Knowledge is power
Posted on January 24th, 2011

Dr. Tilak Fernando

Talent is inborn. Enthusiasm and determination are cultivated. To be self-confident to throw out challenges is admirable. Not many human beings have all such qualities combined.

It is equally tragic if someone who believes in his own knowledge, invention and willingness to offer “ƒ”¹…”the secret of saving power (gas and electricity)’ to his Motherland is allowed to go unheeded despite crying out in good faith.


Scientific method to restrict wastage of gas during cooking. File photo

Dr Hector Perera, PhD, a qualified chemist and a lecturer in Chemistry in London, says he has an enigmatic formula to offer consumers to cut down on gas and electricity bills. Along with it, he throws out an open challenge to any person or authority to disprove his theory with a staggering price catch of Rs 500,000 or Sterling Pounds 2,500.

Chat show

In a contribution to www.lankaweb.com, he recently lamented as follows: “I was given an opportunity to appear on a TV (Sri Lanka) live chat show in 2008 on the subject of energy saving.

Then in April 2009 and again in 2010, I cooked and demonstrated to millions of TV audiences how to save energy. My challenge is still open but no one cared to come forward! I was wondering why? Millions of people must have seen this program, hopefully some energy saving authorities as well. I received plenty of e-mails congratulating me for the effort, but didn’t go further than that! May be energy manufactures and suppliers are opposed to it”! He is naturally perturbed.

It makes sense too in what he says about the daily escalating energy prices while suppliers are coming out with ample excuses to justify price increases all the time.

If this chemist is so confident about his secret recipe, it is only natural that he may not wish to “ƒ”¹…”dish it out’ willy-nilly.

As he puts in a scientific jargon, “ƒ”¹…”every action has an equal and opposite reaction’, it would mean that he wants to put a price tag on his innovation before he discloses the secret completely.

He seems so confident about his theory-invention that he has “ƒ”¹…”placed on the table’ a tidy sum of money as a challenge to prove him wrong.

To substantiate his subtle claim he brings out Archimedes’ principle of Law of Flotation and “ƒ”¹…”eureka’.

Wastage of gas

Haber, he says, was offered Sterling Pounds 100,000 by a commercial company when he discovered Ammonia in 1938. Galileo was imprisoned for coming out with facts, but later honoured and many space exploration- satellites were named after him for his discovery. He goes on………

Faraday, the founder of electricity, combined chemistry and electricity in his extensive research by discovering the laws governing electrochemistry.

Correspondingly, he has combined his humble knowledge of synthetic organic chemistry with other laws of physics and biology to come out with a solution to restrict the wastage of gas during cooking which he calls it, “ƒ”¹…”energy saving scientific cooking’ or “ƒ”¹…”Green Cooking’ to save 60 percent of energy loss”.

Public awareness

Brushing aside all obstacles which he has come across so far, he comes out with a simple question: “Why do babies cry”? “ƒ”¹…”To seek parents’ attention” he says! He has been knocking on the proverbial door, but no one seemed to have opened it yet for him! What does he need to do then to seek public awareness? “May be I need to follow Archimedes and get into headlines of Sunday newspapers”, he expresses in lighter vein.

Imagine a Sunday newspaper carrying a front-page photograph with an embolden caption: “Energy saving ideologist runs nude”! He is so engrossed with his invention and frustrated to the hilt, for “ƒ”¹…”everyone’ has turned a blind eye to this issue so far. However, he does not appear to beat a dead horse but in the modern nuclear microchip age he has faith in media publicity (Internet, websites and e-marketing channels) to pursue his ambition no matter what obstacles that may come his way.

He sincerely hopes that an energy concerned authority would seize the opportunity to contact him to put a stop to “ƒ”¹…”unnecessary wastage of energy. In a feed back to his appeal in the website, one Jay Pathbey from Indonesia says “Pardon my ignorance doctor, I do not seem to understand what are you ranting about.

“What is this great challenge you are talking about? Before you plan to run naked with your great invention on the streets of Aldgate East and scare the poor Indians, Pakis and the Tamils to name a few, please enlighten us and tell us what your discovery is. Your letter was entertaining and humorous to say the least. Other than talking about a few scientists and discoveries they made and sounding very excited about them and also offering some money to challenge you, I was wondering what it is that you are challenging others about”?

To my understanding his “ƒ”¹…”open challenge’ is to prove him wrong about his secret invention which has now turned into a chicken and egg conundrum.

Open challenge

He needs recognition in the event he successfully proves or convinces a challenger dead on. Simultaneously, he is willing to part with a colossal sum of money should he fail to do so. As simple as that! But to solve this riddle rationally the inventor may have to first patent his innovation and then proceed with such challenges. In the present climate when Sri Lanka is heading for mega advancement and “ƒ”¹…”Corporate Performers’ are recognised, from the best Corporate Sector of the country and awarded ceremoniously, it would perhaps be prudent for the Economic Development and the Power and Energy authorities to consider Dr Hector Perera’s evocation seriously, especially during this challenging times to save power and energy.

After all, nothing will be lost in accepting his challenge. Perhaps the State or an interested entrepreneur might benefit up to Rs 500, 000 should Dr Perera’s experiment turns into a failure! This could be the challenge he is talking about and it certainly is a gamble!!

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3 Responses to “Knowledge is power”

  1. Raj Says:

    How can anyone challenge without knowing what the challenge is. Are we supposed to guess. If he has an invention, then patent it, and approach the product manufacturers. His patent may be then seen by interested parties.

  2. sarathk Says:

    What’s the meaning of this stupid challenge? If he has invented something valuable to the world get the patent and published it or sell it to a manufacture in order to provide the benefit of it. If he wants to run on the street like a naked Galileo (Galileo was naked at the moment when he did his discovery) let him do it. Who cares? There is a new word I have noticed in this article; that is “modern nuclear micro chip”. Where the hell is nuclear micro chip? Better not to talk something you don’t know if you want to be smart.

  3. Fran Diaz Says:

    May b GoSL should put up Discovery Unit at the CISIR to help local inventors ? We Lankans have yet to learn how to Market our Scientific Ideas, and Products of great values. Packaged well, Ideas & Products have plenty of buyers. It could be another money spinner for Lanka, as well as bringing monetary rewards plus recognition to the inventor.

    It is generally true that Scientists with great talent go unsung in Lanka. GoSL should address this problem if it wants to move forward seriously on the Development theme.

    May be the good Dr Hector Perera should do some gimmicky thing to attract the attention of the Media to recognize our
    talented Scientists !

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