Football formula for the perfect goal every time

To mark the opening day of The Big Bang UK Young Scientists & Engineers Fair, England international will test a formula for footballing excellence.

The formula, developed by students from the Department of Physics and Astronomy, calculates how to take the perfect set piece and will be tested by England under-17 international Riva Casley and schoolchildren attending the Fair.

Taking into account the size of the ball, the density of the air and the distance from goal, the formula can help footballers know where and how hard to kick the ball to score every time.

The formula (left) demonstrates that the distance a ball bends (D) as a result of the “Magnus Force” is related to the ball's radius (R), the density of air (ρ), the ball's angular velocity (ω), its velocity through the air (v), its mass (m) and the distance travelled by the ball in the direction it was kicked (x).

Jasmine Sandhu, a PhD student from University of Leicester specialising in Physics with Space Science and Technology and who created the formula said: "This formula can help players become more aware of how they can use spin to bend the ball in a game of football. In addition, this research is also relevant to other sports, such as tennis, which shows that physics definitely gives you the edge!"

Jasmine will be at the event on Wednesday 16 March to explain the physics and maths behind the equation along with fellow PhD physics students Greg Hunt and Katie Raymer.

The Big Bang Fair gives young people the chance to discover the real-life applications of science and maths, from sport to medicine, from gaming to space travel.

The Big Bang Fair is free and runs from Wednesday 16 March to Saturday 19 March. Schools will be attending on Wednesday-Friday, with families encouraged to come on Saturday 19 March, when the hundreds of activities include a series of careers talks. For more information and tickets visit the website.