Your science stocking fillers!
UOM life 16th December 2020
Ho ho ho…ly bunsen burner it’s almost Christmas!
And like Santa’s elves scrabbling round to get everyone’s presents ready for Christmas Eve, we’ve rummaged through our archives and collated our favourite science-themed Christmas videos – old and new, just for you. From evaluating the environmental impact of your Christmas tree to assessing the aerodynamics of Santa’s sleigh, it’s all here in our content stocking.
So put down the eggnog, roll up your (lab coat) sleeves, and dig in!
Santa Claus is comin’ to town… but how?
Are you planning to leave out mince pies (and maybe a little brandy) for Santa this Christmas? How about some carrots for his tireless reindeer? Well, Dr Nicholas Bojdo and Dr Ben Parslew have handily calculated how many carrots Rudolph and friends will require on Christmas Eve… and it looks like we might need a bigger plate!
Rudolph the Hard-Working Reindeer
Speaking of reindeer, we know that Dasher can dash and Prancer can prance, but do they have the physical capacity to actually pull (the not-so-inconsiderable weight of) Santa and his sleigh? Luckily, Dr David Gelsthorpe is on-hand to answer this question, and more, ahead of the big day.
It’ll be cold, so cold…
And what of Santa himself? Surely he must get cold travelling so far, at such altitude, during the winter? Professor Henry Li looks into the science behind Santa’s suit, and the intelligent multilayer garments he might wear to make things a little warmer, comfier and more efficient when taking to the sky.
You better watch out!
I don’t know about you, but when I was little I’d be up, face pressed against the window, eyes searching the night sky for a glimpse of Santa and his reindeer. I never saw him… but the presents would always appear the next day. Which makes you wonder, why can’t we see him flying by? Dr Jonny Huck – with the help of his inflatable globe – explains all.
What could be more exciting than writing a list of everything your heart desires and sending it off to someone who – if you had been a good boy or girl – could make those dreams come true? Less exciting, I imagine, would be the prospect of reading all those millions of letters. Could data mining make the whole thing more efficient for Santa? Dr Riza Batista-Navarro finds out…
Which to take? Real or fake?
Decorating the Christmas tree is an important ritual for many. We won’t get into the debate about when this should be done (we’re not that brave), but Professor Giles Johnson is here to offer insight into which type of Christmas tree is best for the environment. So, what will it be: real or fake?
“O Christmas tree…”
Apparently people used to decorate their Christmas trees with apples and ‘sweetmeats’. I’m not sure how that would go down in our household to be honest, but I do know that the history of the Christmas tree is a fascinating one. Dr Thomas Nuhse explains why we should be saying danke to Germany for one of our favourite Christmas traditions.
Under the mistletoe
We’re not sure how much kissing will take place under the mistletoe this year, what with social distancing and all, but the plant’s association with Christmas is undoubted. How much do we really know, however, about mistletoe? Did you know, for example, that it’s actually classed as a parasite? Professor Simon Turner explains…
Pass the stuffing
New research involving The University of Manchester has questioned whether the way we cook our Christmas dinner could help to save the planet. Another thing to remember as we gather round the table is food waste. Professor Amanda Bamford offers some important advice on how to keep waste to a minimum, while still enjoying that most anticipated of meals!
And that’s it… you’ve reached the bottom of our science stocking! Have a wonderful, science-filled Christmas, from The Hub!
Words: Joe Shervin
Video edits: Kory Stout
Aerospace and Civil EngineeringChemical EngineeringChemistryChristmasclimate changeComputer ScienceEarth and Environmental SciencesElectrical and Electronic EngineeringengineeringMaterialsMaterials Science and TextilesMathematicsMechanical Aerospace and Civil EngineeringPhysics and Astronomyscience