03 September 2010

The Physics of Spectacular Free Kicks

A group of French physicists have reconciled the apparently impossible via science to explain Roberto Carlos' spectacular free kick against Les Blues in 1997 (above).  Contrary to popular wisdom, Brazilian soccer players are in fact also governed by the laws of physics.


  1. Nice kick, but as any baseball fan would know, curveballs aren't apparently impossible, and the associated physics have been known for a good long time

  2. Amazing shot but this is the ultimate in Monday Morning Quarterbacking. It also doesn't explain how come the goalie didn't move a goddamn centimeter.

  3. As Robert -1- noted:


    The first sentence of the subject paper here says:

    "Abstract. We discuss the trajectory of a fast revolving solid ball moving in a fluid of comparable density."

    The "fluid of comparable density" might be the new part, but I'm not certain.

    However, two-phase flows or, more generally, multi-phase flows, have been the subjects of research for many many decades. Pre-dating all this stuff. Google it.

    Multi-phase, multi-scale, multi-physics rules !