Santa’s sack of sciency facts

We might be scientists, but we DEFINITELY believe in Santa here at CBHQ. In fact, it’s science that helped us realise just how amazing he is. Need some convincing? We found some pretty compelling reasons…

Elon Musk’s got NOTHING on the big FC

We all know that Christmas Eve is a pretty hectic night for St Nick, and to make sure he can get to every house on the planet he has to travel at a whopping 10 million kilometres per hour to make sure we all get our pressies by morning. That’s an epic journey of 31 hours! (more hours because of the different world time zones). Even if Mr Musk COULD invent a self-driving sleigh that can match these speeds, there’s no way he can guarantee the vehicle could cope with the strain. Compared to the speed of light he’s still a bit of a slow coach though, his speed while impressive is a mere 10% of the speed of light.

He could give Ant Man a run for his money too.

Santa’s ability to fit down any chimney is down to relativity. Thanks to his incredible speed, Einstein’s theory of special relativity, suggests that Father Christmas’ mass shrinks in the direction he is travelling. At 10 million km/hr he will get as small as 10 centimetres, clearly small enough to easily slip down and back up the chimney.

He’s rigged for silent running

Moving fast makes Santa impossible to spot but it also makes him silent  – at least to our human ears. How? It’s thanks to the Doppler Effect, which kicks in, causing the sound waves he’s emitting to change shape, this is turn makes the pitch of his voice increase until it’s so high that basically only dogs (and of course reindeer) can hear it. This explains why the only thing you might hear is a bang on the roof and that’s not even the sleigh landing on the roof! In fact, that’s Santa and his reindeer crew swinging by so fast that they break the sound barrier and create a sonic boom.

He’ll never need anti-ageing cream

And not because it would ruin his twinkly-eyed, snow white bearded image. His speediness also means that he won’t age any further. The same goes for Rudolph, Dasher, Prancer et al.

He’s got an ever-expanding stomach!*

We’re all familiar with Santa’s big belly and sure, it’s mostly likely down to all the goodies we leave out for him on Christmas Eve but think about this:

🎅 There are about 1.6 billion households in the world
🎅 Around half of these households celebrate Christmas
🎅 Approximately 40% of those have children and about half of those follow the tradition of leaving out milk and a cookie or mince pie for Father Christmas and the reindeer.

Assuming he plays fair and takes an equal sip of about 20 ml from each glass of milk, he’ll still end up drinking 3,969,726 litres of milk on Christmas Eve. That’s almost 50,000 times more than the average UK adult drinks in a YEAR!

Taking all that into account we’re declaring Santa our festive science hero. In fact we might just leave him one of our lab coats alongside his mince pies this year, so he can join our Community of Curiosity Champions!

*OK we might have stretched this one, but the numbers are accurate!

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