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Hours spent on ukulele + number of socks owned: the hipster equations we can work with

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a hipster. ‘Generic phase transition’ … a hipster. Photograph: Adam Berry/Getty Images

Maths can do many wonderful things, such as state Frey–Hellegouarch’s eliptic curve as y2 = x (x − ap)(x + bp), or work out if you’ve got enough change left for a pint of Guinness. Perhaps most importantly of all, maths can now calculate why young adults likes to grow beards and wear oversized lumberjack shirts. At least that is what Jonathan Touboul, a mathematical neuroscientist at the Collège de France in Paris, reckons with a new theory that claims to explain why hipsters, hellbent on individualism, often end up copying all the other hipsters’ style. It’s apparently all to do with “statistical physics”, “generic phase transition” and trends “evolving in time as a periodic function”. This is clearly too confusing for the Guardian, which is why we decided to make our own hipster equations instead. Although, as any self-respecting hipster would tell you, mathematics really started to downhill after the clay tablets of the Cuneiform script …

Equation 1

(Percentage area of neck covered in tattoo ink) / λ + (Pairs of socks owned + Albums owned on CD format) x 100 = Percentage chance of being able to hold an informed discussion on the emerging dancehall scene in Pyongyang

Equation 2

π x Annual days off work with wheat gluten intolerance = Likely number of football games watched tracking the pass completion stats of winger in mid-table team in Bundesliga 2

Equation 3

Ukulele use. The vinyl won’t be far away … a ukulele. Photograph: Kathryn Scott Osler/Denver Post via Getty Images

Expected number of beanie hats owned = (percentage of music collection played on portable vinyl player / distance from nearest microbrewery in km)u

Where “u” is the amount of time in hours spent playing ukulele this month

Equation 4

(Maximum amount willing to pay street vendor for basic noodle lunch x Number of words learned in Czech specifically for watching non-subtitled art house films) = Likelihood of gentrifying next area you move to

Equation 5

a fixed gear bike and its bearded owner. In search of a flat white … a fixed gear bike and its owner. Photograph: Alamy

(Bristle count of non-Movember moustache x Time in seconds spent sneering over a Guardian article about hipster equations) / Number of gears on bicycle = Amount in £ willing to pay for flat white made purely from Thai elephant dung beans

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