ISLAMABAD: SESAME, the pioneering new regional laboratory for the Middle East and
neighbouring countries has publicly announced its first call for proposals for experiments.
A third generation light source with a research capacity ranging from medicine to cultural
heritage, SESAME’s first beams will be circulating this autumn, with the experimental
programme getting under way in 2017. SESAME is already host to a growing user community of
some 300 scientists from across the region and, as is standard in the light source community, is
open to proposals for good science, wherever they may come from.
Talking to the ceremony Dr. Khaled Toukan, SESAME’s Director General said that this is a very
big moment for SESAME. He said that it signals the start of the research programme at the first
international synchrotron research facility in our region.
“I am a string physicist, we study potential parallel universes,” said Eliezer Rabinovici, Professor
at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and former Vice-President of the SESAME Council. “At
Sesame I can actually be in such a parallel universe, one where scientists of the region work
together for the benefit of humanity and the benefit of their own people.”
SESAME is a unique intergovernmental venture created bottom-up by scientists from its
Members including Bahrain, Cyprus, Egypt, Iran, Israel, Jordan, Pakistan, the Palestinian
Authority and Turkey.
SESAME will start up with two beam lines, one delivering infrared light, the other X-rays. The
laboratory’s full scientific programme will span fields ranging from medicine and biology,
through materials science, physics and chemistry to healthcare, the environment, agriculture and
“It has been a real thrill over recent months to see the SESAME main ring being installed”, said
Gihan Kamel, SESAME’s infrared beam line scientist. “The infra red beam line is also ready for
installation”, he said
SESAME’s maintenance and operation are financed by its Members. Capital investment has
come from special contributions from three Members: Israel, Jordan and Turkey, who will be
joined by Iran now that sanctions have been lifted. The European Commission financed the
design and construction of key components, the main-ring magnets and power supplies, through
a project coordinated by CERN. Italy provided the main-ring accelerating structures. Various
other countries have made contributions, including Germany, which donated the BESSY1
synchrotron, which has now been converted into the injector for the SESAME main ring.
“Europe has made a very important contribution to SESAME,” said Chris Llewellyn-Smith,
President of the SESAME Council, “helping to build scientific and technical capacity through
training and knowledge transfer through the main-ring project.”
Proposals for SESAME’s opening call may be submitted through the SESAME website from
August 2016. They will be examined by the SESAME Proposal Review Committee, which will
recommend SESAME’s opening research programme to the SESAME Directorate.
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