How to Analyze a "Are These Values Equal?" Experiment

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Is the momentum before the collision equal to the momentum after the collision? Is the final mechanical energy equal to the initial mechanical energy? These are important questions - how do we answer them with, if not intelligence, then at least a little dignity?

Assuming that we have taken sufficient data, there are a couple of approaches:

So, which should you do? It wouldn't hurt much to do both, would it?

last update May 23, 2004 by JL Stanbrough