Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Breaking news: soccer balls no longer polyhedral !

The soccer ball provides a great example of Euler's formula (I'm told it's also fun to kick it around and stuff). It consists of 20 hexagons and 12 pentagons, and a standard question one can ask is: why can't we tile the whole surface with hexagons ? This shape is also called the Buckyball, and is a special case of a carbon allotrope called a fullerene.

Apparently, the soccer balls being used at the World Cup are no longer polyhedral. They consist of 14 pieces, many of which look a lot like the squashed oval shape you see on tennis balls and baseballs. This makes the ball rounder and faster, and apparently gives it baseball-like effects when moving through the air. Players (and especially goalkeepers) have been complaining about this, but then they complain every World Cup, so....



  1. Have you seen this article ? (Unfortunately, it is only available to subscribers but it may be in your library.)

    Posted by Anonymous

  2. AKA truncated icosahedron.

    You probably meant to give the link for the balls used for -this- years cup:


    Posted by anonymous

  3. There is a description in the math trek column of sciencenews (week of July 10, 2006).

    Posted by Moorthy

  4. The majority of the brazilian players have complained about the new ball. Most of their training was spent to learn kicking the new ball... 

    Posted by Soccer balls


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