Taken in 1997, a year before the French won the World Cup, Brazilian Carlos's goal held France to a frustrating draw but, now, a group of French physicists – perhaps with a nostalgic eye to a happier time for French football – have computed the trajectory and shown that Carlos' goal was no fluke.
The research published today, Thursday 2 September, in New Journal of Physics (co-owned by the Institute of Physics and German Physical Society), explains why French goalkeeper Fabien Barthez made no move for the ball (but why a ball-boy ten metres from the goal did duck to safety) as the ball made a last moment sweep left and landed in the back of the net.
Using tiny plastic (polypropylene and polyacetal) balls and a slingshot, the French research team from the École Polytechnique in Palaiseau varied the velocity and spin of balls travelling through water to trace different trajectories.
While their research quickly confirmed the long-known Magnus effect, which gives a spinning ball a curved trajectory, their research revealed fresh insight for spinning balls that are shot over a distance equivalent to Roberto Carlos' free kick.
The friction exerted on a ball by its surrounding atmosphere slows it down enough for the spin to take on a greater role in directing the ball's trajectory, thereby allowing the last moment change in direction, which in the case of Carlos' kick left Barthez defenceless.
The researchers refer to their discovery as the 'spinning ball spiral', comparing the spiraling effects of Roberto Carlos's kick with the shorter-distance (20-25m) 'circular' free kicks shot by the likes of Beckham and Platini.
As Christophe Clanet and David Quéré, researchers from École Polytechnique, write, "When shot from a large enough distance, and with enough power to keep an appreciable velocity as approaching the goal, the ball can have an unexpected trajectory. Carlos' kick started with a classical circular trajectory but suddenly bent in a spectacular way and came back to the goal, although it looked out of the target a small moment earlier.
"People often noticed that Carlos' free kick had been shot from a remarkably long distance; we show in our paper that this is not a coincidence, but a necessary condition for generating a spiral trajectory."
The researchers' paper can be downloaded from Thursday 2 September 2010 here: http://iopscience.iop.org/1367-2630/12/9/093001.
Carlos' free kick can be seen on YouTube here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=30Vy5Fesy_E
Joe Winters | EurekAlert!
A quantum walk of photons
24.05.2017 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg
Scientists propose synestia, a new type of planetary object
23.05.2017 | University of California - Davis
Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.
The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....
An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.
We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...
Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.
Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...
An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...
In the race to produce a quantum computer, a number of projects are seeking a way to create quantum bits -- or qubits -- that are stable, meaning they are not much affected by changes in their environment. This normally needs highly nonlinear non-dissipative elements capable of functioning at very low temperatures.
In pursuit of this goal, researchers at EPFL's Laboratory of Photonics and Quantum Measurements LPQM (STI/SB), have investigated a nonlinear graphene-based...
24.05.2017 | Event News
23.05.2017 | Event News
22.05.2017 | Event News
24.05.2017 | Event News
24.05.2017 | Information Technology
24.05.2017 | Awards Funding