It took 69 years, but at last we’ve seen the pitch drop. One of the world’s longest-running experiments climaxed last week, when a finger-sized bulb of pitch (bitumen) separated from its parent bulk and dropped into a beaker. For the first time ever, this fleeting event has been recorded on video.
The pitch drop experiment was set up at Trinity College Dublin, Ireland, in 1944. The original version of the experiment, at the University of Queensland in Australia, has been running since 1930, but various glitches have prevented that team from actually seeing a drop separate.
“No one has ever seen a drop fall anywhere in the world,” says Trinity’s Shane Bergin, whose webcam recorded the event on 11 July. “It’s one of the oldest experiments – an oddity, a curiosity.”
If there was ever a video begging for a dubstep remix, this would be it.