Mathematicians at NYU have an updated–and more scientifically rigorous–solution to the Tootsie Pop problem and their number is much higher: 1,000 licks. These researchers first developed a theory for how flowing liquid dissolves and shrinks material. Though not initially intending to study Tootsie Pops, they realized their model applied perfectly to candy-licking. So they calculated the amount of saliva it would take to melt one centimeter of the sugary candy, almost exactly the distance from the surface of a Tootsie Pop to its center. They determined an even 1,000 swipes of the tongue per centimeter of the candy would do the trick. This is much higher than the earlier study, but jives well with many real world trials.


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