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Galileo's Measurement of g

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This lab has two parts:

I. The first part duplicates an experiment performed by Galileo (and described in Two New Sciences) to confirm that the distance travelled by a falling object starting from rest is proportional to the square of the elapsed time of fall. The experiment consists of rolling a steel ball down an inclined channel track and making measurements of distance travelled vs time. Time intervals are measured with a water clock. The distance travelled is then plotted against the time squared. An experimental value of g is computed from the slope of the graph

II. Part two uses the spark timers and falling weights from the Kinematic Data lab to measure the same quantities.

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Student Handouts


Number of set-ups available: 5

Per lab station:

1 rail track apparatus
1 water jug
1 2 meter meterstick
1 ruler
1 roll of masking tape
1 stopwatch
2 ring stands
2 ring stand clamps
1 bar
1 bucket
1 sponge
1 1" steel ball
1 balance/standard mass set
1 large beaker
1 ball stop

General class supplies: (5 setups)

1 spark timer
1 level
3 hooked weights (200, 50 and 20 g)
1 roll of spark paper
1 C-clamp
2 3-pronged clamps
2 ring stand clamps
1 long metal bar
1 alligator clip
1 1-holed paper punch
1 box with foam cushion
1 roll of scotch tape



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Site contact: largent@Dartmouth.EDU

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