Steve Mould, a host of science television shows in the UK, stumbled on the chain fountain while he was looking for a way to demonstrate something else. Mould, who has a master’s degree in physics from Oxford, discovered a rising curve in a moving chain of beads as the beads flow out of a container. Once he starts it, the bead chain keeps going, like water or gasoline being siphoned from a tank.
Why does this happen? Check out this slow mo video of the chain fountain, with an explainer, for the answer: