Who and when: Students at University of Plymouth, 2003, paid for from a £2,000 Arts Council grant
The aim: To test the "infinite monkey theory", which states that if a monkey hits keys at random on a typewriter keyboard for an infinite amount of time, it will almost surely type a given text, such as the complete works of William Shakespeare.
And the kicker:
What was learnt: The theory is flawed. After one month...the monkeys had partially destroyed the machine, used it as a lavatory, and mostly typed the letter "s".[NB: I was reminded of this brilliant one-act by David Ives.]