If you were anywhere near social media at the start of August, you’ll have seen endless claims of a massive, world-changing breakthrough in physics: the LK-99 room-temperature superconductor.
In this episode, Tom and Stuart—neither of them anything approaching a physicist, so caveat emptor—discuss what a superconductor is, why it would be exciting (or not) for it to work at room temperature, and ask why people online got so excited over claims that one had been discovered… when it actually hadn’t.
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Video of the Meissner effect - the eerie levitation of superconducting materials
The initial LK-99 preprint on arXiv
Stuart’s article from the day LK-99 went viral
Statistical model that many thought proved LK-99 really was a room-temperature superconductor
Article in Nature News explaining why the LK-99 material might’ve seemed to have superconducting properties
Story on the retractions of work by another room-temperature superconductor researcher
Article on the Fleischmann & Pons “cold fusion” debacle
Story of the “faster-than-light neutrino” error
Plastic Fantastic, the book about the fraudulent semiconductor studies in the early 2000s
Article on “quantum computing’s reproducibility crisis” and the Majorana particle
The Studies Show is produced by Julian Mayers at Yada Yada Productions.