An article with a title like “Shape Dynamics and Scaling Laws for a Body Dissolving in Fluid Flow” might not pique your excitement at first. But it should.

This is the name of the groundbreaking article that uses scientific research to tell us exactly how many licks it takes to get the center of an average-sized lollipop.

The Journal of Fluid Mechanics just published the study, which was authored by Leif Ristroph, assistant professor of mathematics at NYU’s Courant Institute. Lollipops weren’t the initial focus of the study; however, lollipops played a crucial role in observing how liquid flows over objects.

how many licks

Ristroph explained to Esquire how the observations his team relate to various physical phenomena—ranging from how rivers carve landscapes, to how pharmaceuticals work. But back to lollipop licking….

It turns out that the magic number of licks is 1,000. If that question has haunted you since your childhood, now you know. Obviously, this doesn’t take biting into account, nor those really gigantic jawbreaker lollipops you get at Disneyland.

how many licks biting

We’re just glad this mystery got solved. That owl was kind of a dick, anyway.

[via the Journal of Fluid Mechanics, Esquire]