Chief among its mysteries is exactly how the pyramid, also know as Cheops and built for the pharaoh Khufu nearly 4,500 years ago, was constructed.
Xavier Maldague, a professor in the faculty of science and engineering at Université Laval and a specialist in infrared imaging, would like to test a theory proposed in 2007 by French architect Jean-Pierre Houdin.
Mr. Houdin believes the pyramid was built from the inside out, with the 2.5-tonne blocks being moved up an internal ramp that spirals around the pyramid’s interior at a slight angle all the way to the top. He believes the ramps are still there, and Dr. Maldague would like to confirm their presence using infrared ther-mo-graphy, a technique that would allow the researchers to “see” through the pyramid’s thick walls.
Dr. Maldague, who holds the Canada Research Chair in Multipolar Infrared Vision, says the testing would be done in situ over a period of several months. The technology is non-invasive and would result in no physical alteration to the pyramid, he says.
The Laval researcher still needs the approval of Egyptian authorities to carry out the experiment, which may be a bit tricky with the recent unrest in the country and subsequent takeover of the government by the military. Dr. Maldague says he hopes to get approval by the end of 2011 and start the measurements by mid-2012.