A scientist’s view on Santa Claus

As a boy in rainy Limerick, Ireland, little Barry Fitzgerald had lots of questions about Santa Claus. In his latest book ‘Secret Science of Santa Claus’ he provides the answers plus a sobering conclusion: Santa is way ahead of us.

Barry Fitzgerald: "I want to make science fun and interesting." (Photo: Jos Wassink)
Barry Fitzgerald: "I want to make science fun and interesting." (Photo: Jos Wassink)

'As you already know, Santa Claus uses his vast knowledge of the space-time continuum to create wormholes so that he can travel over large distances in an instant.'

Dr. Barry Fitzgerald (37) has no problem in combining exact science with absurd notions. In fact he immensely enjoys calculating the required speed for the reindeer-pulled sleigh in order to tour the world on Christmas Eve. Or explaining how reindeer use levitation to fly around. He also explains the perplexing fact that all Santas look a little different. They are the products of the advanced but as yet imperfect Multiple Helper Santa Clause (MHSC) system. Little deviations during the 3D bioprinting process result in various Helper Santa's thick and thin, large and small.

He explained: "I wanted to formulate answers to questions that my younger self would have been happy with. If you think about it, Santa Claus is a phenomenal figure. It's the first person to fly around the world. Because Santa stems from the 18th century, his reindeer sleigh isn't influenced by the airplane because the airplane didn't exist back then. So there are no wings on the sleigh because it predates the Wright Flyer I. That kind of stuck in my mind and I wanted to take Santa Claus from this 18th century character and bring him into the 21st century and put him ahead of us. Because in order to do all these things he accomplishes he just has to be far ahead of us."

"I also wanted to make science fun and interesting. To use Santa Claus to get across scientific concepts in a way that parents sit down and read the book to their kids. And that the kids get a huge interest in science. They may later remember that their interest began one day under the Christmas tree when they read about Santa Claus and his science."

Fitzgerald, who works as a researcher together with dr. Johan Padding at the process and energy department (Faculty 3mE), published his first book 'Secrets of Superhero Science' in February 2016. His books are available through his website bwscience.com and in the museum shop at the TU Science Centre.

Barry W. Fitzgerald, 'Secret Science of Santa Claus', BW Science 2016, 296 pages, 15,50 euro