My good friend, Dr. Hector Perera, has gone crazy over his new theory that he is determined to get across to some governmental authorities or private institutions. Out of his enthusiasm, he has been writing incessantly to two London based websites challenging anyone to disprove his theory for which he is prepared to part with a large sum of money, which he has finally upgraded to six million rupees or £30,000 (thirty thousand)
Some people may naturally call him 'crazy' for offering such a lot of money; others may consider him to be very affluent and 'not knowing what to do with his finances'! But the underlining factor is that he is an educated chemist, and not a mediocre simpleton or a sitting duck, who is trying to get a message across 'for the benefit of all mankind'!
During frequent visits to Sri Lanka, Dr. Hector Perera has demonstrated his 'scientific energy saving cooking technique' on Sri Lankan TV, (including TNL's Young Asia TV ); been interviewed on radio as well. He has approached the British TV but with not much of luck!
He wonders why he has failed in his endeavours to make it public! Has he not contacted the right people or authority one might wonder? Or, has his challenge got to be either higher or lower......? He says he has once written to the Minister of Energy in Sri Lanka from London and thinks that too 'might have been consigned to the nearest dustbin'! Therefore, to use his own chemical jargon that "every action has an equal and opposite reaction", so far it has had no reaction on his endeavours at all!
Touching on an intellectual plane Hector Perera quotes Dimitri Mendeleeve who discovered the Periodic Table and became subjected to ridicule first, then showered with rewards subsequently.
Galileo was imprisoned, he says, for telling the truth that 'the sun was at the centre of the universe according to science' but today even long distance flying satellites are named after him to honour his forthright revelations!
Electricity was first discovered by an Englishman who had no qualification other than a fair knowledge of Math and English. He left school at the age of 14 and a bookbinder, by the name of Sir Humphrey Davy, gave him a job in a lab when he pleaded to be a lab boy. Then only he discovered electricity and became the Director of that institute approx. 300 years ago!
Isaac Newton revealed his 'gravitational pull discovery' to his friends first, before passing it on to scientists? Haber found how to make Ammonia that lead to make gunpowder and fertiliser for which he was awarded over £100,000 in late 1930s along with a Nobel Prize. Mr. Nobel discovered dynamite to blast-off bridges; then set up a Nobel Prize for peace. Ziegler invented the polythene bag for which he received a Nobel prize.
Archimedes, he says, when discovered his Law of Flotation in 212 BC had to run 'with no clothes on' with excitement all the way to the Kings' palace to prove his theory! He wonders why so far no one has seriously considered his discovery, leave alone seizing the opportunity to execute it. In lighter vein, he questions whether he should follow Archimedes to get some attention to his theory!
The writer can recall a comment on one of his previous articles on Dr. Perera's theory in a website where a disdainful comment by a reader referred to him as a 'nutty professor' and suggested he should 'patent his discovery' which is the only means to get it officially recognised and protected rather than offering bates in the form of financial rewards!
In a sense it is true that no one will come forward with the risks involved having to part with their money in the same manner Dr. Perera is lavishly throwing out on to the table.
When it comes to cooking, his method does not involve baking or grilling because in countries such as England baking and grilling are used quite a lot. In direct cooking, like rice and curries, "there is a stage called thermodynamic equilibrium state which cannot be attained in baking and in grilling".
In May 2013 when he was in Sri Lanka he has demonstrated to a private audience of about 50 people in Dehiwela and shown what he meant by thermodynamic equilibrium state, which he states cannot be explained in writing.
With self-esteem he says, "even an 18 yr old girl came with her mum and dad to learn how to cook my way and watched her being a guinea pig while the rest of the crowd watched the whole event". He has video recorded the whole incident professionally and made it into a DVD, as a proof of his achievement.
If Dr. Perera wants to go ahead in propagating his theory and thereby wants some authority to recognise it, many feel that it would be practical for him to go through the proper channels of patenting his new found formula and then discuss about it openly, rather than going on TV shows and demonstrations free of charge and letting the cat out of the bag even in small measures.
Going on a chemical analogy Dr Perera says all essential oils of low boiling point escape with steam and condense on any cold surface. His 'novel idea' appears to be to minimise the cooking smell as much as avoiding steam escaping with all the volatile gases and depositing on one's clothes during food preparation while saving on energy simultaneously.
"Sometimes these smelly oily molecules 'piggy back' on water molecules. These gaseous molecules move faster than the speed of jumbo jets due to kinetic energy gain but as soon as it touches a cold surface these tend to lose energy and get deposited as 'oily smelly layers'. You might not believe me he says, but try and run your finger near the kitchen cupboards or the cooker hood; do they feel oily or sticky? If you had a small TV or a radio in the kitchen, try and feel the surface, does it feel oily or greasy" he wants us to test and see for ourselves.
"Cooking is a very scientific exercise which is easy and full of fun if done properly" he advises while bringing into focus professional chefs on British television who do not talk about chemical and physical changes as they cook, but 'only brag about their cooking with fire on full blast'. "They love to show their saucepans catching fire, may be with the notion that higher the fire, greater the audience will be!" he adds flavour to his own theory. By opening any lids of containers while boiling curries, one gets showered with smelly invisible gaseous molecules as much as looses heat', he warns.
He is completely against using aluminium vessels for real cooking other than for just boiling purposes because aluminium tends to dissolve when heated and can damage brain cells. 'Aluminium, therefore, needs to be used only as food containers but not as cooking vessels'. He emphasises.
Thursday, December 5, 2013, Features Daily News, Life Abroad - Part 56: