WATCH: Pitch Drop Experiment Caught on Camera

By An Phung
|  Thursday, Jul 18, 2013  |  Updated 2:28 PM PDT
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WATCH: Pitch Drop Experiment Caught on Camera

Screenshot of a pitch drop that was caught on camera at Trinity College in Ireland.

The science world might have tapped into something that is literally slower than molasses.

Researchers at Ireland's Trinity College set up a camera to capture a pitch drop that was 69 years in the making, proving once and for all that the hard black tar substance is actually a thick, viscous liquid.

The experiment was started in 1944 by a colleague of Nobel Prize winner Ernest Walton -- known for his atom-smashing experiments -- to prove that the black carbon substance contains liquid properties. Pitch is a form of tar once used for caulking boats and waterproofing containers.

Several lumps of pitch were placed into a funnel, which was placed into a jar and left in a cupboard for decades. Scientists at the school noticed a few weeks ago that a drip was starting to form, which prompted them to set up a camera to capture the impending drop.

The Trinity College pitch drop, however, is not the longest running experiment of its kind. In 1929, the University of Queensland in Australia set up a pitch drop that is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the world's longest running lab experiment.

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