Researchers claimed they built a breakthrough superconductor. Social media shot it down almost instantly.

Researchers claimed they built a breakthrough superconductor.  Social media shot it down almost instantly.

In July, South Korean scientists posted a paper finding they had achieved superconductivity - a claim that was debunked within days.

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Harsh Mathur was a graduate physics student at Yale University in late 1989 when faculty announced they had failed to replicate claims made by scientists at the University of Utah and the University of Wolverhampton in England.

Such work is routine. Replicating or attempting to replicate the contraptions, calculations and conclusions crafted by colleagues is foundational to the scientific method. But in this instance, Yale’s findings were reported globally.

“I had a ringside view, and it was crazy,” recalls Mathur, now a professor of physics at Case Western Reserve University in Ohio.

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Ron Shinkman
Ron Shinkman is a veteran journalist whose work has appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine publication Catalyst, California Health Report, Fierce Healthcare, and many other publications. He has been a finalist for the prestigious NIHCM Foundation print journalism award twice in the past five years. Shinkman also served as Los Angeles Bureau Chief for Modern Healthcare and as a staff reporter for the Los Angeles Business Journal. He has an M.A. in English from California State University and a B.A. in English from UCLA.
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Today’s podcast guest is Rosalind Picard, a researcher, inventor named on over 100 patents, entrepreneur, author, professor and engineer. When it comes to the science related to endowing computer software with emotional intelligence, she wrote the book. It’s published by MIT Press and called Affective Computing.

Dr. Picard is founder and director of the MIT Media Lab’s Affective Computing Research Group. Her research and engineering contributions have been recognized internationally. For example, she received the 2022 International Lombardy Prize for Computer Science Research, considered by many to be the Nobel prize in computer science.

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Matt Fuchs
Matt Fuchs is the host of the Making Sense of Science podcast and served previously as the editor-in-chief of Leaps.org. He writes as a contributor to the Washington Post, and his articles have also appeared in the New York Times, WIRED, Nautilus Magazine, Fortune Magazine and TIME Magazine. Follow him @fuchswriter.
Hidden figures: Five black women that changed science forever

Dr. May Edward Chinn, Kizzmekia Corbett, PhD., and Alice Ball, among others, have been behind some of the most important scientific work of the last century.


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Sarah Watts

Sarah Watts is a health and science writer based in Chicago.