An interstellar passenger service which went bankrupt circa 2640. Beowulf Shaeffer had been chief pilot for this company when it went out of business, leaving him unemployed.
Reference: "Neutron Star", "Grendel"
The eighth planet in Sol System, a gas giant. Its largest moon is Nereid.
Reference:Ringworld ch. 4
Nereid, moon of Neptune (Sol VIII)
The larger of the two moons of Neptune, eighth planet of Sol System. The Outsiders rented it as a base, apparently not long after their first contact with Humans in 2409. In 2850 that base, still in use, had an extensive maze of low walls which the Outsiders used to bask in the sun, hemispherical buildings, and a cluster of small ground-to-orbit shuttles.
Nessus on the Ringworld
Art by John C. Atkeson & Mark Woolrich
Nessus— An insane Puppeteer, an agent for Puppeteer concerns in Human Space. A manic-depressive and said to be cursed with courage, Nessus was female, although following Puppeteer culture was referred to as "he" or "him" (see Puppeteers: Culture). He had a brown mane. In dealing with humans, "Nessus" adopted the name of a centaur from Greek mythology; his real name "sounded like a car crash set to music" "The Soft Weapon", Neutron Star p. 77.
Kzinti incident: In 2657 Nessus hired Jason Papandreou and his starship to contact the Outsiders. [Spoiler alert: "The Soft Weapon"] On the way home, they had a violent encounter with some Kzinti and a powerful Tnuctip spy weapon. During that encounter Nessus actually developed blood-lust and charged in to severely injure a Kzin by kicking him, although was quite ashamed of his aggression afterwards. It was suggested his shame was actually from enjoying it. See "The Soft Weapon" (story summary).
First Ringworld Expedition: In 2650, Nessus led the First Ringworld Expedition, recruiting Louis Wu, Speaker-To-Animals and Teela Brown as explorers. [Spoiler alert: Ringworld] During that expedition, he demanded breeding rights from those-who-lead-from-behind as his price for leading the expedition, and the (male) Hindmost agreed to be "his" mate. Nessus revealed that Puppeteers had manipulated Humans and Kzinti, leading Outsiders to provide Humans with the hyperdrive to enable Humans to win the Man-Kzin Wars, to halt Kzinti expansion and breed the Kzinti to be less aggressive. He also revealed he had headed the Puppeteer project which manipulated Earth's Fertility Board to change the Fertility Laws and create the Birthright Lottery. He claimed that Puppeteers regarded Humans as lucky, and wanted to use the Birthright Lottery to make them even luckier. Late in the expedition, one of his heads was cut off. See Ringworld (story summary).
Reference: "The Soft Weapon", Ringworld
Massless subatomic particles which travel at lightspeed and theoretically could penetrate, on average, several light-years’ thickness of lead before being stopped. Stasis fields and General Products hulls reflect all neutrinos. The Ringworld foundation material, approximately 50 feet of scrith, stops 40% of neutrinos. It appears that the percentage of neutrinos blocked varies by the thickness of the scrith.
Reference:Fleet of Worlds, Ringworld chs. 6, 8, 24
The ultra-dense, ultra-massive collapsed matter found at the heart of a neutron star. It is formed when a massive star burns out and collapses, causing its gravity to become so intense it "squeezes" atoms until the electrons combine with the protons, forming neutrons, which are packed much more densely than atoms in normal matter. See also neutronium "moon".
Reference: "Neutron Star", "There Is a Tide"
[Spoiler alert: "There Is a Tide"] In 2830 Louis Wu found a 10 foot sphere of neutronium orbiting an unnamed planet, which he believed was a piece of a smashed neutron star. It had a shiny, silvery appearance, and an estimated surface gravity of 10 million gees.