LK-99 is either a once-in-a-generation scientific breakthrough, or a huge disappointment. Right now, peers and armchair experts aren’t quite sure which, and the race is on to find out. The buzz shows how desperate we are for a technological discovery that could change the world.

Named after two scientists, Lee and Kim, and the year of its discovery — 1999 — LK-99 is a compound made from lead and copper. According to a paper released last month, the South Korean team has created a groundbreaking new material. A second article claims that LK-99 shows "levitation at room temperature.”

"For the first time in the world, we succeeded in synthesizing the room-temperature superconductor working at ambient pressure with a modified lead-apatite (LK-99) structure,” they wrote. The scientific world is abuzz.