uncommon I'm told. And Good Lord what a CV! I always knew I was a dumbass, but this kid really makes me feel like a massive underachiever.
 
Having a student as co-author isn't that unusual. My son and his wife were lead and co-authors on a number of papers while still grad students. The earlier ones were on projects started by their primary advisors, then latter papers were related to their own research and became part of their dissertations.
...The PhD (2018 expected) thing is from his CV of sorts where it's not uncommon...
All good and accurate points.

But I think "PhD in Astrophysics, 2028 (expected)" is really pushing it. Presumably much work towards it has yet to be done.
There are a lot of current students who haven't even decided to study for a PhD yet who will get their doctorate before 2028.
Of course, this doesn't detract from the work and qualifications that Amir Siraj has achieved.
 
But I think "PhD in Astrophysics, 2028 (expected)" is really pushing it. Presumably much work towards it has yet to be done.
There are a lot of current students who haven't even decided to study for a PhD yet who will get their doctorate before 2028.

Not necessarily. A PhD can take 4-6 years depending on the subject, how much teaching one is expected to due while working on it and the nature of the needed research. My son "had" to go to Portugal for several summers and deal with the bureaucracy, while his wife would go to Thailand for her research. With those challenges it would have been 6 years or so from BA to completed PhD without COVID. The COVID years were somewhat of a waste as they just stalled out doing some remote teaching and writing.

My younger son is in his third year of a PhD program in PharmaChem and just got funded for 3 more years, so again 6 years and he doesn't go abroad for any of his research. He was expected to teach for 2 years, then 3-4 years just doing research.
 
Highest ever pass for quantum physics PhD, Oxford 2027 after 6 month's study (planned)

Ha! I can honestly say that I was the highest graded Trinity mathmo for about 2 decades. Alas, it was Trinity Oxford, not the good one. (And a guy in the year below me bulldozered over that record.) However, I was only 16 years of age when I opened that acceptance letter - I still remember, my dad delivered that letter to me when I was in the bath.
 
Ha! I can honestly say that I was the highest graded Trinity mathmo for about 2 decades. Alas, it was Trinity Oxford, not the good one. (And a guy in the year below me bulldozered over that record.) However, I was only 16 years of age when I opened that acceptance letter - I still remember, my dad delivered that letter to me when I was in the bath.

I still think you're a freaking genius Phill! Of course, I struggle with long division. Hell, I struggle with most math, thank God for calculators. As a contractor, I even have one that figures in our archaic feet and inches.
 
Similarly not in a place to judge, but Avi Loeb has responded:

New Knowledge Must Be Learned, Not Preached​

Avi Loeb

Avi Loeb


After publishing a book arguing that the Sun is at the center of the solar system, Galileo Galilei faced a trial on suspicions of heresy, as depicted by this 1847 painting by Joseph-Nicolas Robert-Fleury.
We live in an unfortunate time when the social media megaphone is in the hands of unreliable people with agendas. Doing the hard work of science is ridiculed by lazy critics who have an opinion.

Lately, some of these commentators promoted the claim that the spherules we collected in an expedition to the Pacific Ocean and analyzed carefully with the best instruments in the world over the past five months, are coal ash. This claim is based on unrefereed comments that superficially examined a few elements out of the dozens we analyzed. To be scientifically credible, any such claim must reproduce the measured abundances of all elements and, in particular, demonstrate the loss of volatile elements — as derived in our paper. Our team member, Dr. Jim Lem, head of the Department of Mining Engineering at the University of Technology in Papua New Guinea, noted: “The region where the expedition was carried, should have no coal mineralization. In addition, coal is non-magnetic and cannot be picked up by the magnetic sled that was used.” Indeed, our “BeLaU”-type spherules have a much higher iron abundance than coal ash. Case closed.

Our research teams at the Bruker Corporation in Germany and at Harvard University in the US are currently analyzing the remaining 93% of our full sample of nearly 800 spherules. We will report the complete results once available in the coming months. The fact that vocal critics reach definitive conclusions about the nature of these spherules without having access to them, demonstrates how unprofessional their conduct is.

Misinformation can be spread by individuals who do not respect the hard work involved in the analysis of materials before expressing a verdict on their nature. The only way to find the true scientific interpretation is through a rigorous experimental study of the spherules.

The critics include bloggers and science popularizers who pretend to defend science but are not engaged in the work of science. Some commentators label themselves astrophysicists even though they dropped out of academia long ago and did not publish a single scientific paper over the past decade. When I pointed out that such people resemble spectators who tell soccer players how to pass the ball, one of them chose to describe himself as “Some blogger who doesn’t even write a single paper in a decade.” on his twitter handle, demonstrating how proud he is of his incompetence.

Let me make one thing clear. Those who view incompetence as a feather in their cap, will not succeed in terrorizing real scientists.

George Orwell forecasted this unfortunate reality forty years too early. In his book “1984” he mentioned the Party’s slogan: “Ignorance is strength.” Similar to the Orwellian dystopia, the words of the above commentators who pretend to protect science, violate the very principles they claim to represent.

The tedious work of collecting materials and analyzing them requires a considerable effort. For our research team, it required months of preparation for the Pacific Ocean expedition, weeks of collecting materials from the mile-deep ocean floor across a seven-mile region plus control regions, and months of detailed analysis of these materials, all in partnership with the best professionals in the world. In contrast, critics have the easy option of throwing dust in the air and claiming that they do not see anything.

Of course, critics suppressed progress throughout history. In fact, circumstances were even more unsettling in ancient times before modern science emerged. However, the present-day situation is frustrating in a different way. Loud voices on social media and blog posts claim to represent science without following the practice of science. What makes this experience surrealistic is that virtual realities like extra-dimensions, the multiverse, or the notion that we live in a simulation are not scrutinized at all, even though these ideas are — in the words of Wolfgang Pauli — “not even wrong”, because they have no evidence whatsoever to support or contradict them.

Humanity is unlikely to find new knowledge about the cosmic neighborhood beyond the solar system without open-minded empirical exploration. The proper perspective on whether we have cosmic neighbors will be learned through experimental work of the type that the Galileo Project team is pursuing.

Commentators are often forgotten. Who remembers the names of the individuals who convicted Socrates for corrupting the youth of Athens? Who remembers the names of the antagonists of Galileo Galilei?


Whether our civilization survives in the long run will depend on its willingness to learn from evidence rather than from preconceived opinions. Nature is more imaginative than we are. Our horizons will expand only by studying nature in the real world rather than insisting on the way we imagine nature in our minds.

Source: https://avi-loeb.medium.com/new-knowledge-must-be-learned-not-preached-ffb287585377
 

We have read and considered the manuscript they uploaded to arXiv, and we have a scenario
that makes much more sense than theirs. Will they now metaphorically rip up their paper?
Content from External Source
So that's a "no."
 

Paraphrased: "We put in effort and hard work, therefore we're right, and can ignore the criticism that we didn't consider alternate scenarios nor gather control samples." Goes on to defend their unpublished paper by dissing the critics for not publishing papers. (Both Desch and Jackson have recent published papers, says Google Scholar.)

P.S. Writing "Of course, critics suppressed progress throughout history" after citing Galileo strikes me as somewhat less than insightful (Galileo was a critic). I really don't think that statement is valid.
 
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I'm just perplexed at what Loeb writes here.
Article:
Of course, critics suppressed progress throughout history. In fact, circumstances were even more unsettling in ancient times before modern science emerged. However, the present-day situation is frustrating in a different way. Loud voices on social media and blog posts claim to represent science without following the practice of science. What makes this experience surrealistic is that virtual realities like extra-dimensions, the multiverse, or the notion that we live in a simulation are not scrutinized at all, even though these ideas are — in the words of Wolfgang Pauli — “not even wrong”, because they have no evidence whatsoever to support or contradict them.

Humanity is unlikely to find new knowledge about the cosmic neighborhood beyond the solar system without open-minded empirical exploration. The proper perspective on whether we have cosmic neighbors will be learned through experimental work of the type that the Galileo Project team is pursuing.

Commentators are often forgotten. Who remembers the names of the individuals who convicted Socrates for corrupting the youth of Athens? Who remembers the names of the antagonists of Galileo Galilei?

Loeb complains that ideas that have no evidence to support them are not scrutinized. For one, there's not a lot to scrutinize without evidence. For another, the theory of relativity had no evidence to support it at first.

Loeb speaks out against critics who "did not publish a single scientific paper over the past decade", but cites Socrates in his favor. From his link:
Article:
The philosopher Socrates remains, as he was in his lifetime (469–399 B.C.E.),[1] an enigma, an inscrutable individual who, despite having written nothing, is considered one of the handful of philosophers who forever changed how philosophy itself was to be conceived.

Socrates’s lifework consisted in the examination of people’s lives, his own and others’, because “the unexamined life is not worth living for a human being,” as he says at his trial (Plato, Apology 38a). Socrates pursued this task single-mindedly, questioning people about what matters most, e.g., courage, love, reverence, moderation, and the state of their souls generally. He did this regardless of whether his respondents wanted to be questioned or resisted him.
In short, Socrates was a critic.

Critical thinking remains at the core of scientific progress.
 
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Looking at Loeb's record on Google Scholar, there's not a lot of recent publications that have him as the primary author. There's "Overview of the Galileo Project", of course.

Then there are two entries in "Research Notes of the American Astronomical Society", which is not peer-reviewed, on "The Horizon of Future Intergalactic Travel" and "Interstellar Objects from Broken Dyson Spheres", which strike me as highly speculative and not empirical at all.
 
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The Galileo Gambit!?! Oh, doctor.
Article:
In reality, taking up the mantle of Galileo requires not just that you are scorned by the establishment but also that you are correct[note 1] — that is, that the evidence supports your position. There is no link between being "persecuted" and actually being correct. However, the selective reporting of cases where people who were persecuted or ostracized for beliefs and ideas that later turned out to be valid has instilled a confidence in woo promoters and pseudoscientists that is difficult to shake. They forget the part where they have to prove themselves right in order to be like Galileo.
 
The Galileo Gambit!?! Oh, doctor.
In fact, I was already inclined to stop reading this article after the first sentence. And even when I cross-read it, I found so much invalid argumentation (as Mendel has pointed out, too) that I only found my image of Avi Loeb confirmed. A Harvard professor who once again leaves the level of scientific discourse in favor of populist platitudes is neither an ambassador of science nor a mediator of science. And he who primarily uses the social media megaphone himself along with other available channels seems to me to have a clearer agenda than his opponents.

Didn't he, the man who speaks from the throne of the Harvard professor, describe himself as a curious, astonished "farmboy"?
You shouldn't be too strict; personalities are allowed to be part of science and characters certainly also help to give science a face that draws people in (let's not talk about Kaku now ;-) But with the ever grinning yet whimsical Loeb, you sometimes don't know whether you're in an entertainment format after all.
 
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