Let’s take a little break from our fast-moving world and watch one of the world’s oldest and slowest-moving experiments in action. Begun in October 1944 at Trinity College Dublin’s School of Physics, the Tar Drop experiment has attempted to measure the viscosity of pitch tar, a polymer that seems solid at room temperature. The goal of the experiment? To demonstrate that pitch tar actually flows and to capture a drop falling from a funnel — something that happens about once a decade. Above, you can watch a timelapse video of all the exciting action. It marks the first time a pitch drop has ever been captured on film.
It’s worth noting that the The University of Queensland has its own Pitch Drop Experiment going. It started back in 1927. And it’s currently listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s longest-running laboratory experiment.
In the segment below, Radiolab offers a primer on the famous experiment.