The Peeps experiments: Science that never goes stale

By Carol Clark | eScienceCommons | April 13, 2017

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Emory’s groundbreaking Peeps research lives on at peepresearch.org.

It’s that time of year again: The sugary, squishy, neon-bright baby chicks and bunnies known as Peeps have reappeared and people are inexplicably eating them. Vox wrote a roundup of some of the best cultural phenomena concerning Peeps over the years. It included an excerpt from a classic Emory Report story from 1999, describing how Emory researchers Gary Falcon and James Zimring “performed perhaps the most exhaustive Peeps testing in human history," exploring the candies’ durability in the face of a variety of substances:

“To test Peep solubility, they began with simple tap water, then moved on to boiling water, then to acetone, sulfuric acid and sodium hydroxide, but were left dumbfounded by Peeps' apparent invulnerability to each.

“Then they tried Phenol, a protein-dissolving solvent lethal to humans in amounts as small as a single gram. Peeps proved mortal to such a substance — well, almost. One hour after plunging an unfortunate Peep into its grisly demise, all that remained in the beaker was a pair of brown carnauba wax eyes floating in a purple Phenol soup.”

Emory’s groundbreaking Peeps research lives on at peepresearch.org, including details of an investigation of the effects of smoking and alcohol on Peeps health and the medical miracle of separating quintuplet Peep siblings, conjoined at birth.