Chinese researcher embroiled in controversy after claiming his study reverses Einstein's theory of relativity
Published: Jun 22, 2021 03:52 PM
Li Zifeng speaks at a seminar that challenges Einstein's theory of relativity Photo: Screenshot of onlie video

Li Zifeng speaks at a seminar that challenges Einstein's theory of relativity Photo: Screenshot of onlie video

A researcher from a university in North China's Hebei Province has been mired in controversy after claiming that his research in physics, which has been recommended for the provincial science and technology award, has reversed Albert Einstein's theory of relativity. 

Li Zifeng, a 59-year-old researcher and lecturerat Yanshan University, specializes in the study of petroleum and gas drilling and production engineering. 

The introduction to his research, titled Adherance to the materialist space-time view of mass and energy and developing Newtonian physics, said the research conclusion reversed Einstein's theory of relativity, which has "misled physicists' and basic human understanding of the world," and has "removed a huge obstacle to the healthy development of science."

The recommendation of the research for the science and technology award stirred up widespread concerns and heated discussions on the internet. 

Many netizens questioned Li's academic background and compared his physics research to a P.E. teacher solving mathematical problems. 

Responding to the controversy, Li explained that his research has not won the prize yet and the purpose of participating in the award evaluation is to publicize the truth, adding that he only has a slim chance of winning the prize. 

According to Li, he has been engaged in this research project since 2000 but the project has never been approved by the related department, nor has he received any notification from the Hebei education authority on the evaluation for the award, The Paper reported. 

Li believes that Einstein's theory of relativity has not been tested in any practical way and proposed arguments in a physics paper he published back in 2008. 

He claimed to have discovered some problems in the derivation of the theory of relativity during a university physics lecture. 

Li argued that his research is in response to the "disruptive innovation" that the country has called for, referring to the subverting of widely accepted theories. 

Since the country also supports interdisciplinary research, those who engage in petroleum studies can also participate in physical research regardless of their scientific backgrounds, he said. 

However, all of Li's award-winning papers and research projects listed on his university's official website are related to petroleum and gas drilling and production. None of them were about astrophysics or relativity. 

Information on Li's social media account shows that he participated in an academic forum challenging Einstein's theory of relativity in 2011.