## This One Is Rocket Science

As we all know, rockets are tricky. Many exceedingly smart people have spent a lot of time getting these canisters of controlled combustion (or "directed explosion tubes") to transport people and equipment off the surface of our planet to many other places safely. I don't plan on discussing all of how that works today, because I don't even understand all of how rockets work (there's physics, chemistry, (biology if you're bringing people) and some pretty intense math for some things). Instead, I'm going to go back to when putting a man-made satellite into orbit was but a distant dream, and discuss the rocket equation.

## Deku Lift

It's one week later, and I still find myself playing Breath of the Wild, so I'm going to continue with my theme of Zelda and lift physics from last week. However, as there really isn't much else to discuss about lift in Breath of the Wild, we're going to jump backwards in the series to my favorite 3D Zelda game: Majora's Mask. For the uninitiated, in Majora's Mask, there are two main mechanics to the game: looping time and transformation masks. We're going to focus on the second one, because one such transformation mask turns you into a creature which appears to be made of wood called a deku scrub, and, as a deku scrub, you can launch yourself into the air (with the assistance of flowers—if you haven't played it, just don't ask) and then hover around via two propeller-like flowers held above your head. I think you all know where this is going now...

## Paraglider Paraphysics

So, last Friday I got the Nintendo Switch, and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. At this point, I've put 30+ hours into the game, and I can say with some confidence that it's really, really good (not sure yet whether it beats my favorite Zelda games, Majora's Mask and A Link to the Past). Good enough that halting my playthrough of it to write up this post is torturous. But, Fizzix Phriday must go on, and there is one thing that has bothered me, in the back of my brain, about the much-touted physics engine of Breath of the Wild. So, to continue in the series of "Austin ruins everything," as I have already done with Mass Effect, The Flash, and Sonic the Hedgehog, I'm now going to nitpick away at some less-than great physics in Breath of the Wild. Because I wreck everything that I love.

## Pulsars

In 1967, Jocelyn Bell Burnell and Antony Hewish observed, in the night sky, strong radio pulses separated by 1.33 seconds, like some sort of cosmic alarm clock. While these radio bursts were all but certain to be natural, the source was named Little Green Men-1, or LGM-1. What Burnell and Hewish had, in fact, observed was what has come to be called a pulsar.

But what, exactly, is a pulsar? ...

## What Is Entropy?

What is entropy? The most common definition people tend to have for this is that it is the measurement of the disorder in a system. Some people who try to be too clever for their own good reply that it's the change in heat with respect to time divided by the absolute temperature (this is the thermodynamic definition of entropy, but my initial question was implied to be conceptual, so answering with a definition is just pedantic and showy). Really, entropy is a rather interesting concept, because the "disorder" definition, while it fits, really isn't the best way to explain it. So let's try to understand it better.

## The Most Important Woman in the History of Mathematics

Important contributions to physics don't always come from career physicists. The fields of theoretical physics and mathematics overlap, well, a lot. Theoretical physics is mainly math, and there are times when mathematicians contribute landmark theorems to physics. One such person, whom no-one ever seems to learn about in high school or even introductory college physics (I certainly had no idea this person existed until late in my physics education) was Emmy Noether. Described by such heavyweights like Albert Einstein, Norbert Wiener, and Hermann Weyl as "the most important woman in the history of mathematics," it's a bit surprising that more people don't know her name, or what she did. It may be due to the fact that her eponymous theorem in physics requires rather advanced physics and mathematics, but I'm going to endeavor to explain it anyway.

## Triple Point

Early on, everyone learns that there are three basic states of matter: solid, liquid, and gas. That's not entirely correct, as there are also fun things like plasma (the fourth state of matter) and not-quite-states like supercritical fluids, but it's correct and reasonable enough for us to go on. Also, usually, we think of these states as existing in a line: solid, at a high enough temperature, becomes a liquid; liquid, at a high enough temperature, transitions to a gas. We imagine these states to exist on a temperature line like so:

## The Meissner Effect, or How to Levitate a Magnet

Hello everyone, and welcome to another installment of "Cool Things About Superconductors." Oh, wait. That's not a thing I'm doing. Despite that, there are so many cool things about superconductors, and I'm going to cover one of them today (well, technically, one and a bit): the Meissner Effect. What is the Meissner Effect? Well, it's something that happens when a normal conductor hits its critical temperature. That temperature is the temperature that, below it, the ordinary run-of-the-mill conductor begins superconducting. This means that it goes from having a normal, everyday amount of resistance to electric currents, to having exactly zero resistance to electric currents. And while there are so many other cool things that happen as a consequence of this, we're going to talk about what happens right at that moment.

## Three Quarks for Hadron Mark

All the matter that is around you is made up of atoms. That's a pretty well-known fact at this point, and, while it gets increasingly interesting and strange the more you think about it (the properties of each different element are just functions of how many protons it has, which is pretty wild), an atom is not the fundamental unit of matter, as its name, derived from the Greek atomos, which means indivisible, would suggest. No, the physicist John Dalton disabused us of that notion back in the 1800s, and since then we have learned that an atom consists of three constituent particle types: protons, neutrons, and electrons. Hans Geiger, Ernest Marsden, and Ernest Rutherford came up with the model of an atom with those pieces (as covered in the very first Fizzix Phriday blog post), and that most of the mass of an atom...

## A Brief Future History of the Universe

Prior to this posts, I've discussed the history of the universe, as we currently can observe and understand it, up to present day (give or take a few million years). If you missed those, here's Part I and Part II, which will catch you up. But really, as cool as the history of the universe is (and it's pretty neat), I wrote those posts so that I could write this one, about what happens next. Fair warning, it's fairly bleak and existential, albeit fascinating. Now, with Halloween around the corner, I've got a scary story for you: how the universe will (likely) end.