Physicist who worked on room-temperature superconductor accused of “research dishonesty”

Physicist who worked on room-temperature superconductor accused of “research dishonesty”

An investigation has found that a physicist who claimed to have developed one of the first room-temperature superconductors committed “research misconduct,” first reported by The Wall Street Journal. Ranga Dias, a researcher and associate professor at the University of Rochester, has been under investigation by a committee of outside experts since last August over concerns about the accuracy of his findings.

“The university has completed a thorough investigation conducted by a group of non-university academics with expertise in the field,” University of Rochester spokeswoman Sarah Miller said in a statement obtained by The Verge. “In accordance with university policy and federal regulations, the panel concluded that Diaz engaged in research misconduct in the course of his research.”

Last year, Diaz co-authored a scientific paper in the journal Nature on nitrogen-doped lutetium hydride. The article claimed that the material can conduct electricity at ambient temperature without resistance. (This work is unrelated to the supposed LK-99 superconductor that went viral on social media last year.) Later, scientists discovered inconsistencies in Diaz’s research.

This article, along with some of Diaz’s other work, has been retracted. The committee “found problems with the reliability of the data in these works,” Miller says. “The University of Rochester is committed to academic integrity.”

Prior to the recent study, the university had conducted two investigations into Diaz’s research, but decided not to launch a full investigation. As the magazine notes, the next step is for the university to make a decision on personnel measures regarding Diaz, which will be made by the university’s vice chancellor.

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