Scientist at the OPERA (Oslo Polar Electromagnetic Resonance Analyser) in Norway have detected the common reindeer, Rangifer tarandus, travelling faster than the speed of light. A fundamental law of physics, proposed by Albert Einstein, is that nothing is able to travel faster than 299,792,458 meters per second.
The OPERA is part of a lesser known collaboration between Scandinavian scientific research institutes known as CERN (Centre for the Experimentation of the Real and Not-real). OPERA falls safely into the “N” category. OPERA lies 1,400 metres beneath the University of Oslo’s department of Theoretical Astrophysics. This latest experiment was a combined effort between the University’s Astrophysics department, who designed the 1800 tonne detector (an array of electronics and carrots that reindeer are found of), maintain the 73km track which the reindeer travel along and analyse the complex results once the Reindeer reach the detector, and the University’s Animal Management department who supplied the carrots.
The reindeer were released from the starting point with cries of “Now Dasher! Now Dancer! Now, Prancer and Vixen! On Comet! On Cupid! On Donder and Blitzen!” and then proceeded to travel the 73km to the detector attracted by the smell of carrots. The reindeer were recorded arriving 60ns faster than a photon travelling the same distance. Professor Clement Moore, the head of the research team which announced the finding, has said the discovery is “shocking”.
If the findings are true then the ramifications are massive for not only physics, with the dismissal of their oh-so-precious special relativity, but also for the (arguably more important) question of Santa’s existence. Asantists often suggest that it is physically impossible for Santa to travel quick enough to deliver the billions of presents in a single night. They are also quick to claim that the burden of proof lies with the followers of Father Christmas, so have not bothered to prove that Santa cannot perform these miracles.
Professor Moore was quick to point out that if the results are true then they provide a theoretical basis for Santa’s quick movement. Quantum theory shows that reindeer are linked to other particles, Santa’s Sleigh, by the Whimsical Noël Force (WNF) and thus, if reindeer are able to move faster than the speed of light, so is Santa’s Sleigh.
Modern day Scrooge Neil deGrasse Tyson has proposed that if a Sleigh were to move at such a speed it should emit a cone of radiation, which has yet to be observed. Moore was quick to provide an answer “…my colleagues and I suggest that the presents dispensed are equivalent to the radiation suggested [by Tyson], assuming of course E still equals MC2… we are looking to disprove the rest of Einstein’s theories by next week.”
Tyson, who one can imagine will be receiving coal this Christmas as punishment for his disbelief, fired off another criticism stating that if presents were given out the overall mass of the Sleigh would decrease breaking the “conservation of mass” law. Professor Moore, like any good scientist, was quick to get the facts to fit his theory as opposed to the old fashioned (some would say repressive) method of getting theory to fit facts. Moore has suggested that the mince pies consumed by Santa keep the overall mass constant.
Moore, ever humble, admits that his team are “not entirely sure” of the results but express a certain level of confidence since they have repeated the experiment “at least twelve times”. There are plans to repeat the experiment sending the reindeer as a pulse (e.g. Donder and Blitzen) instead of a continuous group allowing for more accurate measurements.
Professor Moore released one final statement, “Whether we prove Santa’s existence today or tomorrow it does not matter, for we are certain that Santa exists: in the smile of every child, the first snowflake of winter and in the heart of every good person.”
Is getting so much compressed organic material this year.