Mathematicians Discover How Many Licks It Takes to Get to the Center of a Tootsie Pop

PHOTO: A new study has determined exactly how many licks it takes to get to the center of a lollipop.Getty Images
A new study has determined exactly how many licks it takes to get to the center of a lollipop.

The little Tootsie Pop boy can finally rest easy.

Mathematicians at New York University conducted a very important experiment to find out exactly how many licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop. Drum roll, please.

One thousand.

For those patient enough to not take a bite, graduate student Jinzi Mac Huang determined it would take 1,000 licks to make it through one centimeter of candy, which is approximately half the length of one Tootsie Pop. The study was done to explore the effects of dissolving materials within a fluid flow, such as rocks in geological environments and pills for pharmaceutical applications. The lollipop angle was just a fun side effect.

“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,” applied mathematics professor Leif Ristroph told ABC News.

“Using that model, we can take an object of any size and kind of a typical flow speed that would be determined by how fast you lick candy, and then determine how long it would take for that to dissolve all the material away," Ristroph said.

Using that model and a giant homemade ball of candy, they got to the rough estimate of 1,000 licks, though the study conductors weren’t able test out the theory themselves.

“We started to test it, and it’s hard. Resisting the temptation to just bite into one is tough,” Ristroph admitted.

Tootsie Roll got in on the fun, too, when they heard that NYU was conducting the study by sending them boxes of lollipops for “research.”

“How many licks is a question fans of our candy have asked us for decades,” Tootsie Roll Industries President Ellen Gordon told ABC News. “We’re thrilled that New York University has conducted a study to help find out how many licks it really takes to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop.”