A recent conversation with Noor:
N: How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop?
B: I honestly don't know.
N: Do you think anyone has ever counted?
B: I bet lots of people have tried, but I'm guessing most forget that they're counting somewhere along the line and loose track.
N: I think it takes more than a 1000 licks.
B: You could test your theory.
N: It takes a long time to lick it down to the tootsie roll......
B: How long, do you think?
N: I could time myself!
B: Oh, that's a great idea! You could see how many licks you make in ten seconds and then multiply that number by how long it takes you to get to the center.
N: I lick really fast at first, and then just kind of suck when it gets smaller. How would I count sucking?
N: I suck it when it gets small because it's more yummy. I don't lick as much as it gets smaller. No, mom, it wouldn't be the same amount of licks at the end as it is the first ten seconds.
We'll let you know if Noor conducts further tests.
But, in the meantime, it seems a few folks have had the wherewithal to see this question through to the end: George Waksman and friends found that,
The data suggests that it takes approximately 508 licks to reach the center of a Tootsie Roll Pop when alternating the licking side. Since the procedure calls for equal licking of both sides of the Tootsie Roll Pop and completion is determined by core contact on either side, one could reach the core with fewer licks by focusing on only one side of the Tootsie Roll Pop. If one were to select the side closer to the core, it would theoretically require approximately 254 licks to reach the center.There you have it.
(so, we talked about surface area, scientific inquiry, research methods, standard deviation, and means and averages, all thanks to a blue Tootsie Roll Pop.)