World’s Longest Science Experiment Completes After 87 Years


The University of Queensland started the pitch-drop experiment way back in the year 1927 and has been a source of undying frustration for a lot of people. But finally the experiment has given the results.
PDE 2A total of nine tar drops have fallen ever since the initiation of this peculiar experiment, the last three among which just missed by a tiny margin. But this time, the drop finally touched the bottom of the beaker and millions were able to witness the oddly elusive pitch. With about 25,000 online registered viewers and three live feeds working around the clock, this is the world’s longest running and possibly one of the most viewed experiment ever.

PDE 3The accurate outcome of the experiment was finally obtained after the last three drops missed their target by some cosmic fluke; which happened not very far in the past. For example, in the year 2000, the power outage turned off the already present webcams at the exact moment that would have determined the result. But this time, people were actually able to witness it, although the precise moment of when the drop touched down is still being debated. That exact moment matters because the online viewers who caught it this time, the moment it was recorded, will have their names in print for sure.

What might interest the reader is that the drop was never actually in free-fall state. Instead, it simply collided with the preceding drop, which dropped in the year 2000 and has taken most of the last 14 years just to tip over. In another similar experiment at Trinity College, Dublin, free-fall state was achieved but after a wait of about 69 years. However, the fact that the pitch flows at all is incredible, despite its unusually high viscosity of 230 billion times that of water.

PDE 4But, as it is pretty apparent, watching and waiting for the pitch to drop requires a lot of patience but the sight is still over whelming. It is like two years going by in just a few seconds right in front of you. Coming back to the experiment conducted at the University of Queensland, it is probable that it will still go on potentially for another 14 years so another drop of the tar can fall down to the bottom, since at present, the pitch is still intact with its top. So unless you have nothing better to do than staring at a webcam all day waiting for tar to drop in a beaker, we suggest you keep yourself busy. This might take a while.

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