SPIE leaders congratulate SESAME on 'light' for science collaboration

Photonics community celebrates inauguration of collaborative synchrotron facility engaging scientists around Middle East

16 May 2017
King Abdullah and Princess Samaya of Jordan with UNESCO and other dignitaries at SESAME inauguration

King Abdullah and Princess Samaya of Jordan (fourth and third from right in the front row)
with UNESCO and other dignitaries at SESAME inauguration on 16 May

ALLAN, Jordan, and BELLINGHAM, Washington, USA — SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics, leaders joined others in the global photonics community in congratulating  scientists and supporters from UNESCO and elsewhere on the inauguration today of the SESAME synchrotron by King Adbullah II of Jordan.

Located in Allan, Jordan, SESAME — the Synchrotron-light for Experimental Science and Applications in the Middle East — will engage scientists from countries throughout the region in experiments involving the study of properties of materials from rare semiconductors to viruses. Consortium members are Cyprus, Egypt, Iran, Israel, Jordan, Pakistan, the Palestinian Authority, and Turkey.

“We are all united in our dependence on life sustaining light,” said SPIE CEO Eugene Arthurs. “Now the light from SESAME will ensure scientific interchange that offers hope for improved mutual understanding. As Nobel Laureate Abdus Salam noted, ‘Scientific thought and its creation is the common and shared heritage of mankind.’ We are very grateful to those who worked so hard to realize the dream of SESAME. SPIE joins the many who hope it leads to a flourishing rebirth of science in Jordan and recognition throughout the region of our shared heritage.”

Science diplomacy was the theme of all talks at the inaugural ceremonies, reported SPIE Member Joe Niemela of the Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP).

Among the remarks, European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science Carlos Moedas noted that while many people talk and write about science diplomacy, he described how impressed he was from his first visit to SESAME a few years ago to see people actively engaging in it.

Science advocate Princess Sumaya bint Hassan of Jordan spoke about the need for international cooperation and goodwill in the region and how SESAME is playing a positive role in that regard.

Among other dignitaries on hand for the ceremonies were Director-General of UNESCO Irina Bokova, Director General Yukiya Amano of the International Atomic Energy Agency, ICTP Director Fernando Quevedo, and President of the SESAME Council Chris Llewellyn Smith.

SESAME is a cooperative venture by scientists and governments of the region set up on the model of CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research). It is being developed under the auspices of UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization).

Tour of SESAME during inauguration

SESAME will enable a new era of research in physics, materials science, and other fields,
for applications such as medicine, environment, agriculture, and arechaeology.

About SPIE

SPIE is the international society for optics and photonics, an educational not-for-profit organization founded in 1955 to advance light-based science, engineering, and technology. The Society serves nearly 264,000 constituents from approximately 166 countries, offering conferences and their published proceedings, continuing education, books, journals, and the SPIE Digital Library. In 2016, SPIE provided $4 million in support of education and outreach programs. www.spie.org



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