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The Physics of Santa


I think one of the most satisfying books I ever wrote was, “Can Reindeer Fly?” or in the States it’s called “The Physics of Christmas” and I just took the slightly bonkers idea of looking at everything to do with Christmas  through a scientific lens; I wasn’t trying to deconstruct Christmas, I was just trying to say, what can science tell us about Christmas?  And the one I had the most fun with was Santa delivering all of his presents  on Christmas Eve.  Now, it’s pretty clear that Santa’s got probably the most impressive R&D outfit on the planet because we know that NORAD, which actually tracks intercontinental ballistic missiles, every Christmas tracks Santa’s sleigh and there’s lots of theories around about how he can get up to sufficient speeds to deliver all those presents.  You’ve got warp drive sleighs, you’ve got genetically modified reindeer, you’ve got people like Ian Stewart the mathematician saying actually, you know, the antlers on reindeer are actually…they look crazy but they’re beautifully aerodynamically designed and he says, you know, you look at a penguin, it’s waddling on land but when a penguin starts moving through the water it swims in the most beautiful way, maybe reindeer’s antlers are designed with some exotic aerodynamic properties. And then, of course, there’s ridiculous things about Rudolph’s nose glows because of extraordinary speeds but look, that’s rubbish guys, we’ve got the answer, Santa’s already mastered quantum teleportation, he just basically teleports down into the bottom of your Christmas tree or whatever, leaves all the presents there  and then teleports back again to the North Pole to grab the next present, it’s just so simple, I don’t know why no one’s spotted it before.