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Name:  Miles
Status: student
Age: N/A
Location: NY
Country: US
Date: N/A

I placed three quarters touching in a row. While holding the middle one down very tightly, I hit it with one of the others and the remaining quarter moved. It even works with three3 quarters held down in between the two outer quarters. How does this work? Does some kind of energy pass through the stationary quarters? Is this related to Newton's Cradle?

Yes, it is exactly the same thing. The energy is not magical, its just small motions in a very high-rigidity linkage.
More rigid than your fingers that are holding it down. I bet you can feel a slight tick in your fingertips as the impacting quarter hits.
Take that as proof that the quarter you are holding down moved sideways by roughly 0.01mm or less, at a speed very similar to the two free quarters you saw moving.

Jim Swenson

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