Searching for Top

How do today's scientists use conservation of momentum?

Working with Vectors

Top Home - Find the Mass

Your task is find the magnitude of the all the momenta.

A vector diagram shows the angle and magnitude of the momentum for the particles that came from the collision.


Sample: Vector Diagram of an Event

To make a vector diagram for your data, establish a baseline on the plot. Place the 0-180 degree line of the protractor on the baseline. Measure and record the angular direction of each particle momentum using your protractor.

The length of the vector is determined by the magnitude of the momentum printed on the plots. Include an arrowhead to show the direction of the momentum.

Where's the momentum of the neutrino? This is where conservation of momentum comes in.

The total momentum of the system – the proton and antiproton – before the collision is zero, and it must be zero after the collision. We need to sum the momenta.

Forget how to add the vectors? Place them end to end in the direction of the momentum. This means that an arrowhead will be touching a plain end.


Sample: Adding Vectors