April 7th, 2013
01:30 AM ET

In science, good things come...

For more Last Look, watch GPS, Sundays at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on CNN

Good science sometimes takes a very long time. It was 11 years after NASA was founded that we landed on the moon. The human genome project took 13 years. It's been almost 50 years since the Higgs Boson particle was first proposed...and it still hasn't been conclusively proven.

But Australia is home to the world's longest running lab experiment...it's on the verge of a breakthrough of sorts. Eighty-six years ago, a professor at the University of Queensland initiated this "pitch drop" experiment, wanting to show that some things that look solid can actually be a little bit fluid.

Pitch, you see, is a derivative of tar. And it's so solid, you can crack it with a hammer. But it can also drip and drop.

Over the past 86 years, 8 drops have fallen. And the current custodian of the experiment thinks the ninth drop is coming soon. They've set up a webcam so you can watch here.

The webcam is only a little less exciting than watching grass grow. But there is an upside to watching: nobody has ever seen a drop actually fall. You could be the first!

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Topics: Last Look • Science

soundoff (11 Responses)
  1. JAL

    I think it would be more fun to predict what new-school tech will reside in the old school decades from now. My guess will be tablets and cloud.

    April 7, 2013 at 8:38 am | Reply
    • JAL

      I think string theory is good and will prevail. I believe it begins to point to incidence or gradients of occurrence in both light AND dark matter. However, there is the uncertainty principle that will force us to always consider its irrelevance. I think of string theory kinda like using a fishing pole. It can catch fish, but there is no guarantee.

      April 7, 2013 at 3:19 pm | Reply
      • JAL

        We fish just need to know which hook to take. The one on the light side or the one on the dark side. Then, we can cast our lines or as I like to say, fast and pray.

        April 7, 2013 at 3:24 pm |
      • JAL

        Also, sting theory must always take general relativity into account when attempting to characterize system incidence. I am here and stable, the fishing pole is here and in good working condition, and the fish are here and are swimming about, the rest is what we are trying to understand. Lets go fishing, or wait, I think we are the fish! lol

        April 8, 2013 at 9:01 am |
      • JAL

        And it looks like I have once again came to the realization that humanity should focus on aiding the evolution our digestive tracts toward veganism over the next several hundred years.

        April 8, 2013 at 9:14 am |
      • JAL

        Anthropic principle is the first venture that links frame of reference and evolution.

        April 8, 2013 at 9:07 pm |
  2. Vito

    Even a glass window is in slow flux under the force of gravity. It will thicken at the bottom and thin at the top: eventually. Every "solid" given enough time under a force will drip, shift or distort. Matter in the universe is in constant motion. All solids are ephemeral in the vastness of time. There are no solids!
    Except Fareed Zakaria ROCKS!

    April 7, 2013 at 11:36 am | Reply
  3. judith knaiz

    On today's show 4/07/13 it was offered that China wouldn't want to see North Korea collapse. A look of agreement went from guest to guest. I would like to hear a discussion that asks why not? This so called country is a gang of warriors and starving people working to maintain these thugs. This is unconscionable and I don't understand why everyone agrees that North Korea shouldn't collapse. If the civilized world has the power to collapse this futility I think they should tootsweet.

    April 7, 2013 at 1:29 pm | Reply
  4. Harvey

    What was the name of the book that Fareed Zakaria recommended today on GPS 4/7/13

    April 7, 2013 at 5:34 pm | Reply
  5. j. von hettlingen

    This "pitch drop" experiment, is it an evidence of climate change, more precisely global warming?

    April 10, 2013 at 5:05 am | Reply

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