A South Korean university has started an investigation into one of the authors of a paper claiming to have synthesized the world’s first room-temperature superconductor, after a complaint that he posted it online without the consent of its co-authors.
(Bloomberg) — A South Korean university has started an investigation into one of the authors of a paper claiming to have synthesized the world’s first room-temperature superconductor, after a complaint that he posted it online without the consent of its co-authors.
The academic article sparked a frenzy in global markets as investors speculated that such a discovery could revolutionize electronics and accelerate a shift from fossil fuels, but it has since been met with skepticism from other scientists. Influential journal Nature on Wednesday said the material, named LK-99, was not a superconductor.
The complaint said that Young-Wan Kwon, a research professor at Korea University, uploaded a pre-publication paper about the superconductor on July 22 to Cornell University’s arXiv server, according to a school official. The Korea University official asked not to be named due to the sensitivity of the matter.
The scientific community had puzzled over how the paper, which hadn’t been reviewed by expert peers, was made available online. Its co-authors, in addition to Kwon, were listed as Sukbae Lee and Ji-Hoon Kim. More intriguingly, a second paper authored by Lee and Kim in addition to four others, but did not include Kwon, was uploaded to the same site a few hours later.
Kim Hyun Tak, one of the authors of the second paper and a research professor of physics at the College of William & Mary in Virginia, told Bloomberg earlier this month that the scientists had rushed to upload their paper after learning that Kwon had shared a version without the consent of the co-authors.
Korea University’s review board normally conducts a preliminary inquiry before starting a full-scale investigation, but decided the case warranted an immediate probe, the official said, adding that a result should come in around six months. Kwon is a faculty member of the university’s Graduate School of Converging Science and Technology, according to the official.
Sunam and other Korean stocks which previously surged on speculation surrounding LK-99, plunged after the latest Nature article.
More stories like this are available on bloomberg.com
©2023 Bloomberg L.P.