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Leicester physics students prove Santa's Christmas magic is real

They've ‘proven’ that Santa’s magic is actually real.

Physics students at the University of Leicester have 'proven' that there is such a thing as the mind-bending concept of Santa's Christmas sorcery.

In the wake of calculating how much energy Santa needs to make his yearly outing all over the planet. They also included how much energy he would take in from all the mince pies and treats left out for him.

The students found the equation was missing a crucial element – which could only be explained by Santa’s Christmas magic.

Dr Mervyn Roy is Director of Learning and Teaching in the School of Physics and Astronomy and editor-in-chief of the University’s Journal of Physics Special Topics, which the students' work was published in.

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.”

The Kinetic Energy Model

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 10 27Joules.

If each house gives Santa two 20g cookies, a 25 g glass of milk and one carrot for each reindeer, this would generate only 1.723 x 10 26J – leaving a net energy of around 1.25 x 10 27J 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.


Levitha is a broadcast journalism graduate, currently studying MA International Media and Communication Studies at the University of Nottingham. Having lived in three countries and being fluent in three languages, she's passionate about global journalism. She's recently finished an internship with Niche Magazine and also runs her own blog, Levitha Mariam.


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