Dr Karl Kruszel­nicki

Australian Geographic - - Contents -

The ‘truth’ about Santa

COME CHRIST­MAS EVE, how does Santa de­liver presents to mil­lions of chil­dren around the world?

About 2 bil­lion kids are un­der the age of 18. But only about one-quar­ter are Chris­tian so, of­fi­cially, Santa has to visit only 500 mil­lion kids. Santa, how­ever, vis­its ALL chil­dren.

On av­er­age, 3.5 chil­dren live in each house, so Santa vis­its about 140 mil­lion sep­a­rate homes.

Luck­ily, Santa has about 30 hours of dark­ness to de­liver the presents – be­cause the Earth ro­tates! Sup­pose Santa trav­els east to west, starts at the lead­ing edge of sun­set and then grad­u­ally al­lows the trail­ing edge of dawn to catch up with him. In this case, Santa’s Christ­mas night lasts for 30 hours (24 + 6). There are 108,000 sec­onds in this 30-hour ‘night’. Santa has to visit 1000 houses each sec­ond!

But there are about 150 mil­lion square kilo­me­tres of land on our planet. So, on av­er­age, the house­holds are about 1km apart. Santa has to travel a to­tal dis­tance of 150 mil­lion kilo­me­tres. His av­er­age speed is about 1000km/s.

Santa has to ac­cel­er­ate from zero to 1000km/s and back to zero, and do this 1000 times each sec­ond. His ac­cel­er­a­tion is about 400 mil­lion g (where g is ac­cel­er­a­tion due to grav­ity) – but the av­er­age per­son goes un­con­scious af­ter five sec­onds at 5g. Un­der this fe­ro­cious ac­cel­er­a­tion, Santa’s 100kg body would ‘weigh’ 40mil­lion tonnes. Santa would dis­in­te­grate into a chunky red mush!

The pay­load is an­other prob­lem. Sup­pose each of the 500 mil­lion chil­dren gets 1kg of presents. Then the rein­deer pull 500,000 tonnes.

The com­bi­na­tion of enor­mous speed, large pay­load and wind re­sis­tance that the lead pair of rein­deer dis­si­pate (on their bod­ies) is about 15 mil­lion mil­lion mil­lion Watts of power. That’s roughly one mil­lion times more power than the hu­man race dis­si­pates over our planet!

So how does he do it? The so­lu­tion is easy – Quan­tum Physics. On Christ­mas Eve, Santa is ev­ery­where on the planet, and at the same time – and that proves he is real!

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.