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12th December 2014 at 00:00

Debunking Santa is a quantum menace

The article "Tis the season to kill Santa" (Professional, 5 December) produces a classical debunking of Santa Claus. But a physics teacher should know better than to attempt to apply such purely Newtonian arguments to a quantum entity.

Santa, or more properly a Saint-Nicholas Condensate, is a massively delocalised macroscopic quantum being. His wave-function encompasses the whole planet, except when it is rather inconveniently collapsed by an observation. Indeed, in the run-up to Christmas a large number of people are attempting to observe him and he is seen in all sorts of places, from shopping centres to street corners.

On Christmas Eve he both visits and doesn't visit every house; there is no need to travel between them. This only collapses to a definite state when the presents are observed, or not, in the morning. Errant children staying awake may well observe him, collapsing his waveform in odd places (presumably the origin of the chimney myth).

Obviously not all households receive presents, even those who are good. Perhaps somewhere in the multiverse there exists a universe where they all do.

Alasdair Shaw

Physics teacher and author of The Best Bits of Physics, Wellington, Somerset

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