The curated Xmas review

The science of Christmas has become one of the most popular angles adopted in recent news stories in the mainstream press. The Euroscientist team has made a selection from the restricted pool of publications available in English, for your greatest entertainment.

Some seasonally relevant activities reported in the press include the lighting of Christmas tree illuminated by lights made of 1,000 Brussels sprouts, in the Southbank area of London, UK.

Further coverage, related to the science of the Christmas tree, tells us how some scientists from Washington State University, in the USA, are breeding the Christmas trees of the future, to be resistant to diseases and still look nice. For those of you who need tips on how to choose next year’s Christmas tree, you may adopt the help of a rational decision-making tree.

Other science stories focus on the fact that Christmas often equates with eating abundantly. One newspaper focused on the science of satiety. Meanwhile, a medical journal evaluated the survival of chocolate boxes in hospital wards, where the median survival time of a chocolate was 51 minutes.

The green-minded community, out there, is only too keen to remind us of the carbon footprint of Santa’s trip. Another story evaluates the impact of climate change and the chances that it will prevent future traditional Christmases from happening.

For others, there is no Christmas without going back to the original story. One newspaper has seen it useful to correct the scientific accuracy of the nativity story. One study goes as far as accounting the number of self-reported virgin births in the US.

Now, onto Santa Clause, or Father Christmas, as he is also known.

Some back-of-an envelope calculations, make Santa Clause capable of visiting 5,556 homes a second and eating 150 billion calories. Besides, some respond to sceptics suggesting Santa cannot possibly exist by looking into the physics of Santa. The article concludes that “Santa exists as certainly as the Higgs Boson and subatomic particles that travel the wrong direction in time exist.”

Finally, for those who are keen to have up-to-the-second estimates of Santa’s position, the ultimate tool remains the Santa tracker.

Enjoy!! Feel free to write to us, tweet and forward a link to this article. It is for all to share.

We will come back on the 6th of January with an article praising incompetence! Definitely a promising start for 2014!

Featured image credit: CC BY-SA 2.0 by Aimee White

Article research by Johanka Hradecka

Sabine Louët

Former editor at EuroScientist
Sabine has a passion for all things related to European research. A physicist by training, she has been covering stories in life science, the physical sciences, technology, policy and innovation for the past 20 years. She was previously the news editor at Nature Biotechnology. She was also involved in the creation of AlphaGalileo. She is the Founder of SciencePOD translating complex science and tech concepts into high-quality articles written in simple language.
Sabine Louët

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