The fundamental rule of rocket science

The rocket scientist who taught me that most rocket science isn't rocket science also taught me the fundamental rule of rocket science:

Pointy end up.

Comments (23)
  1. Jim Lyon says:

    This reminds me of the two rules for aircraft pilots: Keep the pointy end forward and the dirty side down.

  2. nathan_works says:

    don’t look into the laser with your remaining good eye ?

  3. Matt says:

    The second fundamental rule: fire comes out the bottom.  If it comes out from anywhere else, you’re in trouble.

  4. Aaron says:

    Fundamental rule of Computer Science: Pointers end corrupt.

  5. Absotively says:

    Aaron: I’ve always thought it was "computers are stupid" (meaning, not capable of doing anything but following instructions)

  6. Aaron says:

    @Absotively: Sure, but that’s not phonetically similar enough to Raymond’s rule of rocket science to be a pun.

  7. Gabe says:

    I hope the rocket scientist who taught you the pointy-end-up rule doesn’t work on these rockets:

    I mean, c’mon, it’s not…oh..nevermind.

  8. Absotively says:

    @Aaron: D’oh!  I completely missed that.  I had a day off yesterday, so today feels like Monday to me.  And apparently, on Mondays I need jokes explained.  Thanks.

  9. mikeb says:

    Gwendolyn, waitress at Flintstone’s drive-in, musing about a career change:

    > Daisy and I want to get into something else… like the guided missiles and stuff.

    We hear they’re going places. <<

  10. Marquess says:


    I always draw a distinction between rockets (which are aimed upwards) and missiles (which are, hopefully, aimed at the enemy).

    In unrelated news: Guided missiles aren’t.

  11. manyirons says:


    > In unrelated news: Guided missiles aren’t.

    Maybe that’s why they’re called "miss"iles.

  12. BlackWasp says:

    Is the other rule for pilots:

    "Push forward, ground gets bigger. Pull back, ground gets smaller. Unless you pull back for too long."

  13. Mihailik says:

    To the discussion on rocket scientists v. brain surgeons.

  14. Mihailik says:

    To the discussion on rocket scientists v. brain surgeons.

  15. Gabe says:

    Marquess: So the scientists who work on horizontally-flying rockets aren’t performing rocket science?

  16. Worf says:

    @Blackwasp: I heard it as "Push stick – buildings get bigger. Pull stick – buildings get smaller. Pull stick too long, though, buildings get bigger in a hurry!"

    Or, the other way, which is good for student pilots, is "shiny side up".

  17. Dale says:

    Fundamental rule of Motorcycling: Rubber-side down


    Apparently that’s a fundamental rule for the folk who attach the shuttle to its carrier aircraft, so they have a reminder on the mounting point.

  19. Chris J says:

    @Dale – Or more commonly “shiny side up” :-)

  20. Marquess says:


    Ok, the big difference is: If a rocket malfunctions, something expensive gets blow’d up. If a missile malfunctions, something expensive *doesn’t* blow up. So the stakes are somewhat higher for rocket scientists than for, uh, missile scientists. (Unless you’re Wernher von Braun, in which case you just find yourself a new country)

  21. James Schend says:

    Mihailik: The best thing about that skit is how obvious the punchline is, and how you can see it coming from a mile away– yet it’s still hilarious somehow.

    I love Mitchell and Webb.

  22. Olivier says:

    @Dale : and for certain kind of "actors" : Rubber-side up

  23. Dan says:

    My dad used to launch model rockets, I am sure he will get a kick out of this…

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