Middle East light lab nears switch on date

An intergovernmental research lab in Jordan that will use light and X-rays to investigate atoms, cells and materials, will soon start operations aimed at bolstering the region’s scientific capacity.

The first two ‘beam sources’, which will emit infrared light and X-rays, will be in operation shortly, SESAME staff announced in Manchester, United Kingdom, on 27 July at the EuroScience Open Forum. Along with the beams, SESAME, the first synchrotron light source in the Middle East, will also announce its first call for proposals, the event heard.

The near completion of SESAME (the Synchrotron-light for Experimental Science and Applications in the Middle East) marks a historic feat of science diplomacy, bringing together scientists from its members: Bahrain, Cyprus, Iran, Israel, Jordan, Pakistan, Palestine and Turkey.

“It’s the only body outside of the UN that represented both Israel and Iran in the same room,” said Chris Llewellyn Smith, the president of the SESAME council, which governs the project.

The facility can be used by researchers in a wide variety of disciplines, including biology, chemistry, geology, physics, medicine, material science and archaeology. There are now more than 60 synchrotron light sources in the world.


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