For those who have not heard of Ramar Pillai, he was the epitome of the rustic Indian who makes a breakthrough unprecedented in the annals of science. Using water herbs and some secret ingredient he claimed he could make a petrol like fuel. This was in 1996. The local government, and anybody who was anybody lauded him and he gave several demonstrations of how he made his fuel. He became internationally famous. Reports of his “discovery” even made it to TIME magazine.
The secretary of the Department of Science and Technology Dr. V Ramamurthy requested Ramar Pillai to demonstrate his method at IIT Madras campus. The faculty scrutinised all his equipment and materials. At the end of the demonstration they redid their scrutiny. Their final verdict was that it was a hoax. Ramar Pillai admitted to it as well much later http://www.expressindia.com/ie/daily/20000315/ina15002.html
I heard that he has made a comeback recently with similar claims. P T Barnum is often credited as saying “There’s a sucker born every minute” and Ramar Pillai must believe that it takes 15 years to create a nation of new suckers.
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