Miracles happen over and over again. Even in the sport which the Germans love the most – soccer. But when the ball flies in a curve and hits the goal it has nothing to do with magic powers. Here it is rather a question of physical powers taking effect. And these powers can be calculated. That is what Metin Tolan, professor for experimental physics at the Universität Dortmund, is convinced about. With that he clearly disagrees with Rudi Assauer who once said: “Soccer is unpredictable”.
With his special lecture during the summer term Professor Tolan is on the track of selected phenomena in soccer. In view of the World Championship the 40year-old prolongs his regular lecture about quantum mechanics by half an hour. His students can find out all about a curving cross, for example.
Tolan knows that “Balls with a strong spin fly around corners”. That is due to air friction, (head-)wind and gravitation effecting the ball. When the ball is strongly cut with a spin of about five rotations it can move five meters sideward and with ten rotations about ten meters. Physicists call this the Magnus-Effect: Overpressure pushes the ball sideward so that it flies in a curve – preferably hitting the goal. The Brazilian Roberto Carlos, for example, succeeded in doing this in a game against France in 1997. The more the ball rotates the stronger the effect.
Ole Luennemann | alfa
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