How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop?
An oddly-shaped cartoon child who thought too much once went on a quest to obtain an answer to this question in a famous (infamous?) old television commercial. He first posed the question to a dopey turtle who was unable to help, and then to a wise owl who could only manage three licks before biting clear through the center. The commerical's narrator concluded that "the world may never know."
However, tootsie.com states that scientific studies have determined otherwise, although they disagree about the exact number.
A Purdue University study consisted of an "artificial licking machine" and twenty student volunteers. The licking machine took an average of 354 licks to reach the center and the humans fared a bit better with 252.
A University of Michigan student fashioned his own licking apparatus and reported an average of 411 licks per lollipop.
Finally, a group of students at Swathmore School, through their own licking endeavours, settled on an average lick quotient of 144.
Averaging these results together, it seems that 290 licks may be a reasonable estimate.