Beijing Superconductor Levitation Video Author Admits Fraud, Takes it Down

Superconductor (not LK-99) used for illustration purposes
(Image credit: Shutterstock (1043319448))

There's been no slowing down in the LK-99 alleged superconductor breakthrough saga. Yet instead of it becoming clearer whether or not LK-99 is "the First Room-Temperature Ambient-Pressure Superconductor" as claimed by the original Korean Authors, we're left with more questions than answers. The original poster of one of the Billibilli videos circulating on the Internet and seemingly proving LK-99's levitation ability has come forward, and admitted his clip was a hoax

The video in question is allegedly from the University of Science and Technology in Beijing and purports to show a small black substance floating in the air as it follows a magnet. According to the video's poster, he did it for "attention grabbing purposes" - it was a way to coast the hype around LK-99. Well, he did write "LK-99" and "levitating", which sounds about right for the purpose. You can see the original video below (if you expand the... tweet? X?).

See more

This original (and now debunked) video doesn't look very good, no; the angle is a weird one to choose (but it's not like everyone has to also be a cinematographer); and there's an overall sketchiness to it. But even if it looked great, it could still be a fake as could any of the videos we've reported on in our coverage

We should note, however, that there are at least two other LK-99 levitation videos circulating, which have not been withdrawn or disproven. As we reported previously, these videos come from Huazong and Wuhan universities.

Whenever a claim as momentous and potentially civilization-changing such as "we've found the world's first room-temperature superconductor" is made, noise is bound to follow. And sometimes the noise gets to you, which is why it's important to note that whether LK-99 is or isn't legit is still very much up in the air.

Granted, the scientific community usually doesn't have to deal with social media-spread videos when it's evaluating whether or not a given paper has merit. But even focusing on the hard science (which we want to be clear, replicable, and truthful) and moving on to the boundaries of peer-review scientific process, it becomes difficult to deal with the noise. 

After all, papers have been published in Nature claiming "near-ambient" superconductivity that have been proven as hoax and described as "a very disturbing picture." And let's not forget that the Korean author's paper is still pending the outcome of a proper peer-review process. 

Superconductors are attractive because they are impactful, and everyone wants their own black swan. However, materials science is a messy affair that plays in the same realm as quantum physics

See more

The original paper also lacks crucial information that you'd think would be there. Neither the cooking time (how long at what temperatures the mixtures have to stay within a vacuum oven for LK-99 to be synthesized and whether there's thermal variation at any moment) nor the quench rate (the same, but when it needs to cool down) are, however, well-documented.

The video poster ultimately claimed that the experience of being a part of the noise had changed him, and that he'd be more cautious with his actions and words in the future. 

We should all be so lucky.

Francisco Pires
Freelance News Writer

Francisco Pires is a freelance news writer for Tom's Hardware with a soft side for quantum computing.

  • hotaru251
    Not political mods:

    I don't know why ppl in any nation fraud on scientific stuff...all you do is harm your trust from ppl & waste scientists time.
  • Geef
    This would have been perfect if the floating disc turned vertical and then quickly 2 arms and 2 legs popped out and it grew a mouth and started dancing. :D
  • atomicWAR
    A fake room temp superconductor? Not like everyone saw that coming. Shame though one would be nice.
  • hehehahaho
    it appears its hot because they inverted how cold works. normally in superconductivity, the cold works it cools the one material, then the second material works for superconductivity, because of the temperature in the first material.

    but in lk 99, they cool the second material and let the first material stay hot. this way the second material being cooled the superconductor works at room temperature.

    Then the scientists trying to replicate the superconductivity try cooling the material, and they cool the first material and this destroys how the first and second material function, when they should only cool the second material and leave the first material not cooled.

    in shape it works like the description below,

    the hemisphere is a half of a solid sphere. with the flat side facing upwards. the bottom side is held in a 2d holder so the hemisphere can tilt.

    the hemisphere has a main material straight through the hemisphere center, the second material i will call main rod. the main rod sits in the hemisphere with a tip protruding through the curved side of the hemisphere to touch and function with the object the main rod moves like a pencil drawing on paper.

    the hemisphere is moved/tilt, by 4 rods placed in a square shape on the hemisphere. these 4 rods are the first material.

    as you see the rods move the second material inside the hemisphere and this is using cold to provide less resistance or make moving the hemisphere easy, this is normally how superconducting works. but lk 99 cools only the main rod inside the hemisphere.
  • ex_bubblehead
    Since it appears that a number of people just can't stay away from politics (posts deleted) this thread is now closed.