The World Cup’s most magical goals rely on physics rather than defy them

A Professor of Applied Mathematics at MIT explains the subtle physics behind all those swerving, dipping goals that make you question the nature of the universe.

Cristiano Ronaldo does not have a Ph.D. in geophysics from Harvard. He received his training at Sporting Lisbon’s academy. He is also not a professor of applied mathematics at MIT. Nope. Actually, he’s a Portuguese striker who plays soccer professionally with Real Madrid and racks up goals at a prodigious pace for club and...

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