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Unlock the Past Cruises

Fake Science - Crooks, Cranks & Charlatans

Event Information

  • 22 Feb 2018 12:30pm - 1:30pm
  • Sydney Mechanics School of Arts, Mitchell Theatre, L1, 280 Pitt Street
  • Sydney
  • New South Wales
Other Information
  • Cost: Free, no bookings required. All are welcome.

The use of science to sell strange and fraudulent information is not new. There have always been crooks, cranks and chartatans out for a free lunch.

When John W. Keely, founder of the Keely Motor Company that never made a car, died in 1898, the New York Times headline called him “The Greatest Fraud of the Century”. Why? Because he  had extracted millions of dollars from investors to fund his schemes for making engines that ran on water. He did it by playing on ordinary people’s ignorance of science and their greed.

Of course nothing could happen like this today… Well, apart from Stanley Meyers of Utah, who was prosecuted for fraud in the 1990s for selling engines that — you guessed it — ran on water. Or the Australian inventors who believe they have cracked the sources of infinite energy (water).

Join Emeritus Professor Brynn Hibbert, President of The Royal Society of NSW, to learn some of the wackier examples of scientific and not so scientific fraud, starting in the Middle Ages in Europe and finishing in Sydney in the 21st Century.


No Bookings Required