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Math Science

Mathematicians Solve the Topological Mystery Behind the "Brazuca" Soccer Ball 144

Posted by timothy
from the nature-is-scrambling-to-keep-up dept.
KentuckyFC (1144503) writes "In the 1970 World Cup in Mexico, teams used a new kind of ball called the Telstar made from 12 black pentagonal panels and 20 white hexagonal panels. This ball has icosahedral symmetry and its own molecular analogue in the form of C60, the famous soccer ball-shaped fullerene. In 2006, a new ball called the TeamGeist was introduced at the World Cup in Germany. This was made of 14 curved panels that together gave it tetrahedral symmetry. This also had a molecular analogue with tetrahedral symmetry among the fullerenes. Now teams at the current World Cup in Brazil are playing with yet another design: the Brazuca, a ball constructed from six panels each with a four-leaf clover shape that knit together like a jigsaw to form a sphere. This has octahedral symmetry. But here's question that has been puzzling chemists, topologists and..errr...soccer fans: is there a molecular analogue of the Brazuca? Or put another way, can fullerenes have octahedral symmetry? Now a pair of mathematicians have finally solved this problem. They've shown that fullerenes can indeed have octahedral symmetry just like the Brazuca, although in addition to hexagonal and pentagonal carbon rings, the ball-shaped molecules must also have rings of 4 and 8 carbon atoms. The next stage is to actually synthesis one of these fullerenes, perhaps something to keep chemists occupied until the 2018 World Cup in Russia."
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Mathematicians Solve the Topological Mystery Behind the "Brazuca" Soccer Ball

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  • Re:why new balls (Score:4, Informative)

    by _anomaly_ (127254) <anomaly.geekbits@com> on Thursday July 10, 2014 @09:58AM (#47424259) Homepage

    Good question, but I'd argue it's more about shot selection than anything. Most of those goals were well beyond the 18 (the penalty box). If you're comparing to recent games (yeah, I'm in the US, I still call them games, shoot me), like in the World Cup, you see very few shots outside the 18. An extreme example would be the Netherlands-Argentina game where they both played very defensive games. Even in games like Germany-Brazil, it seemed Germany was more about finesse and getting the ball deep inside the box to increase chances of the shot going in the back of the net. Even on free kicks near the 18, not many are even an attempt on goal, but rather crosses.

    I used to play, and IMHO shot shaping is more about technique (and shot selection) than the design of the ball. You'll notice in your video a lot of them were hit with the outside of the foot, right or left, and that's the easiest way to get it to curve to the outside. You don't see many players these days even attempting those.

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