Bend it Like Bernoulli: Raytheon Introduces the Science of Soccer


Calculators, soccer balls and bicycle kicks shared the field this month as Raytheon engineers paired up with some of the top players of Major League Soccer to explore the science behind the world’s most popular sport.

Raytheon joined FC Dallas players Stephen Keel, Andrew Jacobson and Ryan Hollinshead in the “Science of Soccer,” a collaborative event with R.L. Turner High School in Carrollton, Texas. The event came as soccer fans are gearing up for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

At the event, students discussed the science of goal-scoring and how math and physics determine how a soccer ball bends in flightFC Dallas player juggles a soccer ball. toward the net.

They learned about Swiss scientist Daniel Bernoulli, whose principles explains how lift is created by airplane wings and other flying objects. They also explored the Magnus Effect, which causes rotating objects to swerve in flight.

“It’s about getting students excited about math and science in a way they never thought of before,” said Noel Ellis, Raytheon’s director of engineering learning and university relations. “The idea is that science is all around us and affects everything we do— even sports.”

As a key sponsor of FC Dallas, Raytheon has also sponsored the World of Innovation College Scholarship, which rewards innovative ideas by local youth. The company will award two scholarships during halftime at a May 17 game against Chivas USA.

“We are excited to have Raytheon as a proud partner of FC Dallas,” said Dan Hunt, President of FC Dallas. “It is great to be aligned with a likeminded group that has such a great heritage in the aerospace industry.”

Raytheon engineer Noel Ellis and Director of Strategy Sharon Denny take a break from mentoring to pose with FC Dallas mascot Tex Hooper.

Raytheon recently launched the first comprehensive index measuring key factors relating to science, technology, engineering and mathematics jobs. The index is a partnership with U.S. News.

The FC Dallas event is part of a larger Science of Sports program that aims to encourage interest in science and math.

“Soccer is the number one sport in the world,” said Ellis. “Its widespread appeal allows us to bring together the diverse fanship that soccer inspires.”