Study says ancient Romans may have built “invisibility cloaks” into structures

Study says ancient Romans may have built “invisibility cloaks” into structures

Enlarge / The Roman Colosseum is an oval amphitheatre in the center of the city of Rome. French scientists suggest its structure might have helped protect it from earthquake damage. (credit: Alex Livesey/Danehouse/Getty Images))

Scientists are hard at work developing real-world “invisibility cloaks” thanks to a special class of exotic manmade “metamaterials.” Now a team of French scientists has suggested in a recent preprint on the physics arXiv that certain ancient Roman structures, like the famous Roman Colosseum, have very similar structural patterns, which may have protected them from damage from earthquakes over the millennia.

Falling within the broader class of photonic band gap materials, a “metamaterial” is technically defined as any material whose microscopic structure can bend light in ways it doesn’t normally bend. That property is called an index of refraction, i.e., the ratio between the speed of light in a vacuum and how

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