[I asked Martha Kranes to blog today. Here’s her report.]

I love when art and science intersect. The other day, I heard a clip on NPR’s Science Friday. The speaker, author Robert Courland, talks about the wondrous Pantheon, built in A.D. 128. The dome of the Pantheon is a perfect hemisphere measuring 142 feet (43 meters) across. Its shape means that the ancient Romans could build it without any interior columns or walls to support the weight of the 5,000 tons (4,500 metric tons) of poured concrete—a building substance that they also invented.

14pantheon2large The outside of the Pantheon is not all that impressive, but standing inside is awe-inspiring. On a bright day, sunlight streams through the opening in the top of the dome, 142 feet above the dazzling marble floor. Anyway, it turns out that, if the Romans had used modern-day reinforced concrete, the Pantheon would never have lasted two thousand years. Take a listen:

As it happens, we’ve published a book that details this awesome building feat.


And speaking of books and art and science, here’s a link to an amazing book artist, who takes that term to a whole new level, sculpting out-of-date dictionaries, medical textbooks, and encyclopedias to make art.