Merry Christmas to All

The Physics of Santa and His Reindeer

No known species of reindeer can fly. BUT there are 300,000 species of living organisms yet to be classified, and while most of these are insects and germs, this does not COMPLETELY rule out flying reindeer which only Santa has ever seen.

There are two billion children (persons under 18) in the world. BUT since Santa doesn’t appear to handle the Muslim, Hindu, Jewish and Buddhist children, that reduces the workload to 15% of the total — 378 million according to Population Reference Bureau. At an average (census) rate of 3.5 children per household, that’s 91.8 million homes. One presumes there’s at least one good child in each.

Santa has 31 hours of Christmas to work with, thanks to the different time zones and the rotation of the earth, assuming he travels east to west (which seems logical). This works out to 822.6 visits per second.

This is to say that for each Christian household with good children, Santa has 1/1000th of a second to park, hop out of the sleigh, jump down the chimney, fill the stockings, distribute the remaining presents under the tree, eat whatever snacks have been left, get back up the chimney, get back into the sleigh and move on to the next house. Assuming that each of these 91.8 million stops are evenly distributed around the earth (which, of course, we know to be false but for the purposes of our calculations we will accept), we are now talking about .78 miles per household, a total trip of 75½ million miles, not counting stops to do what most of us must do at least once every 31 hours, plus feeding and etc.

This means that Santa’s sleigh is moving at 650 miles per second, 3,000 times the speed of sound. For purposes of comparison, the fastest man-made vehicle on earth, the Ulysses space probe, moves at a poky 27.4 miles per second - a conventional reindeer can run, tops, 15 miles per hour.

If every one of the 91.8 million homes with good children were to put out a single chocolate chip cookie and an 8 ounce glass of 2% milk, the total calories (needless to say other vitamins and minerals) would be approximately 225 calories (100 for the cookie, give or take, and 125 for the milk, give or take). Multiplying the number of calories per house by the number of homes (225 x 91.8 x 1000000), we get the total number of calories Santa consumes that night, which is 20,655,000,000 calories. To break it down further, 1 pound is equal to 3500 calories. Dividing our total number of calories by the number of calories in a pound (20655000000/3500) and we get the number of pounds Santa gains, 5901428.6, which is 2950.7 tons.

The payload on the sleigh adds another interesting element. Assuming that each child gets nothing more than a medium-sized lego set (two pounds), the sleigh is carrying 321,300 tons, not counting Santa, who is invariably described as overweight. On land, conventional reindeer can pull no more than 300 pounds. Even granting that “flying reindeer” (see above) could pull TEN TIMES the normal amount, we cannot do the job with eight, or even nine. We need 214,200 reindeer. This increases the payload (not even counting the weight of the sleigh) - to 353,430 tons. Again, for comparison - this is four times the weight of the Queen Elizabeth. 353,000 tons traveling at 650 miles per second creates enormous air resistance - this will heat the reindeer up in the same fashion as spacecraft re-entering the earth’s atmosphere. The lead pair of reindeer will absorb 14.3 QUINTILLION joules of energy. Per second. Each.

In short, they will burst into flame almost instantaneously, exposing the reindeer behind them, and create deafening sonic booms in their wake. The entire reindeer team will be vaporized within 4.26 thousandths of a second. Santa, meanwhile, will be subjected to centrifugal forces 17,500.06 times greater than gravity. A 250-pound Santa (which seems ludicrously slim) would be pinned to the back of his sleigh by 4,315,015 pounds of force.

In conclusion: If there ever was a Santa, there isn’t now.

^ An amusing flyer we got in AP Physics right before taking a test. Bah humbug.

Merry X-mas to all Happy New Year to all and Who ever celebrates disimilar holidays well Happy Holidays to all of you to. May the 2004 year bring you much luck and success whether its at home, at school, :smiley: at work or building your new robot :smiley:

                                         Mike and Family

Oh my! Since Santa has been vaporized where will my presents come from now!?

Thought I would share some geeky cheer:
From: The Physics of Christmas, “On Christmas Cards”

  1. A homemade card may say, “I am wealthy and have enough leisure time to make my own cards.” Or it may declare, “Admire my artistic bent.” Or it may coo, “I am spending all my time on your card to show you just how much I care for you.”
  2. A “green” card - says, featuring a large-eyed seal, winsome elephant, or leaping whale - printed in recylcled paper and carrying a greeting in a foreign language, can not only establish the senders environmental credentialsbut also suggests that the recipiend should feel a twinge of guilt for sending that commercial card on nonrecylced paper adorned with reindeer, Santa, or a mouse peeking out of a stocking.
  3. A privately printed card reeks of money. But it also may suggest that the sender is too busy to fiddle around with signing a lot of cards. An interesting variant is the photograph card, which is calculated to show off that new house or addition to the family, whether a car or baby.
  4. The institutional card may take various forms. Firms housed in particularly ugly buildings may have to resort to a generous amount of snow to hide the fact. Others choose to adorm their cards with some element to announce the business they are in, whether microchip, widget, or spiral of DNA. “This has much of the same function as people who wear allegiance tied, cuff links, blazer badges, or some other form of insignia, stating publicly their identification with the values and aims of an institution,” Furnham and Leigh explain.
  5. The political card is used as a badge of social belief, mostly exchanged between small groups of stalwarts.
  6. The cartoon card is for those who have no desire to remember what Christmas is all about.
  7. As for the microchip musical card, “their tinny warblings can only be stopped by violent means, and to make things worse, the picture will be of either a fluffy animal or a badly drawn snow scene. Sever all relationships with people who send these cards,” the psychologists suggest. “There is no hope for them.”

Fröhliche Weihnachten und ein Glückliches Neujahr!

It’s simple: he’s going faster than light allowing him to be in multiple places at once. :stuck_out_tongue:

And Happy Winter Solstice to all!

laughs at thought of reindeer with F.T.L. drives Sorry, too much Battlestar Galactica

To monsieurcoffee the grinch,
Everyone knows that Santa travels through invisible Earth wormholes allowing him to slow time as he goes. The only reason that people refuse to understand things is because they refuse to look outside the box and be creative. I tend to enjoy using my own scientific theory. ahem… Figure out where you have to start and what end result you want, from there, all you have to fill in is the middle. So, if the end result is Santa getting to each house in one night and eating cookies, isn’t it completely possible that he slows down time using that theory that says time slows around large masses and due to the excessive amount of cookies and milk, I would definately say that would make him a large mass, and so he can, in all reality, accomplish the task at hand. Anything is possible, miracles take more time.
P.S. I was joking about the whole grinch thing… Please don’t be angry… :yikes:

And to all a good night :stuck_out_tongue:

Yeah. One good kid per house. Riiight. Santa probably only has 3 stops.

I had a good Christmas joke, but I think it’s a tad bit too offensive (seeing as how there are a lot of people from NJ here :D)

Yan, you have too much time on your hands… But thanks for the laugh. Thanks Leon, and have a great holiday everyone!

  • Patrick

Merry Christmas everyone!!!
Anyone who wish to track santa go to the site below

Geo, ya transposed 2 letters there, try this link

happy white holidays everyone… or sunny for those in such locations hehe

MERRY CHiristmas Everyone and a happy new year!!! :wink:

Christmas*** Opps…hehehe

Good ole’ merry christmas and a happy new year!

Oops, sorry Justin. Merry Christmas everyone!!!

If you liked that, here’s another Santa physics article you might get a kick out of:

Hope you all have a great holiday!

Merry Christmas to all and To all a good night

We are going to need it in another week or so!

Happy New Year

Merry freaking Christmas :slight_smile:

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from all of us at Team #47 - Chief Delphi.

And to all a good night…