Science Tells Us Exactly How Many Licks It Takes to Get to the Center of a Tootsie Pop

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Researchers used fluid mechanics to find the answer
Licks to the Tootsie Pop Center

Photo Modified: Flickr/theilr/CC 4.0

It takes approximately 1,000 licks to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop, according to this study.

We all remember the Tootsie Pop commercial with Mr. Owl explaining how many licks it takes to get to the Tootsie Roll center of the Tootsie Pop. Some students in the past have tried to calculate exactly how many licks are necessary, but now a scientific study has given us an actual number.

The Journal of Fluid Mechanics found that it takes about 1,000 licks to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop. Researchers from New York University and Florida State University analyzed how hard candy dissolves by measuring how fast the average person licks candy and how long it would take to get through one centimeter of the lollipop — which is half of the candy.

“We used these results to figure out in general how fluids dissolve materials, and we realized that that is basically what you’re doing when you’re enjoying a lollipop,” Leif Ristroph, an applied mathematics professor at New York University, told ABC News.

This type of study is used in geology to measure rock erosion. So it looks like the owl was wrong after all! But, as Ristroph noted to ABC News, “We started to test it, and it’s hard. Resisting the temptation to just bite into one is tough.”

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