Everyone knows the Santa Claus’s home. Even Christmas haters know that Santa lives in Lapland, at the North Pole. From there, every year, he travels with his sleigh pulled by flying reindeer to bring gifts to all the children of the world. But how does he do it? We’re talking billions of gifts in just a few hours. This may seem impossible in our world, but not in one governed by the laws of quantum physics. Therefore, one more piece of information should be added to Santa’s address: he is located in a hypothetical North Pole located in the quantum world.
There are many physicists who, in a friendly way, have calculated how Santa Claus could do his job in a quantum world. If you lived in ours, you would have to travel hundreds of millions of kilometers in 31 hours. The day is slightly longer than 24, but time changes must be taken into account. To get to everything, your sled would have to move at a speed 6,000 times greater than that of sound. Furthermore, he would submit to forces 17,500 times greater than gravity. It would literally be pulverized. But that’s not what happens at all.
Every year Santa Claus makes his journey without any problem and returns to his home at the North Pole to spend another 365 days of well-deserved rest. This would be possible in the quantum world, but let’s see why.
The Lapland of the quantum world
Before starting to talk about the physical properties of Santa Claus, it is important to make it clear that all these speculations have no real scientific validity. Santa Claus is a magical being, that’s all.
But, if the magic of Christmas were not involved, it is true that it would need a little quantum physics. And, possibly, it would move subject to something known as principle of quantum superposition.
This applies to elementary particles, but also to others that are somewhat more complex, such as photons. In general, it applies to any particle small enough to undergo the principles of quantum physics.
If this is true, a particle can be in several states at the same time. That means that it can have several energies or several positions at the same time, for example. It is explained very well with the mental experiment of Schrodinger’s cat.
This describes a cat locked in a box in which there is a radioactive substance and a bottle with poison. On top of the jar is a hammer, attached to an alpha particle detector. If the detector detects one of these particles, it will activate a mechanism by which the hammer falls on the bottle, releasing the poison. Those alpha particles could come from a radioactive substance that is also placed in the box. There is a 50% chance that one of the atoms of said substance will disintegrate, releasing alpha particles. In that case, the cat would die. If not, the cat would still be alive.
According to quantum physics and the principle of superposition, the cat would be alive and dead at the same time, since the particles of the radioactive substance can be in both states. Now, it is often said that this only happens while the box is closed. If it opens, the cat will be either dead or alive. And this also applies to Santa Claus.
Measurement breaks the magic
According to quantum physics, this principle of quantum superposition holds as long as no measurements are made. By measuring the state of the particles, only one can be detected. Therefore, when you open the box and look inside, the cat would be either alive or dead.
Despite the efforts that many children put into watching the fireplace on Christmas Eve, none of them have been able to see Santa Claus leaving the gifts. And thank goodness! If they did, quantum superposition would be broken and Santa could no longer be in two positions at once. That is, he could not simultaneously visit several houses, leaving gifts to all the children in the world. That’s why he hides so well.
A super shield to protect Santa’s sleigh
According to physicists at the University of Chicago, Santa Claus should carry an ion shield on his sleigh. These would be joined by a magnetic fieldwhich would surround the vehicle, preventing air friction from destroying it when moving at exorbitant speeds.
We have already agreed that Santa Claus can be in two places at the same time, but he better move quickly, just in case.
In short, we already know that Santa Claus lives in a quantum world. Perhaps, before leaving his little house at the North Pole, he will inject some Pym particles, like those of Antman, to become tiny and travel through that tiny world, governed by quantum physics. It is a quite interesting alternative to magic, we cannot deny it.