How miraculous things happen with soccer ball

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Ever wondered how the world’s greatest soccer players were able to do miraculous things with the ball at their feet?

As the 2010 World Cup fever grips the entire world, an American scientist has made the aerodynamics (studying the motion of air when it interacts with a moving object) of the soccer ball a focus of his research.

In an article appearing in the magazine Physics Today this month, John Eric Goff explains how does one make a soccer ball do things that seem to defy the forces of nature.

Mr Goff, physics professor at Lynchburg College in Virginia, claimed that asymmetric air forces, design of the ball and surface roughness might have helped them do the magic.

His analysis leads to an understanding of how reduced air density in games played at higher altitudes — like those in South Africa — can contribute to some of the jaw-dropping ball movements already seen in this World Cup.

"The ball is moving a little faster than what some of the players are used to," says Mr Goff.

"On the field, the balls manoeuvre according to complicated formulae but these can be explained in terms that the average viewer can easily understand."

The outcomes of jaw-dropping soccer plays can be explained simply in terms of physics, said a release of the American Institute of Physics.

Mr Goff is also the author of the book, Gold Medal Physics: The Science of Sports, which uncovers the mechanisms behind some of the greatest moments in sports history.

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