Quantum Mechanics Saves Santa
The analysis about the death of Santa Claus, based on
classical physics, is seriously flawed owing to its neglect of
quantum phenomena that become significant in his particular case.
As it happens, the terminal velocity of a reindeer in dry December
air over the Northern Hemisphere (for example) is known with
tremendous precision. The mass of Santa and his sleigh (since the
number of children and their gifts is also known precisely, ahead
of time, and the reindeer must weigh in minutes before the flight)
is also known with tremendous precision. His direction of flight is,
as you say, essentially east to west.
All of that, when taken together, means that the momentum vector of
Mr Claus and his cargo is known with incredible precision. An
elementary application of Heisenberg's uncertainty principle yields
the result that Santa's location, at any given moment on Christmas
Eve, is highly imprecise. In other words, he is "smeared out" over
the surface of the earth, analogous to the manner in which an
electron is "smeared out" within a certain distance from the nucleus
in an atom. Thus he can, quite literally, be everywhere at any given
In addition, the relativistic velocities which his reindeer can attain
for brief moments make it possible for him, in certain cases, to arrive
at some locations shortly before he left the North Pole. Santa, in
other words, assumes for brief periods the characteristics of tachyons.
I will admit that tachyons remain hypothetical, but then so do black
holes, and who really doubts their existence anymore?
back to index...