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# The Physics of Santa Claus

### #1 thenotch Posted 05 December 2006 - 03:09 PM

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The Christmas-time classic!

# 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 2 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 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 seemes 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 0.78 miles per household, a total trip of 75.5 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 ever made on earth, the Ulysses space probe, moves at a pokey 27.4 miles per second (a conventional reindeer can run, tops, 15 miles per hour).

# The payload on the sleigh adds another interesting element. Assuming that each child gets nothing more than a medium-sized lego set (2 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 point #1) could pull ten times the normal anount, 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 (the boat, not the monarch).

# 353,000+ tons travelling at 650 miles per second creates enourmous air resistance; this will heat the reindeer up in the same fashion as spacecrafts 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 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 Santa ever did deliver presents on Christmas Eve, he's dead now.

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### #2 warriorscot Posted 05 December 2006 - 04:05 PM

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Lets hope the real Santa is, he started off in Germany as far as i know, wore Green, wasnt that fat and i dont remember anything about reindeer mentioned. He was a mean old sod too, you didnt get coal you got a beating with a bushel of willow twigs.

Much of the modern Santa mythos has been so altered by corporations(Coca Cola, makers of the jolly red santa) that its unrecognisable from the original myth.
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### #3 †Gladiator† Posted 05 December 2006 - 07:19 PM

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omg... u guys killed Santa.....
haha i love christmas/santa even if his modern image is invented by multibillion dollar corps to encourage us to spend more \$\$\$.
Just b/c our current science and technology can not explain Santa's physics doesn't mean it's impossible. A few books I've read suggest that Santa or good ol st.nicholas has the power to slow down time or stop it so he can around and give children gifts. And as ppl have said Santa no longer has very relgious ties, he lives in our <3s and if you want to enjoy christmas you can believe in santa no matter what relgion or lack of it you believe in.
And who can resist the HO HO HO?
20 more days to go!!!!!!
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### #4 sari Posted 06 December 2006 - 09:15 AM

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Lets hope the real Santa is, he started off in Germany as far as i know, wore Green, wasnt that fat and i dont remember anything about reindeer mentioned. He was a mean old sod too, you didnt get coal you got a beating with a bushel of willow twigs.

Much of the modern Santa mythos has been so altered by corporations(Coca Cola, makers of the jolly red santa) that its unrecognisable from the original myth.

Well, that's certainly a cynical view, and from my research, pretty far from accurate. There are many myths that led to the current incarnation of Santa Claus - it's not strictly a German invention, nor can I find much reference to him being a "mean old sod" in any of his early incarnations.

Modern ideas of Santa Claus seemingly became canon after the publication of the poem "A Visit From St. Nicholas" (better known today as "The Night Before Christmas") in the Troy, New York, Sentinel on December 23, 1823. The poem is ascribed to Clement Clarke Moore, although there is some question as to his authorship. In this poem Santa is established as a heavyset individual with eight reindeer (who are named for the first time). Santa Claus later appeared in various colored costumes as he gradually became amalgamated with the figure of Father Christmas, but red soon became popular after he appeared wearing such on an 1885 Christmas card. Still, one of the first artists to capture Santa Claus's image as we know him today was Thomas Nast, an American cartoonist of the 19th century. In 1863, a picture of Santa illustrated by Nast appeared in Harper's Weekly

This predates Haddon Sundblom's depiction of him for The Coca-Cola Company's Christmas advertising. While Santa has definitely become commercialized, there is enough documentation about him prior to corporate alterations to indicate that he has been an evolving figure over time.

This is one of many informative articles I found upon performing a Google search of Santa.
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### #5 Kenny94 Posted 08 December 2006 - 09:29 AM

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In conclusion, if Santa ever did deliver presents on Christmas Eve, he's dead now.

Santa is not dead. He's here at: http://simonsezsanta.com/ Be careful what you wish for....
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### #6 warriorscot Posted 08 December 2006 - 09:50 AM

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Well it was from a book in my German class pretty old book, mean old sod is just my opinion i dont know about you but the whole stick beating thing seems mean to me even if they were naughty. It was the earliest referance to Santa clauss that ild ever read other than of course the actuall man Saint Nicholas who was greek, but didnt have a suit and just liked giving presents.
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### #7 SLI-Owns You Posted 11 December 2006 - 10:13 AM

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"Each. In short, they will burst into flame almost instantaneously"

ahahahhaha that um takes some brains to figure out??? but non the less fun to read.
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