Dr. Bela Sandor will present “Tutankhamen’s Chariots and the Exodus”at 6:30 p.m. Monday, July 15, at the Waupaca Area Public Library.
Hosted by Winchester Academy, the lecture is free and open to the public
Sandor will uncover the advanced engineering behind the ancient Egyptian war machine. A professor emeritus of engineering mechanics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Sandor is an international expert on ancient chariots.
Sandor served as the sole technical expert for the one-hour NOVA documentary “Building Pharaoh’s Chariot,” which aired earlier this year on Wisconsin Public Television. It follows a team of experts who built two accurate replicas of Egyptian royal chariots and tested them in the desert.
Originally from Hungary, Sandor came to the U.S. in 1956, fleeing a repressive regime. He landed in New York with little English and less money.
He received a scholarship to the University of Illinois at Champaign where he learned English, swam on the varsity swim team, and earned a bachelor’s degree in engineering mechanics. He earned his master’s at New York University, and came back to Illinois for his doctorate in 1968, the same year he was hired at UW-Madison.
An expert in fracture, fatigue, stress and strain in materials, Sandor noticed an inexplicable crack in a spoke on the wheel of one of King Tutankhamen’s chariots when he visited the Museum of Egyptian Antiquities in Cairo.
When he returned to the U.S, he began researching chariots. While he found a wealth of archaeological information about them, there was a lack of technical detail. This was the beginning of his quest to understand chariot engineering.
Built to be lightweight, stable and strong enough to withstand violent maneuvers, chariots, according to Sandor, are an engineering marvel.
“Their engineering was stupendous,” he said. “Modern engineers could not do any better with only wood, leather and glue.”
During his career, Sandor has presented over 70 papers at professional conferences and has written articles in journals and chapters in several books. His work includes studies of the people of the ancient world, their art, literature, religion and sports. He also writes poetry and fiction.
Gloria and Al Gruer of Waupaca are the sponsors of this program.
The next Winchester Academy program, scheduled for July 22, features Mike Barden, Waupaca musician, who will present a program analyzing the art of jazz.
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