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## Mathematicians Solve the Topological Mystery Behind the "Brazuca" Soccer Ball144

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

• #### And another question (Score:5, Insightful)

on Thursday July 10, 2014 @09:28AM (#47423635) Homepage

Which ball is the best for the players?

Personally I prefer the Telstar.

• #### Re:why new balls (Score:5, Insightful)

by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 10, 2014 @09:56AM (#47423817)

Comparing stats when the balls have different characteristics like how smoothly they'll roll, air resistance etc must be the explanation for soccer riots.

No, the lack of any sort of concept of what's really important and what isn't causes ALL sports related riots.

Seems most of the point of team sports is for the mediocre to identify with something bigger and more glorious than their own lives and then to cling to that constructed image fiercely, as though the effort they expend in doing so is proof of its reality. Hence they say "WE won" when they themselves were not out on that field because it has become an extension of their ego. Fighting and rioting over it also provides the assumption that something important must be going on. Something worth fighting and rioting over. It's false of course. It appeals to people who have no concept of the profound, the sacred, or the meaningful.

• #### FOOTBALL... NOT "SOCCER"!!! (Score:1, Insightful)

by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 10, 2014 @10:04AM (#47423873)

The game is called FOOTBALL, not "soccer". Now that you -in the USA (you were good enough in the Mundial, as my national team Greece was, congratulations)- start to learn about it and realize that it's played mostly with the ball in the foot... stop calling your rugby "football" (change it to something like, e.g., American rugby) and start calling football by it's name: FOOTBALL
(and it's time to adopt the metric system...)

• #### Re:Brasil futbol is national disgrace. (Score:2, Insightful)

by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 10, 2014 @10:06AM (#47423885)

Simple. He'll run around the lumbering heart attack who won't be able to move as fast thanks to inertia. Besides, the "play", such as it is, in American "football" stops every 5 seconds, I doubt your 300 pound piece of spray cheese can run much longer than that.

• #### Re:Brasil futbol is national disgrace. (Score:2, Insightful)

<martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Thursday July 10, 2014 @10:26AM (#47424023) Homepage Journal

Besides, the "play", such as it is, in American "football" stops every 5 seconds, I doubt your 300 pound piece of spray cheese can run much longer than that.

Even though they never actually run for very long on the field, they still have to be able to pass a fairly strict standard in training. They want guys that they don't have to worry about, because what they're doing is strenuous and dangerous, and they will still have to worry about them — if only as assets. If you put futbol players in a handegg game they would be fucking evaporated. If you put handegg players in a futbol game most of them would be fairly cumbersome, but any "accidental" contact would still be likely to result in a futbol player injury.

Don't get it twisted, handegg players are amazing athletes, even the ones shaped like a brick.

• #### Is it too much to ask... (Score:5, Insightful)

on Thursday July 10, 2014 @11:52AM (#47424653)

In an article about a breakthrough in molecular topology, I'm currently seeing, while browsing at 2,

-7 comments about the relative merits of the soccer balls that inspired this discovery,
-6 comments condemning sports fans in general and soccer ball buyers in particular,
-4 comments whining about the fact that the U.S. doesn't have the same regional dialect as the commenter,
-1 terrible almost-pun,
-1 comment that is completely incoherent and incomprehensible,

and a grand total of 1 comment about molecular topology. Is is too much to ask that we could have some comments from posters who are interested in, you know, math and science? Here I was getting ready to dredge up all that symmetry and topology that got drilled in to me in grad school. Oh well.

• #### Re:why new balls (Score:5, Insightful)

on Thursday July 10, 2014 @12:45PM (#47425023)
>Hence they say "WE won" when they themselves were not out on that field

I agree with most of your post, but when I made that claim to a friend who's into sports, he pointed out that the fans are financing the whole thing.
• #### Re:And another question (Score:2, Insightful)

on Thursday July 10, 2014 @04:38PM (#47426825) Homepage Journal
*sigh*

Is this soccer thing still going on? Once the US was out of it, I lost interest and figured this would have been done and over with by now.

Its like what, 4 years or something before soccer starts up again when this one is done?

:)

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