19 April 2018

World Cup Soccer Ball Physics

Last night's episode of StarTalk's Playing with Science got us primed for the World Cup, which begins in Russia on 14 June.  I was on during the last half hour or so of the show and talked about my latest published research.  My colleagues at the University of Tskuba in Japan, Takeshi Asai and Sungchan Hong, have worked with me on several research projects.  We showed in 2014 why Brazuca was superior to Jabulani, balls used in 2014 and 2010 World Cups, respectively, and we have just published research on the Telstar 18, which is this year's World Cup ball.  My colleagues got wind-tunnel data on the ball and I did all the data analysis and trajectory modeling.  It's a great partnership!  I discussed the aerodynamics of the new ball and compared it to Brazuca on last night's show.  Click on the link below to hear all about it.

I simply LOVE talking about sports physics, especially the flight of soccer balls.  It's too bad that Russia is a bit out of my travel range this summer.  I would love to see the new ball in action.  I will do like most of the world and watch on television.  The photo below (click on image for a larger view) shows me holding Brazuca (right hand) and Telstar 18 (left hand).  At $160 apiece, I'm glad that I don't have to buy the balls!
I thank John McCormick here at Lynchburg College for taking that photo.


  1. When is the research paper coming out?

  2. The online version is scheduled to be available any day now.