Book review

The Indisputable Existence of Santa Claus

The Mathematics of Christmas

by Hannah Fry

The Indisputable Existence of Santa Claus by Hannah Fry

Very nice little book of mathematics, as applied to various Christmas problems.

Although this is in the long tradition of seasonal stocking-fillers, the execution was great: the maths was non-trivial, but not so hard as to require a degree in the subject (although there were extra-hard sums in the footnotes, where appropriate), and the whole subject was treated with the appropriate degree of tongue in cheek sillyness:

Maybe that’s how we should see Santa. An undecidable being. You can’t prove his existence one way or the other, you just have to close your eyes and decide for yourself.

In the meantime, everything from simple geometry to Markov chains was used to solve various seasonal sillynesses. Excellent!

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