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Monday 7 December 2009

How Does Santa Do It?

Santa's Incredible Annual Logistics With Limits Set By
Einstein's Special Theory Of Relativity (1906)

(Oh Bother! That's another 3 points on my licence)

Now pay attention to your new Science Professor.

(As my old Maths Teacher used to say, "Watch the board while I go through it!)

I am attempting to show just how hard Santa Claus (or as we say in UK, Father Christmas) has to work every Christmas Eve in order to deliver all those presents to all those dear little children all over the world. To do this I need to explain Einstein's Special Theory of Relativity, no less!
I am not alone wondering how Santa does it because each and every year countless million people also marvel at just how Santa manages, without fail, to avoid disappointing even one little child!

Recently there has been a spate of scientific research on this subject, published in various ‘scientific’ journals. Their findings remain inconclusive.

With 300,000 animal species still to be classified some outlandish scientists have not entirely ruled out the possibility of flying reindeer.

However, their calculations about Santa’s big night were not so encouraging.
Excluding those countries that don’t go in for Christmas, they calculated that Santa has to deliver presents to 378 million children in 91.8 million homes. Travelling east to west, he would have only 31 hours to do his work.

Consequently, there would be no time allowance for certain activities frequently attributed to Santa, including getting stuck up chimneys, kissing mummies under the mistletoe, waving to the population while saying, “Ho! Ho! Ho! Merry Christmas”, to every Tom, Dick and Harry.

It is thought also that neither can Santa's reindeer find time to stop for carrots every five minutes.

For his annual journey Santa would have a mere 1/1000 of a second to arrive at and stop at each home, shin down the chimney, fill the stockings, eat a mince pie, drink a glass of sherry, shimmy back up the chimney and get the sleigh moving to the next home. He’d have to cover 75.5 million miles at an average speed of 650 miles a second – 3,000 times the speed of sound at almost the speed of light, which is 670 miles a second in case you did not know.

Taking the average present to be a 1 kilo Lego set, the sleigh’s payload would be 350,000 tons, four times the weight of the QE2. Travelling at 650 miles per second the air resistance would cause the lead reindeers to absorb 14.3 quintillion Joules of energy. They’d instantly burst into flames and cause horrendous sonic booms, which would wake up all the kids, screaming, "Mummy! Mummy!"

Santa, not the fittest of individuals, would be subjected to 17,500 times the force of gravity, pinning him to the seat with a force of 4.3 million pounds. Of course each time he stopped to deliver a present he would be subject to a reverse thrust of equal magnitude due to his instant decelerations. His entire journey of 75.5 million miles would be subject to these constant and oscillating forces of acceleration and deceleration, making him feel decidedly dizzy and causing him to 'throw up' all his mince pies which people keep insisting he stuffs his face with.
The sleigh designers did appreciate he would have to hold onto the reins very tightly and have to have powerful seat belts to avoid being catapulted out of his sleigh with these constant ferocious oscillations. There is great concern about whether Santa will be able to keep his head on his neck let alone survive a constant attack of whiplash for 31 hours.

When they were confronted with these gargantuan problems the world’s leading scientists instantly gave up searching for answers to cold fusion and their car keys and instead turned their minds to the Santa problem. Dr Arnold Pompos of high energy physics research facility Fermilab found an answer that seemed to solve the question of Rudolph’s red nose. Astronomers measure speed with the Doppler Shift. Colours change the faster a body moves as the light waves catch each other up. Rudolph’s red nose would change colour as he accelerated, first turning yellow, then green, then blue, then violet before shifting into infra red and ultra violet rendering him invisible. Additional acceleration to his cruising speed of 650 miles a second would cause Rudolph’s nose to emit powerful and harmful x-rays and gamma-rays. Dr Pompos estimated that Santa would be travelling at 99.99999 per cent of the speed of light, stopping and starting constantly.

There is considerable debate within scientific circles concerning Santa’s ability to consistently challenge the laws of physics during his Christmas assignment. Normally Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity (1906) states that when anything with mass, including Santa, his sleigh, his reindeers and all the presents, approaches the speed of light, it’s mass increases horrendously and the amount of energy required to propel the payload ever faster increases enormously – ultimately requiring all the energy in the universe to actually attain the speed of light itself. Scientists are totally baffled because Rudolph and his friends seem quite capable of the task, fuelled only by the odd carrot now and then.

One scientist sighed and concluded that Einstein’s theory seems totally wrong – as were his other observations, backed by his equations, that the length of the sleigh would decrease to zero at the speed of light itself and simultaneously time would decrease to zero. And, of course if it was possible to travel faster than light time would start to reverse. Under these extreme circumstances of such high speed scientists expect a phenomenon known as Time Dilation to kick in. Known science insists that this should be a problem to Santa, yet apparently this is not so because Santa is quite able to deliver his payload every year without fail. Most scientists would expect that because of Time Dilation, Santa would not age at all during his miraculous journey but the children would age considerably faster by comparison and be totally fed up with waiting for him to come year after year, and seemingly never arriving, causing them to bawl to their mummies that Santa had not come yet again! "Where are our presents?"

Scientific theory predicts that when Santa actually does deliver his presents the children may not be children anymore but old men and old women. One boffin suggested that not one of them would remember who Santa was and not even remember ever hearing the words, “Ho! Ho! Ho!” Others think that because of Time Dilation Santa would get caught in a time tunnel and deliver many year’s presents in one go and the children would have all their Christmases at once!

Some sceptics do not agree and have come to the conclusion that no-one has ever seen the real Father Christmas because he travels too quickly so mums and dads have to deliver the presents themselves. Others rubbish this as totally ridiculous. "Impossible!" they say.

Dr Roger Highfield, science editor of the Daily Telegraph, thinks that Santa does deliver on time year after year and uses special heat shields to protect himself as well as powerful warp drives, similar to those used by Captain James T Kirk of the Starship Enterprise. “Those recent scientific papers are outrageous!” he said, “We know Santa delivers those presents on Christmas Eve as reliably as we know Rudolph’ nose is red.”

(and then, presumably, yellow, green, blue, violet and invisible)

“This is all total rubbish!” was the opinion of another eminent professor, who is considering exactly what Einstein means by his theory that powers the universe, E = Mc (squared). He is of the opinion that Santa has total control over how to harness as much energy as he wants from the formula, energy equals mass times the speed of light squared.
He pondered, "But just how they all are able to withstand such sustained violent, gigantic and oscillating gravitational forces, who knows? And how does Santa manage to consume 378 million mince pies and glasses of sherry in just 31 hours without having the time even to visit the bathroom?”

The mind boggles!
Can anyone please come up with some sensible solutions to these problems?

Thank you for all your sensible suggestions attempting to unravel this mystery.
In truth it seems we must bow to magic where science has no influence.
Yet I do have a little addition to my post, following an email received from Santa's organisation deep in the heart of Lapland or is it the North Pole? Does anyone know where he really lives?
Anyway, wherever he lives, he says all this is a load of balderdash! In truth he travels at the speed of light, no faster and no slower! Without giving too much away he said when travelling at the speed of light time stops still (this agrees with Einstein!). This means he has loads of time to do all the fetching and carrying, climbing down chimneys whilst consuming mince pies and sherry, kissing mummies and everything else Santa does. To him time runs as normal because he is travelling on a beam of light. He continued his explanation, saying if he travelled faster than light time would start to go backwards (also true) in which case he would not know whether he was coming or going. The implications of all this would be instead people thinking he was saying, "Ho! Ho! Ho! he would actually be saying, "Ho" Ho! Ho! but people would in hear him saying, "Oh! Oh! Oh!" and concluding he was feeling a bit poorly. He proved this to me by saying the word, "Cigarettes" and I heard it backwards as "Asparagus". This is the only word which makes sense backwards and he proved it in reverse by saying, "Asparagus" and I heard, "Cigarettes".
I hope this makes it all a little clearer.


  1. Tis simply the magic of Christmas, my friend. Don't try to explain it, just enjoy......

  2. Eddie....again, you are full of tremendous fun.
    I love to read your writings. They make me smile...and yes, even laugh out loud.
    Sounds like the same guys that are talking about humans causing global warming to me... :))
    I guess humans were here millions of years ago when the glaciers were where I am sitting...and are now gone...hmmmm. Humans disappeared, too, I guess.
    We all know that Father Christmas can be anywhere and everywhere at once...because that's the way love is. Thank you, Eddie.
    Smiles and hugs to you from Jackie

  3. lol. kathy hit th nail on the head...tis wonderful magic...

  4. Eddie you are forgetting that Santa can stop the universal clock so he has all the time he needs to ensure that all the children receive presents.....oh the magic of Christmas...Hugs

  5. Bernie - so that's how he does it! He stops the universal clock. What;s the matter with our scientists? Why did they not think of this? LOL

    Brian - Yes you have a good point.

    Kathy - If course you are right.

    Jackie - Great to see you laugh, even though you are hiding behind that camera you shy thing you.
    Yes Father Christmas must have a divine characteristic of Omnipresence so it is OK for him to eat his mince pies with no fear of getting constipated!

  6. So long as he makes it, that's all that matters! And my boys still call him Father Christmas, though they've not lived there in many years. Merry Christmas!

  7. I think he discovered successful cloning long before we did, and there are tons of Santas and Rudolphs out there doing the job!

  8. The mind boggles. But with all those mince pies in his belly, I'll be sure to leave him a cup of mulled Pepto Bismal this year. ;)

  9. The mind boggles, all right!! I'll go with Eva, on the cloning idea. But what really boggles my mind is how you keep coming up with these wonderful, hilarious posts? Your creative imagination is OTT, cher! And you must be a fast typist, too! Love the professor pic, btw!!! Looking good, mon ami! Cheers!

  10. This comment has been removed by the author.

  11. Oooooops...I made a li'l typo 'goof'..that deleted comment is here I am again...(being a 'comment hog')!!
    I'll try it again without the typo (maybe..)

    P.S. I agree with Marguerite about your photo. I love the professor look. Soooo distinguished looking!!
    Are you Dr. Bluelights, now?

  12. Don't worry about how he does it! As long as I get a prezzie...... then I don't care! LOL!
    Hilarious post!

    BTW, have you noticed all the copy cat ones around these days? Who do they think they are? It oughtn't to be allowed.

    Nuts in May

  13. Yeppers!! I just know I get my prezzies so I am happy with that. So I don't care how he travels. LOL! Besides, it is all magic anyway. He is always able to deliver all the gifts on Christmas is a given. Etched in stone...professor. Love the look!!

  14. Wormholes!

    Either that, or eating all of those mince pies causes him to emit huge gaseous eruptions that propel him really fast. That also might explain Rudolph's nose being so red.

  15. Simple - it's all in the mind! Everyone knows, whatever you think becomes reality - don't they?!

  16. I wouldn't rule out that there is a sensible solution,
    the question is, who's to find it? ;-)

  17. With regard to Father Christmas:
    The truth is that true magic has no explanation.

    In simple terms: then the scientific mind needs to broaden its philosophy in order to accomodate Magic :-)

  18. ps You have been tagged on

    I look forward to you joining in the fun.

    Kind regards,

  19. Santa is the epitome of the Christmas Spirit, which, in turn, is the epitome of Love, and "Love is the most powerful magic of all." - Professor Albus Dumbledore

  20. Well it's about time somebody figured it out! Now go see how graciously Suldog accepted your award..he was a prince about the entire thing..and there you were deliberately trying to get his goat..well he took the high road my friend...sorry to disappoint

    Breeze(fingers crossed tightly behind her back..difficult to type with my toes..mmm)

  21. Oh, Eddie...Once again, you have me ROFL...and absolutely kerflummoxed!!! Too, too funny!! How did you keep it all straight? A fine piece of investigative have outed the scientific community, and lauded Santa in one fine stroke!! Simply superb post! Loved it! Hugs, Janine

  22. Constipated? Did I miss something?...???
    I hear that you are possibly ducking giving future awards to a certain someone. Well, you should take that into serious consideration since he pretty well roasted your duck.
    I'll have to study up s'more...before I read your blog. I got lost at 'cigarettes and asparagus'...
    I'm in a daze....

  23. Excellent research, Eddie. Why, I couldn't even get started on this topic. Glad you could.
    Fun reading.

  24. "He’d have to cover 75.5 million miles at an average speed of 650 miles a second – 3,000 times the speed of sound at almost the speed of light, which is 670 miles a second in case you did not know."
    I had no idea! But, what is this about Santa is not fit? pish posh! He needs that extra weight to keep warm as he travels. It's pure muscle. He's not fat, he's just large framed :).

  25. Hi Eddie, this is hilarious! It just proves how dull and silly science is, cos we all know that Santa does defy the laws of gravity, physics etc to accomplish this wonderful feat. And not just once, but every year. Of course he's magic.
    What I want to know is, how does he eat all those mince pies and not get fatter? Or is that to do with time warps too?

  26. WHAT!!!! No time to stop for carrots every five minutes? There is always time to stop for carrots every five minutes.


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