Machine Design

The Science of Santa Claus

If you're skeptical of Santa's abilities to deliver presents to millions of homes and children in just one night, North Carolina State University's Dr. Larry Silverberg, professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, can explain the science and engineering principles that could allow Santa to pull off the magical mission.

Julie Kalista
Online Editor

Santa's little helpers are much smarter than they appear, possessing advanced knowledge of electromagnetic waves, the space/time continuum, nanotechnology, genetic engineering, and computer science.

As for Santa knowing what all those children want for Christmas, Silverberg says that the jolly elf has a listening device that combines technologies currently used in cell phones and EKGs. A sophisticated signal processing system filters the data, giving Santa clues on who wants what, where the children live, and of course who's been naughty or nice. An onboard sleigh guidance system provides Santa with the most efficient delivery route.

So how does he crisscross 200 million square miles, stopping at 80 million homes in just one night? Easy says Silverberg, Santa uses his knowledge of the space/time continuum to form "relativity clouds." "Santa recognizes that time can be stretched like a rubber band, that space can be squeezed like an orange and that light can be bent," Silverberg says. "Relativity clouds are controllable domains rips in time that allow him months to deliver presents while only a few minutes pass on Earth. The presents are truly delivered in a wink of an eye."

This same "relativity cloud" technology also allows Santa to "morph" into peoples homes (although he does enjoy climbing downing a chimney every now and then) where he sets up his workshops. Using nano-toy-making technology, he creates presents atom by atom out snow and soot, much like DNA can command the growth of organic material like tissues and body parts.

"This is our vision of Santa's delivery method, given the human, physical, and engineering constraints we face today," Silverberg says. "Children shouldn't put too much credence in the opinions of those who say it's not possible to deliver presents all over the world in one night. It is possible, and it's based on plausible science."

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