Pitch drop experiment's ninth drop could be world's most boring video
Melbourne, May 8 (ANI): University of Queensland's pitch drop experiment, which measures the flow of pitch over several years, could be world's most boring live stream as it has not seen any action since the past 12 years and four months- exactly the same amount of time it took something to happen before that.
However, the long-term experiment's ninth drop could be due between the next five seconds and the next 12 months, when the blob of tar pitch stretching down from the cocktail glass shaped thing will fall on the eight other blobs settled below it, Courier Mail reported.
The last time the glass jar saw any action was in 2000, when the eighth drop fell.
In 1927, UQ's Professor Thomas Parnell wanted to prove to his students that some things that appear solid are actually liquid.
He heated up a sample of tar pitch - a solid polymer that can smash if you hit it hard enough - and poured it into the funnel.
He sealed it and left it for three years to set, then cut the end of the funnel. Eight years later, the first drop fell through the funnel.
And now, 82 years later, scientists are waiting for the ninth drop to fall. Waiting to be the first humans to ever lay eyes on it falling, in fact, as the pitch has a tendency to shed its small load at exactly the time when no one is watching.
Even modern technology couldn't capture the eighth drop on November 28, 2000.
"I certainly remember it," the experiment's current custodian, Professor John Mainstone, said.
"I was overseas ... secure in the knowledge that if the eighth drop decided to fall in my absence, we had it covered - thanks to the new video surveillance system that had been installed."
"My complacency was short-lived," he said.
"Soon after came the bad news that the recording section of the surveillance equipment had failed."
However Prof Mainstone believes No 9 is unlikely to fall until 2013 - air conditioning has seen its rate slow in the past couple of decades.
Although there is some concern in the fact that power to the live feed gets cut every now and then by demolition work around the Parnell Building in which the experiment is housed.
"Steps have been taken", Prof Mainstone assured, to ensure "fairly rapid automation restoration of the live feed" following outages.
"If this ninth drop can outwit the greatly improved surveillance system now in place I think I might have to agree with my late mother who was convinced that physicists - her son included - will just have to accept the fact that some things will always remain a mystery," he said.
"Be that as it may, I have been impressed by the advances made in recent years in the area of data recovery, so in reality I'm optimistic that 'all will be revealed' to the waiting world this time around," Prof Mainstone added. (ANI)
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