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Discovery of a big void in Khufu’s Pyramid by observation of cosmic-ray muons

Overview of attention for article published in Nature, November 2017
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  • In the top 5% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric
  • Among the highest-scoring outputs from this source (#38 of 50,212)
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (99th percentile)
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age and source (99th percentile)

Mentioned by

191 news outlets
32 blogs
2812 tweeters
33 Facebook pages
2 Wikipedia pages
14 Google+ users
2 Redditors

Readers on

65 Mendeley
Discovery of a big void in Khufu’s Pyramid by observation of cosmic-ray muons
Published in
Nature, November 2017
DOI 10.1038/nature24647
Pubmed ID

Kunihiro Morishima, Mitsuaki Kuno, Akira Nishio, Nobuko Kitagawa, Yuta Manabe, Masaki Moto, Fumihiko Takasaki, Hirofumi Fujii, Kotaro Satoh, Hideyo Kodama, Kohei Hayashi, Shigeru Odaka, Sébastien Procureur, David Attié, Simon Bouteille, Denis Calvet, Christopher Filosa, Patrick Magnier, Irakli Mandjavidze, Marc Riallot, Benoit Marini, Pierre Gable, Yoshikatsu Date, Makiko Sugiura, Yasser Elshayeb, Tamer Elnady, Mustapha Ezzy, Emmanuel Guerriero, Vincent Steiger, Nicolas Serikoff, Jean-Baptiste Mouret, Bernard Charlès, Hany Helal, Mehdi Tayoubi, Marini, Benoit, Morishima, Kunihiro, Kuno, Mitsuaki, Nishio, Akira, Kitagawa, Nobuko, Manabe, Yuta, Moto, Masaki, TAKASAKI, Fumihiko, Fujii, Hirofumi, Satoh, Kotaro, Kodama, Hideyo, Hayashi, Kohei, Odaka, Shigeru, Procureur, Sebastien, Attie, David, Bouteille, Simon, Calvet, Denis, Filosa, Christopher, Magnier, Patrick, Mandjavidze, Irakli, Riallot, Marc, Gable, Pierre, Date, Yoshikatsu


The Great Pyramid or Khufu's Pyramid was built on the Giza Plateau (Egypt) during the IV(th) dynasty by the pharaoh Khufu (Cheops), who reigned from 2509 to 2483 BC(1). Despite being one of the oldest and largest monuments on Earth, there is no consensus about how it was built(2,3). To better understand its internal structure, we imaged the pyramid using muons, which are by-products of cosmic rays that are only partially absorbed by stone(4-6). The resulting cosmic-ray muon radiography allows us to visualize the known and potentially unknown voids in the pyramid in a non-invasive way. Here we report the discovery of a large void (with a cross section similar to the Grand Gallery and a length of 30 m minimum) above the Grand Gallery, which constitutes the first major inner structure found in the Great Pyramid since the 19(th) century (1). This void, named ScanPyramids Big Void, was first observed with nuclear emulsion films(7-9) installed in the Queen's chamber (Nagoya University), then confirmed with scintillator hodoscopes(10,11) set up in the same chamber (KEK) and re-confirmed with gas detectors(12) outside of the pyramid (CEA). This large void has therefore been detected with a high confidence by three different muon detection technologies and three independent analyses. These results constitute a breakthrough for the understanding of Khufu's Pyramid and its internal structure. While there is currently no information about the role of this void, these findings show how modern particle physics can shed new light on the world's archaeological heritage.

Twitter Demographics

The data shown below were collected from the profiles of 2,812 tweeters who shared this research output. Click here to find out more about how the information was compiled.

Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 65 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
Unknown 65 100%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Researcher 14 22%
Student > Master 11 17%
Student > Ph. D. Student 11 17%
Student > Bachelor 9 14%
Professor 6 9%
Other 14 22%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Physics and Astronomy 21 32%
Chemistry 8 12%
Computer Science 6 9%
Earth and Planetary Sciences 6 9%
Unspecified 6 9%
Other 18 28%

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 2848. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 15 March 2018.
All research outputs
of 9,218,060 outputs
Outputs from Nature
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Outputs of similar age
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Outputs of similar age from Nature
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Altmetric has tracked 9,218,060 research outputs across all sources so far. Compared to these this one has done particularly well and is in the 99th percentile: it's in the top 5% of all research outputs ever tracked by Altmetric.
So far Altmetric has tracked 50,212 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a lot more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 77.9. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 99% of its peers.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 264,184 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 99% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 847 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 99% of its contemporaries.