22 December, 2016
How does he do it? How does Father Christmas (Santa Claus) manage to deliver to all of the children around the world, who believe in him? That's about 700 million children! Also, how the heck does he get all of the presents down the chimney? As a child my mother used to tell me Santa had a special pill that made him small. but I never really bought her theory.
Now though, we have an answer! Dr Katy Sheen from Exeter University has an explanation based on Einstein's theory of relativity.
The doctor started out by calculating how fast Father Christmas would have to travel by working out the number of households likely to celebrate Christmas around the world and the number of children likely to be in them. She eventually decided that Santa would have to travel at about 10 million kilometres per hour to deliver presents to every child expected to celebrate Christmas in 31 hours, taking into account different time zones.
That all sounds like quite a problem but, by Santa going so fast - according to Einstein - objects travelling at such a speed would become compressed in size. Therefore Santa would shrink! So he'd be able to pop down all of the chimneys. with all of those presents, without any difficulty.
Santa can make his deliveries without being seen because light waves get squashed at such high speeds. He would also change from red to green, appearing as a rainbow-coloured blur. At his top speed, he would become invisible to the human eye. So that's why we never see him.
Einstein’s theory could also explain why Father Christmas appears not to have aged – relativity means time slows when an object moves at high speeds.
All very good you may say, but how does Santa travel so fast? Dr. Sheen explains, "How does Santa manage to reach these phenomenal speeds? Well that’s magic! However, he would certainly need a lot of fuel – so don’t forget his glass of sherry, a mince pie or two and some carrots for the reindeer!
No matter what the explanation. it seems you can never take the magic out of Christmas. Thank goodness for that!
Have a Happy Christmas.