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Science answers how many licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie pop


Science now has an answer to the famous question asked in the iconic Tootsie Roll Pop commercial: about 1,000. And you can take that number to the bank — it's based on a sophisticated mathematical model of how flowing fluid dissolves solids.

Researchers at New York University arrived at the number by custom-making their own candy spheres and cylinders to test how materials dissolve in a flow. But this seemingly simple process is actually quite complex, said study leader Leif Ristroph, a physicist at NYU. First, the presence of the solid disrupts the flow, forcing it to bend and change directions, he said.

"But then, the flow starts to dissolve the solid, so now something about the flow is being imprinted on the solid object," Ristroph told Live Science. "What happens is, you get a weird feedback between the two."

1 Comments in Response to

Comment by Lola Flores
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Thank goodness for that! Not only have I spent my entire life tortured by that question but it also spares me the effort of having to do it myself. Now, now...Who says AmeriKans ain't smart?