Professor Michel W. Barsoum
Department of Materials Science and Engineering
Drexel University, Philadelphia
United States of America

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, to this day, Egyptologists have yet to explain how the tops of the pyramids – the so called “problem at the top” – were built, as well as, the absence of any evidence for ramps. In this talk, I will present compelling scientific evidence – including C-dating results – that some of the pyramid blocks were cast using a combination of weathered limestone, diatomaceous earth and lime. And while this does not solve all of the aforementioned mysteries, it does solve the “problem at the top” and the lack of ramps. The historical, archeological, and technological implications of our conclusions to today’s world are profound and will be touched upon.

Speaker Biography

Prof. Michel W. Barsoum – Distinguished Professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at Drexel University – is an internationally recognized leader in the area of MAX phases.

He is the author of two entries on the MAX phases in the Encyclopedia of Materials Science, and the books, MAX Phases, published in 2013, He is also the author of Fundamentals of Ceramics, a leading textbook in his field.

In 2011, he and Drexel colleagues selectively etched the A-group layers from the MAX phases to produce an entirely new family of 2D solids – they labeled MXenes – that have sparked global interest because of their potential in many applications, least of which is energy storage.

With over 350 refereed publications, and an h-index of 59, his work has been highly and widely cited. He is a fellow of the American Ceramic Society and the World Academy of Ceramics. In 2000 he was awarded a Humboldt-Max Planck Research Award for Senior US Research Scientists. Since 2008 he has been a visiting professor at Linkoping University in Sweden. He is currently spending part of his sabbatical year at Imperial College in London.