Vadim Alexandrovich Chernobrov, born in 1965, is a Russian aerospace engineer, whose brilliance was recognized from a very young age. He's a fascinating, bearded (but not mustachioed) fellow, and he has dubious taste in suits. Maybe Russian intellectuals just dress that way. Let's not judge. I hear Albert Einstein didn't wear socks, and some of my professors would have given Tyra Banks heart failure, which wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing.

What people know about Chernobrov is, he has a deep interest in UFOs, meteorites, and cryptozoology. He co-founded Kosmopoisk, a Russian organization dedicated to Fringe science. Kosmopoisk's other founders include science-fiction writer Alexander Kazantsev and cosmonaut Georgy Beregovoy, both now deceased. They've examined the possibility that the Tunguska incident involved an alien spacecraft, examined numerous sightings of mysterious creatures, and publicized the tale of Alioshenka the Kyshtym Dwarf, a tiny, mysterious being said to have lived in Kaolinovy in the Urals. The whereabouts of its corpse, of course, is unknown, but photos may be found online. For what it's worth, members of Kosmopoisk who examined the creature's remains before they vanished claimed they were a deformed human fetus, so it's not like they have no skeptical sense.

Anyway, Chernobrov also once built his own space ship which he now admits didn't work very well. He also claims to have invented a time machine.

It's not, per se, the kind of machine that could take you flying back and forth through time, though that is of interest to Chernobrov, and he's expressed interest in sending parties to key historical areas. His present work involves a time machine that supposedly changes the rate at which time passes, and he's claiming he's succeeded. That would make his invention pretty cool, at least until he builds the more popular, TARDIS sort of thing. Chernobrov's original device looks like a Tandy kit designed to foster your children's interest in science. His more recent one actually resembles a prop from Doctor Who, one of the old episodes, back before it got a budget. Noteworthy journals have reported on his experiments, but his claims have not been entirely accepted by his fellow scientists and engineers. Most of them think he's loony.

And he might be.

But even if he's mad as a hatter, it doesn't automatically mean he isn't onto something.

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