Santa From a Physicist's Perspective.

Updated 12/18/02! My PBL class did the necessary research to check my numbers and found out the World has changed in the last 10 years! Go figure! The following story reflects th most recent Global Population references, cited where appropriate.

1. There are approximately **2.5 BILLION children** (persons under 18) in
the world. This is based on the *World Population Consensus of 2000* and
using the US's basis of 42% population under 18. However, since Santa does not
visit children of Muslim, Hindu, Jewish, or Buddhist religions, this reduces
the workload for Christmas night to 33% of the total, according towww.statistics.com and www.religioustolerance.com; **825 MILLION**
(according to the World Population Reference Bureau). At an average rate of 2.5
children per household worldwide, that comes to **330 MILLION homes**,
presuming, of course, that there is at least ONE good child in each household, not a real safe assumption, but...

2. Santa has a total of **31 hours** to work with, thanks to the
different time zones and the rotational speed of the earth, assuming he travels
from East to West, a safe assumption. This works out to about **3000 visits per
second**. This is to say that for each Christian home with a good child,
Santa has just *under 1/3000*^{th} of a second to park the sleigh, hop out,
jump down the chimney or mist through a door or window, fill the stockings,
distribute gifts around the tree, eat whatever snacks the good children have
left him, get back up the chimney or back out the door, jump into the sleigh
and get on to the next house. Assuming each of these 330 MILLION stops
is evenly distributed around the landmass of the world (which we know is false, but accept to
make the calculations simpler), we are now looking at about **0.78 miles per
household; a total trip of 258 MILLION MILES**, not counting bathroom breaks
and watering the reindeer stops. This means that Santa's sleigh MUST move at
about **8.3 MILLION MPH or 2,300 miles per SECOND** – 3000 times the speed of sound. For purposes
of comparison, the fastest manmade vehicle, Voyager II, moves at a pokey 39
miles per second, and a conventional reindeer can run at best 15 miles an HOUR!

3. The payload of the sleigh adds another interesting element. Assuming that each
child gets nothing more than a medium sized Transformer© set of about 2 pounds and a small Spnge Bob Squarepants^{TM} hand puppet,
the sleigh is carrying over **825 THOUSAND TONS**, not counting the fat man
himself. On land, a conventional reindeer can pull only 300 pounds. Even
granting that these special reindeer could pull **100 times the normal amount,
the job would take 36,000 reindeer**. This, of course, increases the payload,
not counting the fat man, another 54,000 tons, or roughly 7 times the weight of
the QEII, the largest cruise ship on earth.
4. __880,000 TONS traveling at 2,300 MILES PER SECOND__ creates an
enormous air resistance – this would heat up the reindeer in the same fashion
as a shuttle reentering the atmosphere. The lead pair of reindeer would absorb **32
QUINTILLION (32,000,000,000,000,000,000) Joules of heat energy every second
each**! This is **6.4 x 10**^{19} WATTS of power – enough to light up the United
States for **55 MILLENIUM**! In short, they would burst into flames and
vaporize into plasma, the 4th State of Matter, instantaneously, exposing the
reindeer behind them and creating a deafening sonic boom in their wake which
would pulverize the remaining reindeer if they would, indeed, still be there.
The entire reindeer team would be vaporized within **0.000 426 seconds**, or
right about the time Santa reaches the 2^{nd} house of the trip. Not that this
matters however, since Santa as a result of the tremendous acceleration from
rest to 2,300 MILES PER SECOND in 1/3000th of a second would subject him to a **force
= 1.1 BILLION times the pull of gravity here on earth**! A 250 pound Santa, a
conservative estimate since that's my weight, would be pinned to the back of
the sleigh by **275,000,000,000 POUNDS** of force, instantly crushing his bones
and organs and reducing him to a quivering blob of pink goo.

5. Therefore, if Santa ever existed, he doesn't now.

6. But, we all know that Santa DOES EXIST and survives very well, thank you,
due to his special powers inherited from his home planet of Krypton.