Pitch Drop Experiment Drops!

The longest-running scientific experiment in the world is a pitch drop experiment that began in Queensland, Australia, in 1927 (described in this post). The setup is basically putting pitch in a funnel and see if it drips out. The point is to prove that pitch is a viscous liquid that will flow, instead of a solid. The problem is that it takes years for a drop to actually drop, and has never been witnessed. A similar experiment was begun in 1944 at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland. Now, for the first time, a drop has been recorded!

Over several decades a number of drips did form in the funnel and fall into the jar, giving credence to the hypothesis that pitch is indeed viscous.

However, the dripping was never witnessed or captured on camera, which would have definitively proved the theory.

A number of weeks ago, scientists in the department noticed that a drip had formed.

In order to finally and definitively end the experiment, they set up a webcam to video the experiment around the clock.

Last Thursday, the drip finally dropped into the jar, and was captured on camera.

The Australian pitch drop has dripped eight times, but has never been recorded on video. See the Trinity College video yourself at RTE News. Link -via Boing Boing


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Some areas have places that will buy and recycle the old panes of glass, and for a cost, could get you double paned windows using the old style glass. At the very least if anyone does ever replace them, look around and you could potentially make a little money back selling the old panes. I lived for a time in a house built in the 20s that had maybe half the panes still original in it that were wavy. Although I think by that point, wavy glass was from rollers and not blown (and even for that blown ones was some industrialized large blown cylinders, not like the hand blown stuff of before). There were ways of making flat glass back then, just it was rather expensive.

And I don't like how the io9 link above refers to glass as neither a solid nor liquid. It has the mechanical properties of a solid, and could only be called not a solid if you insist on a solid having crystalline structure. But that is kind of a dated view that could exclude a lot of things considered solid otherwise.
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I almost mourned replacing my 100-year-old windows. The glass was so obviously old because the panes weren't perfectly flat, and it affected the view slightly. I just liked them because they were old and original, but ridiculous heating bills convinced me to replace the loose single-pane originals with energy-efficient double-pane windows with perfectly flat glass.
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