Robert Scott Lazar (January 26, 1959) is an American conspiracy theorist who claims to have been hired in the late 1980s to reverse-engineer extraterrestrial technology at what he described as a secret site called “S-4”. He alleges that this subsidiary installation is located several kilometers south of the United States Air Force facility popularly known as Area 51.
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. His claims brought additional public attention to Area 51 and fueled conspiracy theories surrounding its classified activities.
Lazar has no evidence to support his core claim of alien technology. His story has 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. He 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. He claims that the said 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, where he claimed that his job interview for work at the facility was contractor EG&G and his employer was the United States Navy; EG&G stated it had no records on him.
Lazar has claimed that the propulsion of the studied vehicle ran on an antimatter reactor and 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 further 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 also said the craft was dismantled, and the reactor he studied was topped by a sphere or semi-sphere which emitted a force field capable of repulsing human flesh. He explained that the craft was split into two main levels. The reactor was positioned at the center of the upper level, with an antenna extending to the top, surrounded by three “gravity amplifiers”. These connected to “gravity emitters” on the lower level, which can rotate 180 degrees to output a “gravity beam or anti-gravity wave” and that the craft would then travel “belly first” into this distortion field.
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 1989, Lazar said the seats of the saucer he saw were approximately child-sized and that he had seen alien cadavers of a corresponding size. He also said that while walking down a hallway at S-4, he briefly glanced through a door window and saw what he interpreted as two men in lab coats facing down and talking to “something small with long arms”. Three decades later, he said he did not think he saw an alien, but speculated that he saw a doll used as reference for the size of the alleged aliens, and that a nickname used for them was “the kids”.
Lazar claims to have earned a master’s degree in physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a master’s degree in electronic technology at the California Institute of Technology; however, there are no records of Lazar attending either institution. 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.
His alleged employment as a physicist at Los Alamos Meson Physics Facility, within the Los Alamos National Laboratory, is mentioned in multiple New Mexico newspaper articles from the summer of 1982, which focus on his interest in jet-powered cars. KLAS found a Robert Lazar in a 1982 Los Alamos National Laboratory phone directory, but the laboratory repeatedly denied having any records on 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.”
Lazar’s story has drawn significant media attention, controversy, supporters, and detractors. Lazar admits that he has no evidence to support his core claim of alien technology.
In 2017, Lazar’s workplace was raided by the FBI and local police which Lazar theorizes was to recover “element 115”, a substance he says he took from a government lab. Records obtained through a freedom of information request show the raid was part of a murder investigation.
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.
Public appearances and media
Lazar and long-time friend Gene Huff ran the Desert Blast festival, an annual festival in the Nevada desert for pyrotechnics enthusiasts. The festival started in 1987, but was 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.
Lazar was featured in producer George Knapp and Jeremy Kenyon Lockyer Corbell’s documentary Bob Lazar: Area 51 & Flying Saucers and Joe Rogan’s podcast. Lazar had met and discussed his alleged works on UFOs with Navy pilot and commander David Fravor, who witnessed the USS Nimitz UFO incident in 2004.