On November 15, 2023, the Center shared the news that a German structural engineering professor with expertise in demolition, Maximilian Ruppert, had recently spoken out about 9/11, and we published a portion of his November 4, 2023, interview at the Club der Klaren Worte in Munich, Germany.
Today we are pleased to provide the full interview with English subtitles along with a transcript.
In the part of the interview we did not previously release, Ruppert speaks about why he remained silent for so long and about what he calls “the beginning of the end of science” that occurred on September 11, 2001.
We recommend watching or reading the full interview with Ruppert — a vastly qualified and articulate new voice in the pursuit of 9/11 justice.
Special thanks are owed to Sandra Jelmi and Gene Laratonda for their hard work in providing the translation and video captions.
I haven’t actually spoken about it since that event, September 11, 2001 — at least not publicly. This is the first time today, and I didn’t actually plan on doing it.
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Hello, my name is Markus Langemann. I am a journalist with the Club der Klaren Worte. We organized its first forum on November 4, 2023. You can also see the lectures and discussion contributions in the media library at klubderklarenworte.de. And, for the first time in over 20 years, a German expert in structural engineering took a public stance on 9/11 during this forum.
Prof. Dr. Maximilian Ruppert speaks from his professional perspective as a structural engineer about the Twin Towers in New York and the paradigm shift in science that, for him, began with this act of terror.
If you want more people to see this video, please give it a quick comment and like. You can find more independent and non-partisan information at klubderklarenworte.de. Here is the conference recording of this interview.
Ladies and gentlemen, at least we have now kept our promise, that was less than a minute. And now we have a very good reason to invite Prof. Ruppert to the stage.
Dr. Maximilian Ruppert. Let’s sit down now, please. Ladies and gentlemen, perhaps just briefly explain your biography. Maximilian Ruppert is an expert in the field of structural engineering and physics.
And, of course, he also has extensive experience in the analysis of building structures and especially his expertise in the physics of explosions. Let’s discuss this very briefly to begin this conversation.
I promise that I am not being disrespectful toward the interviewee or the subject matter. We know each other personally, and I will be using the informal “you,” as we’ve known each other for about a year.
We don’t know each other particularly well, but we both live in the same area of Munich. And we agreed that it would be silly to pretend. We’d rather leave that to other forums and media. And that’s why we treat each other the way we do; that’s why we’re using the informal “you.” It’s nice that you’re here, Maximilian.
Yes, thank you.
Maximilian, we chose the title for this short interview sequence: “9/11, The Beginning of the End of Science.” But perhaps you would first like to say something about your area of expertise in Ingolstadt. What is your profession exactly?
Yes, if you google me, you will find me, among other things, as a professor at the Technical University of Ingolstadt. And the title for me is Fundamentals of Engineering. And these are actually exactly my subjects: statics, mechanics, and strength of materials. But also, let me say, assessments of technical risk from an engineering perspective. Those are my subjects. Add to that innovation methods. That rounds the whole thing off a bit.
You were a young man back then when the event of 9/11 happened. And we had talked about it at a private event. That did something to you. That was exactly your core area back then — namely, explosions and structural analysis. And I would ask you to describe what you experienced back then, what you felt, and maybe just describe it a little bit.
Yes, first perhaps also the history — how it actually came about that we’re talking here now. Markus, who inspired me a bit, to be honest, convinced me to talk about 9/11 here. I haven’t actually spoken about it since September 11, 2001, at least not publicly. This is actually the first time today. And I hadn’t actually planned on it, but, as you rightly say, we talked about it at this private event. And then after a while you asked me to talk about it at your event. I was torn and not 100% convinced yet. But maybe it will flow now, as it did back then at the event. At that time, I couldn’t stop talking, and now we have an audience.
Maybe I’ll just tell you why I’m qualified to assess the situation. So, I’ll dig into that a little bit now. As a little boy, I always liked handling explosives — not entirely legally. My father supported me.
At one point I removed a piece of the garden and created a half-meter-deep crater. I wasn’t scolded. But I felt bad for my father. My mother didn’t speak to him for three days because he liked getting the stuff at the pharmacy, always by the gram. You could still do that back then. That’s no longer possible today.
All my life — in fact, already as a child — I was fascinated by the topic of demolitions. And so, when I turned 18, I attended the Technische Hilfswerk (THW) and passed their courses in demolitions and was finally allowed to do it legally — chimneys, trees, and so on.
I really know how to do this in practice. How to do a shearing demolition, for example. How to destroy train tracks to derail the train. We really learned how to do such things at the THW.
You should know, the Technische Hilfswerk has a historical background, of course, so back then they had to include such things into their portfolio. And these were my first, well, structural/practical calculations. Then I studied civil engineering at the TU Munich and went straight to the Bundeswehr University and spent four-and-a-half years on my thesis on the effects of impact and explosions on buildings.
And then in September of 2000, one year before 9/11 — actually, pretty much to the day — I defended my thesis on this topic and was, I have to say in all modesty, one of the few people who ended up creating a standard to calculate such things.
And now, to answer your actual question: Exactly one year later, I was still employed at the chair of Baustatik und Numerische Methoden [“structural analysis and numerical methods”]. We organized a little party because a dear colleague of mine acquired his PhD title, having finished his thesis one year after me. It was on this day, September 11th, that we had a really great party, as we should have.
I mean, you spend all this time researching, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and your topic is always in your head, for years, and you are fully invested. And so, we celebrated with my dear colleague. Then the celebration was suddenly over, and big monitors were rolled in. I remember it as if it were yesterday, even if it was so long ago. The party was over and then . . . Military personnel were also present. Anyone of importance was there.
Americans were not present. Normally they are always there when there is a party, and this was actually the reason why a higher-ranking officer said: “Look what happened there! The Americans are bringing down these towers and didn’t even bother to tell us! The audacity! Well, when there is a demolition on our side” — I’m now quoting him — “then they always come over to drink and guzzle, and now we can’t join them.”
This was the spontaneous reaction within the first seconds, after seeing the images. But then silence overcame us, because we realized that people had been harmed, and this took our breath away in the truest sense of the word.
So, could this small group of professionals see these images and truly instantly evaluate them? I mean, this sounds absurd. Who can instantly evaluate? But you did already elaborate on how long you have worked on these topics.
All of us in that room did research these topics. This was a small community in the German-speaking area [of Europe]. There was also one in Israel with whom we were in close contact, and one in the USA, and [one] in the Far East as well, and that was it. So, everybody knew everybody.
And on that day, the German community — Berlin, Freiburg im Breisgau, Munich Bundeswehr University — they were all present. And we basically knew instantly, for buildings to come down that way, it can only be a planned procedure.
We also felt — wow, respect! This is a really clean job! This is quite a feat! This is not easy! You have to think about it this like — well, I won’t hold a structural engineering class right now, don’t worry — but to come up with the structural calculations to erect such a building — especially one of these dimensions — requires maybe one-hundredth of the effort and also of the technical expertise compared to what it takes to bring down such a building in this particular manner. You can always knock it down, but to do it without any great collateral damage, I mean . . .
Careful! We have to respect [the victims].
With all due respect to the people who were harmed. But normally you clear the area and then you bring it down, if you are planning it, so it comes straight down without significant collateral damage with respect to the infrastructure — and, of course, also with respect to the people.
Bringing down this type of building really means two years of the hardest work and preparation, both in terms of engineering and calculations — these days virtual, with the help of computers — as well as actual practical work on the site. Once I brought down a chimney. At the THW we were going at it with the Flex and cutting every lightning rod. The smallest disturbance could cause it [the chimney] to topple over.
My master of explosives, God rest his soul, who taught us these things at the THW, always said: “Guys, there is one mistake you should never make: announce beforehand how the chimney will fall. Instead, you should wait and say only afterwards: “This is where I wanted it to fall.” [Audience laughs.] You can see how difficult it is to bring these things down with such precision. This is really a profound art.
Was there, after the observation of this collapse . . . was there any doubt in this small circle? Could people have said: “Well, maybe it really is some other event, because . . . the planes — we all saw them.”
No, no doubts. Not one. That didn’t happen. We instantly knew. This had to have been facilitated through a planned explosion however this was accomplished. But we instantly knew: They were brought down in a controlled manner. And we had only seen the two towers. The third tower [WTC 7], this I only understood many years later.
At this point we don’t even want to discuss the event and the media coverage of it, so to speak, but we’ll just accept it as it is. We have an expert sitting here with us and he is speaking, basically without authorization, for a group of scientists. And where there was a clear question there were doubts. Was there a clear answer? No. For many years, as you said at the beginning — I just want us to be able to get a proper measure of this — you said you had never spoken about it, for good reasons.
As I said, during the earlier discussion I listened and heard from quite a few. Bernd Fleischmann, in particular, stated this very well earlier and thanked those who could afford this courage. I would also like to add to that and say that you have to be able to afford this courage. I couldn’t afford the courage to rebel back then, or I just didn’t.
I’ve been ashamed about it for years, to be honest. I actually should have rebelled.
You were 28 years old at the time?
Yes, I was 28 at the time and was working on my doctorate.
You were unattached, free, you didn’t have a family to support. You could have stood up.
That’s true, but I was actually planning on starting a family. My dear wife, who is here now, was also in the active training phase back then, in the process of starting a family. And it worked out, too. Yes, that was the situation back then.
There was already a point where I stood up and became loud. And then I realized what consequences that had. And then I became quiet for a while.
Maybe one could ask: Why did I even come here today and talk about 9/11?
As I said, I could have done it sooner, but it was so long ago. But I think there is a motivation why I’m doing this today. Because I want to create a little bit of understanding when you say “Why doesn’t science stand up?” Or at least the three percent of us, because the other 97 percent all, which is also nonsense. But where is the three percent? I can only explain it to you from my own history.
So, I was 28 at the time and was handing in my doctorate. Then it takes months. You’re shaking. Then it’s finally time where you can defend yourself, and then you get a title, beautifully decorated.
And a year later you are in a state of shock and wonder, “Have I really devoted 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for many years, to complete nonsense?” So, damn it, what I did is true. So, I know that I’m right. You are actually 100 percent clear straightaway.
It’s a surprise when you see something like that on TV with other people. Well, I still remember that week I called in Israel, in the USA, in the Near East, in the Far East too, and told one of them, “Ted, do you know these guys who appear on television talking about the collapse of the towers?” He says, “No, I don’t know them at all.” He was much older than me. He should have known these people. People were interviewed that none of us knew.
We weren’t interviewed. I wasn’t approached by any journalist, even though I had actually, you could say, created this numerical standard — one for calculating such things.
Then you doubt yourself. And then some people say something and then they become defamed. You have to see it that way, too. So, you’re quiet and at first you’re in a state of shock. And then comes the next moment.
That’s not an excuse. It’s just an explanation, where you compensate for all the drama with success somewhere else.
So it happened that I was fed up with science, I have to admit honestly. And then you go into industry. That’s where you wanted to go, anyway. I made ten times as much money.
That’s it: I made money and was successful, so I was able to distract myself really well.
And then, coupled with the first bashing — that really hurts you. I still remember that. I’ll say it directly now. My father-in-law, whom I respect very much, is an entrepreneur from whom I learned a lot. Part of my success is due to the discussions with him. I then explained it [to him], and he just said, “What you’re saying isn’t true. I saw it myself on ARD, on ZDF. That’s just airplanes. Don’t say such stupidities.”
And then you ask yourself, “Well, if he can say this — even though he really likes and appreciates me and there is such mutual respect and also admiration on his part for me getting a doctorate at such a young age — when someone like that says straight-up that I should keep my mouth shut, even if he means it lovingly, then what happens if I say it out loud and people don’t react so kindly?”
So that’s a situation in which you as a young person feel overwhelmed. And today, quite frankly — and this was also expressed earlier — today I honestly don’t care about it. So with everything secured, what can they do now? Defame me as a conspiracy theorist? That doesn’t bother me anymore. Today I can do it.
In this context, let us perhaps speak again of the infamous word “evidence” in science.
Yes, just like the title says, this is the beginning of the end of evidence-based science — i.e., natural science or engineering. That’s what I tell myself. It’s all based on empirical science. So I need numbers, data, facts, which I collect diligently.
If you look at the root of the word empiria, from the Old Greek, then it is already the internalized wealth of experience. That is how it is defined. And now maybe what you meant earlier, I just have a clear question with a clear yes or no answer in this case.
You can believe me, but you don’t have to believe me, either. I don’t claim today that what I say will be accepted. But let’s be honest. Every one of you is, to a certain extent, a scientist. Yes, all of us. We do nothing other than observe things.
There are cases where demolitions took place, where it was done professionally in order to bring down such a building. There are hundreds of documented examples. That is evidence-based, I would say. That is your own observation.
There are also hundreds of examples where buildings are destroyed by fires, even large fires. And what they look like afterwards is shown in the pictures and the material — moving images or simply photographs — and that is also captured.
So, we all know, through our own observation, what is what — and can respect it that way. You don’t need me as an engineer. Thank God you don’t have to read my 350-page dissertation! That’s totally boring, anyway, just formulas and stuff. Leave it alone. Save yourself the time.
If you want to know exactly how to calculate something like that, okay, there are also updates. It was so long ago — over 20 years. But you don’t need any of that. If we just say, “When will the whole topic come to an end?” — i.e., when will we talk about the end of science as I now understand it or as I define it — then it is nothing other than making this observation myself and giving myself the time to internalize it. That is empiria.
If I rely on it and then completely replace it with the stories of others, then for me science is at the end. And on that day, on the 11th of September 2001, this story no longer agreed with my observation, the observation of all my colleagues — not in the slightest.
When my colleagues started saying, “Yes, but it could be like that after all,” I dropped out. I can’t hear that now, guys. And the others who didn’t go through with that also left the apprenticeship or went into industry — distracted themselves, made money, maybe even lining one’s pockets, one or the other, though I’d say, generally speaking, made money and never brought up the topic again.
Ladies and gentlemen, this is almost a good ending point for this moment. It was important to us here to just give you this point. Perhaps it is a kind of starting point to explain the dissonance that we still feel in our society today and to ask you, Maximilian, to speak from your very personal perspective and your very personal experience.
You said earlier — and this brings us to the end here — you said earlier that at some point you lost the desire to continue doing scientific work, to be a scientist. But you can’t really give that up. You were active in business. I would like to briefly promote, so to speak, the Akademie der Denker. Take maybe just a minute to briefly explain what you are doing.
Well, I hadn’t planned that in advance, but it was already mentioned before. The longing for the freedom of science is in my heart. Out of that grew some initiatives to create free academies. One of them is the Akademie der Denker. You’re warmly invited to maybe talk to me about this later. I don’t want to say anything more about it now.
Well, maybe you’ll take that with you, ladies and gentlemen. Time for a refreshment. And I think — I’ll take a look — I think there’s a 60-minute break. Please proceed to the adjoining room. See you later.
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