The Science of Christmas


Posted: 21 June 2017 

To help get in the mood for the festive season, academics and students from the UCD College of Science contributed to the third annual "Science of Christmas" supplement in the Irish Independent.


Original artwork by Irene Sullivan


Will we have a White Christmas?
Eoghan Harney, an Irish Research Council scholar at the UCD School of Mathematics and Statistics, explains how numerical methods used in weather forecasts can help predict if there will be a White Christmas. ‌

Is it the same robin that returns to my garden?
Irene Sullivan, a final year Zoology student, gives some background on the friendly robin you will see in your back-garden this Christmas. 

Why does Rudolph love carrots?
Are you leaving a carrot out for Rudolph on Christmas Eve? Learn why from Irene Sullivan. 

Why do some animals sleep all winter?
Professor Emma Teeling from the UCD School of Biology and Environmental Science explains why we see robins on our cards instead of bats or hedgehogs. 

How does Santa organise his lists?
Dr Claire Gormley from the UCD School of Mathematics and Statistics and the Insight Centre for Data Analytics, uses the science of statistics to explain how Santa makes sure Rudolph isn't pulling a sleigh of presents that nobody wants. 


Original artwork by Irene Sullivan

The articles featured above were originally printed by the Irish Independent on 14 December 2015 in 'The Science of Christmas Supplement' edited by Ms Katherine Donnelly. The 'Science of Christmas' supplement was created in a partnership with the Irish Research Council. The artwork featured on this page is courtesy of UCD Zoology graduate Irene Sullivan.