I don't know where to start with the plot of the movie *Captain Marvel*. Let me just get to the important stuff with minimal spoilers. Carol Danvers is a superhero (Captain Marvel) and she knows the coordinates of the secret Mar-Vell lab. When some other people finally get these coordinate numbers, they figure it out. They don't give the location of the lab, they give the state vectors for the lab.

So, what the heck are state vectors? In physics, we like to describe systems. If that system was a ball, one obvious way would be to say exactly where the ball is located. It would have some position value in the same way that your phone has a GPS location. But there are other ways to describe everything there is to know about the ball (we call this the state). Yes, like a state vector. Also, if you know the state vector for a hidden lab in space could you find it? Don't worry, I'm going to explain all of this.

Here is a fairly straightforward situation. It's a mass connected to a spring such that it oscillates back and forth. Here is what this looks like. (Yes, you can make an animation like this in GlowScript Python—here's the code.)

How can you represent the motion of this oscillating mass if you don't want to use an animation? Since it's in one dimension, it's possible to make a plot of the x position as a function of time. That would look like this.