Fluidity and the Pitch Drop Experiment

Forget the unforgettable drop. The Pitch Drop that I wrote about some time ago has finally dropped! http://www.smh.com.au/national/pitch-err-this-worlds-longestrunning-experiment-finally-drops-20140423-373s6.html

Historians are Past Caring

It’s probably not the most important scientific research project to come out of Queensland, but it may well be the most famous.  In 2005 the University of Queensland Physics Department’s ‘pitch drop experiment’ won the Ig Nobel Prize.  According to the 2002 Guinness Book of Records, it is the oldest continuously running scientific experiment in the world.  It has its own YouTube site .

What is the difference between a solid and a liquid?  For most materials, the answer is simple – water is a liquid, ice is a solid – but for some materials, the answer is less straightforward.  Which category does glass fit into, for instance?  It is often thought that it flows very slowly, so that gravity gradually distorts the shape of stained glass windows so that they are discernibly thicker at the bottom.  This seems to be disputed: hand-blown medieval glass panels are distorted, but it…

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