|The Mystery of the Great Pyramids of Egypt: A Partial Solution |
|Michel W. Barsoum, Drexel University|
12:10 PM, CCR 201
For about 4500 years, the mystery of how the Great Pyramids of Giza were built has endured. How did the Ancient Egyptians pull 70 ton granite slabs up an earthen ramp-without the benefit of wheels- 2/3 up the Great Pyramid? How did they carve granite, with pure copper? In some cases, adjacent blocks fit so well together that, even today, a human hair card cannot be inserted between them. Most important of all, to this day, Egyptologists have yet to explain how the tops of the pyramids were built. In this talk, conclusive scientific evidence is presented that proves that a solution proposed over 20 years ago by a French materials scientist, J. Davidovits, is partially correct and can answer some, but not all, the mysteries of one of the most impressive constructs of humankind. The historical, archeological, and technological implications of our conclusions to today's world are truly profound and will be touched upon.
Professor Barsoum earned his B.Sc. degree in Materials Engineering from the American University in Cairo in 1977, an M.S. from University of Missouri-Rolla in 1980, and a Ph.D. in Ceramics from the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at MIT in 1985. He is the author of the leading undergraduate textbook in his field, Fundamentals of Ceramics (Francis and Taylor, 2003). Dr. Barsoum's research focuses on development and characterization of ceramicbased materials for high temperature applications, in particular a new class of machinable ternary carbides and nitrides, called MAX phases, that he has widely documented in over 150 papers in Nature, Science, Physical Review and other journals. His papers have been cited over 4500 times, with > 1500 coming in 2006 and 2007 alone. He received a Humboldt-Max Planck Research Award for Senior US Research Scientists in 2000 and is a Fellow of the American Ceramic Society and the World Academy of Ceramics. His research into the controversial subject of pyramid building stems both from his Egyptian heritage and his expertise in ceramic materials science, both of which he has applied to this highly visible research problem.
Host: Lisa Klein