Leicester Physics students ‘prove’ Santa’s Christmas magic is REAL

A group of Physics students at the University of Leicester have ‘proved’ that there is such a thing as Santa’s Christmas magic.

After calculating the amount of energy Santa needs to make his annual trip around the world and how much energy he would take in from all the mince pies and cookies left out for him, the students discovered the equation was missing a crucial portion – which could only be explained by Santa’s Christmas magic.

Using a simplified kinetic energy model, the team calculated that the amount of energy needed to power Santa’s sleigh around the world uses energy equalling 1.42 x 1027 J.

If each house gives Santa two 20 g cookies, a 25 g glass of milk and one carrot for each reindeer, this would generate only 1.723 x 1026 Joules – leaving a net energy of around 1.25 x 1027 J unaccounted for.

In a research paper published in the University’s Journal of Physics Special Topics, the students surmise that this missing energy can, therefore, only be explained by Christmas magic.

Adam Hennessy is one of the co-authors of the study and is now a Research Postgraduate within the School of Physics and Astronomy. He said: “We were astounded at the result of our paper! It’s hard for us to grasp where this energy is coming from. We would love to develop our model and conduct further research on the so-far under-studied concept of Christmas magic.”

Santa Doesn’t Eat All the Treats’ is published in the Journal of Physics Special Topics.

The Journal of Physics Special Topics is an in-house journal from the University of Leicester which enables undergraduate Physics students to learn about the process of peer review by writing and reviewing papers by applying theoretical concepts to light-hearted ideas.

Other topics covered include the science behind film favourites like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark, plus what Formula One could look like on the surface of Mars.

Dr Mervyn Roy is Director of Learning and Teaching in the School of Physics and Astronomy and editor-in-chief of the journal. He said: “Our student-led journal can be great fun – but it also gives students a really good grounding for real science. They have to think creatively, solve problems and write articles – and they’re involved in managing the whole journal process. It’s great experience.”