A ramp is a machine. It is Galileo’s “inclined plane”—an elegance of physics that alters the behavior of force across a surface. It transforms the possibilities of load bearing by its degrees of slope.
The ancients knew, of course, about this quality, and used its mechanics to build fortresses—and quite possibly the pyramids. But it was Galileo who codified its predictable mathematics, classifying it as one of his six simple machines. Along with the lever, the pulley, the screw, the wedge, and the wheel-and-axle, an inclined plane forms an elemental grammar of machinic work in the built environment. Pressed into the service of modern labor, those machines make the complex industrial modes of manufacturing that have so powerfully structured our lives.
See slopeintercept.org for news about this new project.