Professor of Advanced Mathematics at Oxford University, Sir Ian Napton, believes he  has discovered a completely new number.

Sir Ian’s deep fascination for all things numerical includes his financial details. He recorded his account balances, monies spent and the amount remaining. Although the initial balance and spending figures were correct, the final balance never matched the money on account.

It didn’t matter how many times he entered and re-entered the figures he could never get the sums to add up.

“I was puzzled, this shouldn’t happen. I meticulously accounted for every penny, including secret santa, drinks in the Broken Drum, my little treat, family presents and new a pair of socks for the University Ball. Somehow I was broke, it was all gone. I know Lady Napton shopped at Waitrose, but really there should  have been something left.” 

Then Eureka! Sir Ian wondered, what if there was a Xmas Number? with special, almost magical properties. Unlike standard numbers, 1,2,3,4… etc this number did not have a fixed value, its degree of variability increased depending on the number of operations used.

He hypothesised that the number may even be quantum, the more you look at it the more uncertain it becomes.

The defining characteristic of  The Napton Number is that its value will always be inversely proportional to the amount of money you have left .

Its expected to open new fields of study into expectation and uncertainty, revolutionising our understanding of government economics, polling figures, currency conversion and builders estimates.

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Written by Joe The Greek

Joe The Greek is a man of many words and considerable girth. Never shy when it comes to the bar and buffet table.