Opening ceremony, UNESCO Paris, 21 January 2014

Chris Llewellyn Smith, Director of Energy

SESAME: Fostering science, building bridges

Chris Llewellyn Smith


SESAME (Synchrotron-light for Experimental Science and Applications in the Middle East) is a 2.5 GeV third generation synchrotron light source under construction in Jordan. The Members are currently Bahrain, Cyprus, Egypt, Iran, Israel, Jordan, Pakistan, the Palestinian Authority and Turkey. SESAME will:

  • foster world-class scientific research in the Middle East and neighbouring countries, in fields ranging from medicine and biology, through materials science, physics and chemistry, to the environment, agriculture and archaeology;
  • build cross-border collaboration, dialogue and understanding between scientists with diverse cultural, political and religious backgrounds; and, it is hoped,
  • reverse the brain drain that is holding back science education and research.

SESAME was created 'bottom-up' by scientists, who persuaded their governments to join. It is modelled on CERN and was set up under the auspices of UNESCO. SESAME is on track for commissioning to begin in late 2015 or early 2016, although challenges remain. After outlining the origins of SESAME, I will describe the project's status and the initial experimental programme.


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