Dorchester students learn the secrets behind the perfect free kick

An academic from the University of Bath let Dorchester students into the secret of how to ‘bend it like Beckham’ in a Café Scientifique lecture at Thomas Hardye School on Thursday 16 September.

Dr Ken Bray, from the University’s Department of Mechanical Engineering, described the science behind the swerving free kick, talking about the physics behind how the ball spins and how to predict the flight of the ball taking into account the aerodynamics and force of the kick.

His recent work has been concerned with the inconsistent behaviour of modern footballs.

“Goalkeepers are not among life’s optimists,” said Dr Bray, “but there may just be something in their complaints about modern high-tech footballs that often swerve unpredictably in flight.”

Dr Bray is author of the popular science book ‘How to score – science and the beautiful game’; his passion for sport has led him to specialise in the science of football and he publishes and lectures widely on the subject.

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