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Scientists have been conducting bizarre experiment for nearly 100 years that has only seen 9 drops
Featured Image Credit: The University of Queensland

Scientists have been conducting bizarre experiment for nearly 100 years that has only seen 9 drops

The investigation - known as a 'pitch drop experiment' - was first set up back in 1927

Recent months have seen a hoard of staggering scientific discoveries and developments that have changed the way we view our planet... but none have took quite as long as this experiment scientists have been conducting for nearly a century.

Within a period of seven days, astrologists last week revealed they'd potentially found 85 potential new 'habitable' planets that could sustain human life, archeologists uncovered a ‘miracle’ structure underneath an ancient Egyptian temple and health experts warned that a 'zombie' Arctic virus could trigger an epidemic.

Despite these various quantum leaps, however, there's one particular breakthrough that tech-heads aren't expecting to make anytime soon, being that the experiment in question first launched almost 100 years ago.

That's right - back in 1927, scientist Thomas Parnell - a professor at the University of Queensland in Australia - instigated the world's first 'pitch experiment'.

The investigation - which is actually the longest-running laboratory experiment in history - aims to measure both the fluidity and high viscosity of a substance called 'pitch'.

This is best explained as a derivative of tar that is also the world's thickest known fluid and hence appears visually in a solid form.

The pitch drop is the longest-standing laboratory experiment in history.
University of Queensland

Anyway, Parnell and his team first poured a freshly warmed-up sample of this substance into a sealed funnel before letting it settle for a period of three years.

In 1930, the neck that sealed the funnel was trimmed, meaning the pitch was free to move downwards into the container below.

The decade that followed the launch of the experiment only saw one, lonely drop fall into the dish below.

And - even more shockingly - it took a period of 40 years for the next five drops to fall.

Since then, a further three drops have fallen, despite the funnel having first been cut over 87 long years ago.

The most recent drop recorded by scientists occurred all the way back in April 2014, with the next expected to fall some time in the 2020s.

The experiment is being live streamed 24/7.
University of Queensland

Unfortunately, however, Parnell - the frontman of this ground-breaking experiment - tragically passed away just over two decades after it was launched.

The lead scientists died of hypertensive cardiorenal failure back in September 1948, but was posthumously honoured with an Ig Nobel Prize in physics, a parody of the prestigious award of the same name.

What has also left spectators astounded, is that not one individual has ever personally witnessed a drop fall, due to various glitches.

As of right now, the legendary pitch drop experiment remains on public display in the School of Mathematics and Physics at University of Queensland's St Lucia campus.

It is also being live streamed 24/7 on social media, with thousands of viewers tuning in everyday in the hope of seeing another drop fall.

Topics: Science, Technology, Australia