Dr. Goff repeats in Wall Street Journal

Wednesday June 30 2010


Dr. Eric Goff has become the go-to guy for The Wall Street Journal when it needs to understand how athletes do what they do. He has helped with two recent stories on the World Cup.

Dr. Goff explains in Wednesday's The Wall Street Journal how Uruguay's Luis Suárez rifled a shot into the net, putting his nation in the World Cup quarterfinals. Suárez's foot was traveling at 54 miles per hour, according to Dr. Goff, chairman of the physics department at Lynchburg College. More importantly, the ball bent about 8.7 feet to the left, just enough to elude the post and the keeper. Read the whole story.

Dr. Goff also did the calculations for reporter David Biderman to figure out the physics required for athletes to elude their defenders, in this case Argentine striker Lionel Messi. Dr. Goff compared his moves to basketball superstar Lebron James. This short story belies the many hours it took Dr. Goff to make these calculations.

An associate professor of physics, Dr. Goff is the author of Gold Medal Physics: The Science of Sports, a look at the physics behind the feats of great athletes.

Dr. Goff previously did calculations to help the WSJ reporter with a story on the aerial acrobatics of Olympic skater Jeremy Abott.