The Science of Santa Claus

We’re making a list, we’re checking it twice, we’re going to find out all about the science of Santa Claus!! Join Midlands Science on Monday December 13th at 7pm for some special Christmas science with superhero scientist Dr Barry Fitzgerald. We all know that on Christmas Eve, Santa Claus sets out to do a huge job, delivering presents to millions of children. It’s a monumental task and it wouldn’t be possible without Santa’s top secret advancements in science and engineering. In this unique event, you’ll learn all about the incredible science of Santa’s journey. We will also explore questions such as how does the sleigh fly sustainably ? How does Santa avoid flying through bad weather ? Where are Santa’s workshops in the Arctic Circle ? Also, what food and drinks should you leave out for Santa on Christmas Eve? – Book your place now at this event!

There’s so much science to explore with Christmas. Santa Claus’s bright red coat and white fur trimmings may be in honour of the white-speckled, red-capped mushroom we know so well from fairy tales. Freshly picked fly agaric contains ibotenic acid, which converts to muscimol when the mushroom is dried. This is a powerful hallucinogen, which interacts with recep tors in the brain resulting in hallucinations. In the past, Shamans of the tribes that herd reindeer in Siberia and Lapland would collect the mushrooms and carefully prepare them to optimise the mind-enhancing properties – and minimise the other dangerous toxins within the mushroom (of which there are several). At that time, the shamans believed they could use the mushrooms to travel to the spirit realm in search of answers to local problems, such as a sudden outbreak of illness. The effect of the muscimol gave the impression of flying out through the chimney of the shaman’s abode and travelling to the spirit world where they could seek advice. Muscimol passes through the body relatively unchanged which means that the shaman’s urine also had potent hallucinogenic properties. Reindeer happening upon these patches of yellow snow left by the shaman might well jump and skip around in the snow, off their antlers on mind-altering drugs. Perhaps, even, as they jumped up in the air, the sun in the northern regions would be low in the sky, silhouetting them in a characteristic flying pose .

Oh and don’t forget you can track Santa using the Santa Norad tracker !! https://www.noradsanta.org/