Drexel Professor to Speak on Solving the Mystery of the Great Pyramids of Egypt

Published on Monday January 22, 2007

Dr. Michel Barsoum, Distinguished Professor of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, will give a lecture entitled “The Mystery of the Great Pyramids of Egypt: A Partial Solution” on Friday, February 23 at 12:30 pm in the Bossone Auditorium of the Bossone Research Enterprise Center at Drexel University, on Market Street between 31st and 32nd Streets.

Dr. Barsoum’s lecture is the special Engineering New Frontiers Lecture scheduled as part of the 13th annual National Engineers Week. This year marks Drexel’s 5th annual celebration of Engineers Week, sponsored by Arkema Inc. and Lockheed Martin. Dr. Barsoum’s lecture focuses on his internationally publicized theory of the use of a reconstituted limestone-based concrete in the Great Pyramids of Giza. For about 4,500 years, the mystery of how the Great Pyramids of Giza were built has endured. How did the Ancient Egyptians move 70 ton granite slabs—without wheels—to build the Great Pyramid? How did they carve massive limestone blocks so precisely that in some cases, a human hair cannot be inserted between them? In his talk, Dr. Barsoum presents conclusive scientific evidence that some blocks (less than 20 %) in the Great Pyramids of Giza were built using an early form of concrete, not only debunking an age-old myth that they were built using only cut limestone blocks, but more importantly solving one of the most vexing questions in Egyptology, namely, how the highest courses were built.

“Although this discovery does not solve all of the construction mysteries of the pyramids, the impact of these findings has great potential for developing countries and for the construction industry,” says Dr. Barsoum.  “The basic raw materials used for this early form of concrete, which I believe were used to construct parts of the pyramids, can be found virtually anywhere in the world. Replicating this method of construction would be cost effective, long lasting, and more environmentally friendly than the current building material of choice: Portland cement.”

Dr. Barsoum received his B.Sc. in Materials Engineering from the American University in Cairo, Egypt in 1977, his M.S. from University of Missouri-Rolla, Rolla, MO, in 1980, and his Ph.D. in Ceramics from the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at MIT in 1985. His research on the Great Pyramids of Giza has been mentioned in the Philadelphia Inquirer, New York Times, Chicago Tribune, International Herald Tribune, Middle East Times, and Turkish Daily News, among more than 20 other national and international print and online publications.

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