Exposing PseudoAstronomy

January 7, 2016

Revising History to Try to Sound Credible

At the risk of all my blog posts of 2016 – so far – seeming to be about certain individuals … here’s another one. John Brandenburg. For those who haven’t followed my blog or don’t remember this individual, see this post for the relevant information for this post. For his “science,” see this podcast.

One of the more unique things about Dr. Brandenburg among pseudoscientists is that one of his major claims of evidence that his ideas are correct is that he claims he presents at scientific conferences, and no one challenges him. I have heard him make that claim multiple times in practically every interview I have heard him give.

As I was mapping craters on the moon last night, I was listening to Coast to Coast AM from December 29, 2015. Dr. Brandenburg was on, and during the first hour, around 26 minutes in, he claimed that he was at the premier planetary science conference in 2015 and presented his results. See first link in this blog post. In that post, I documented his attendance (he was at his poster for 15 minutes) and VERY few people came by because he showed up almost at closing time and took over a half hour to slowly set up his presentations.

On C2CAM, however, he claimed that he presented his work, “held fort,” and “no one contradicted me.” And that “finally,” a scientist asked, “did they do it themselves?” (apparently referring to Dr. Brandenburg’s thesis that Mars was nuked).

Now, it is entirely possible that someone asked Dr. Brandenburg that during the very few minutes of conversation I did not hear. However, based on my observations, I sincerely doubt anyone was serious, if it happened at all. As for having “held fort” and “no one contradicted me,” if we want to go with the analogy of holding a fort against an attack, Dr. Brandenburg’s actual attendance record was closer to a snowball fight where people build forts, no one actually attacks, and John showed up just before everyone was going inside for hot cocoa because it was cold. As for no one contradicting him, perhaps it’s because they recognized pseudoscience when they see it, and because he showed up so late, he had literally less than a dozen people pass by and look at his work.

This isn’t the first time I’ve documented revisionist history, however, so far as Dr. Brandenburg’s recollection of his attendance at LPSC; see this post and search for “Brandenburg” and you’ll see what I mean.

Why am I writing about this? Well, in the faster and leaner attempt for this blog this year (also for me personally, which is why I need to get back to the elliptical), I’m going to be writing these short posts based on things I hear while listening to various podcasts and radio shows that I use for material for this blog and podcast, anyway.

If you make a claim, it’s fair game for investigation. If your claim contradicts a documented record, it’s fair game for me to point that out. If I’ve investigated your claims before, I may preferentially choose episodes of audio files to listen to where you speak.



  1. I hear Dr Brandenburg likes a bevvy or three. As do I. For my part (even being Scottish) I would never turn up to even a poster show reeking of booze.

    Comment by Derek Eunson — January 7, 2016 @ 11:58 am | Reply

  2. Translation for my American cousin

    bevvy – to drink alcohol in a social manner
    reeking ;- disgusting or pleasant smell
    booze:- Alcoholic drink

    Comment by Gus — January 8, 2016 @ 4:50 am | Reply

  3. Here’s some more fodder for your Brandenberg: He’s on The Space Show tonight: The Space Show Webinars Can Be Seen At http://vimeo.com//channels/thespaceshow
    1. Monday, Feb. 1, 2016: 2-3:30 PM PST (5-6:30 PM EST; 4-5:30 PM CST): We welcome back DR. JOHN BRANDENBURG Mars update and his challenge for a debate.

    Comment by Gerry Williams — February 1, 2016 @ 11:53 am | Reply

  4. I believe when Branonburg claimed that no one would challenge him he was referring to his colleges who work with him. That was what I took from his statement. Reading what you wrote I got a feeling you were looking for anything to make him look like a quack! The man is a plasma physicist. He claims to have worked with NASA from the time the discovered the face in Cydonia. I listen to a two hour interview with him and I didn’t hear him studded or stammer or back track one time! A lot of what he told us came from his contact through working with NASA. There are so many thing you could check if you wanted to prove him wrong! What you came up with is pitiful! Go back and do some more home work!

    Comment by Earth Lab — July 7, 2016 @ 10:47 pm | Reply

    • Please actually see the links in the post. This post had one specific purpose. My other work at the links gets into his science claims.

      Comment by Stuart Robbins — July 8, 2016 @ 8:58 am | Reply

  5. Earth Lab obviously can’t tell the difference between a whacko and a normal person. Brandenburg may be a plasma physicist, but that doesn’t mean he is not also a whacko. It’s like whatever Trump says must be the truth, why? Because he is the president of the US.

    Comment by jj — March 30, 2017 @ 1:07 am | Reply

  6. Dr Brandenburg has a long respectable history as a physicist in private industry and academia including NASA. No accusations of anything unscientific or unprofessional; until he pointed out several unexplained phenomena on mars fits two ancient aerial nuclear blasts. Nothing unscientific or unprofessional yet. Yet from that solid evidence and hypothesis (he continues to say “hypothesis”) he stretches his credibility into wild speculation about alien history on Mars (and rightfully so, his credibility suffers). Thing is, everything he says can be proven false, _if_ it is in fact false. All alternative hypothesis fail to explain the apparent _aerial_ blasts. NASA likes the hypothesis that the blasts were natural and on the surface. Which would leave craters. Which NASA says are buried. Which is speculation. Thus NASA’s credibility also suffers. Also, saying that a nuclear blast occurred naturally, is a stretch, and _twice_. Personally i suspect they are both wrong, but i’m not a scientist and have no additional evidence.

    Also, I doubt Dr Brandenburg is prone to excessive public drinking. He’s a Pentecostal.

    Comment by c704710 — July 7, 2018 @ 12:19 am | Reply

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