The super-laboratory SESAME opened in the Middle East, with Italy’s important contribution
The international multidisciplinary laboratory SESAME (Synchrotron-light for Experimental Science and Applications in the Middle East), the most important centre of excellence for multidisciplinary research in the Middle East, was inaugurated on 16 May 2017 in Allan, Jordan. Italy made an important contribution to the creation of the facility: the Ministry of Education, University and Research (MIUR) made an ad hoc institutional financial contribution, managed by the National Institute of Nuclear Physics (INFN). The opening ceremony was attended by representatives from Italy, Cyprus, Egypt, Iran, Israel, Jordan, Pakistan, Turkey and the Palestinian National Authority.
“SESAME is an ambitious project, for its scientific objectives but also for its political and cultural aspects. The fact that it was successfully completed demonstrates once again that scientific research can be a powerful tool for cooperation between peoples”, said the Minister of Education, University and Research, Valeria Fedeli. “For this reason, the Italian Government and the MIUR thought it was important to support it, thus sending a signal to the international community. Therefore, we are proud to celebrate the success of this new international laboratory of physics, being aware that we have contributed, through the commitment of researchers from the INFN and Elettra, to the realization of a unique resource for the Middle East”, concluded Minister Fedeli.
SESAME is a super-microscope based on a third generation synchrotron light source that will allow studies and applications in many fields: from physics to life sciences, from materials science to archaeometric studies. This state-of-the-art and competitive international facility will be an important resource for the entire MENA (Middle East and North Africa) Region and will promote the advancement of scientific knowledge, technological development and economic growth in the area.
“A light has been turned on in the Middle East and it has brought science and cooperation with it”, said Fernando Ferroni, President of the INFN. “The start of operations at SESAME opens up important opportunities in many areas of knowledge for researchers in this tormented area. The INFN is proud to have contributed, thanks to ministerial funding and with the collaboration of Elettra, to the creation of this extraordinary research facility”, concluded Ferroni. “With today’s inauguration, SESAME converts a dream, which many thought to be impossible to realize, into the first large research facility in the Middle East”, said Giorgio Paolucci, Scientific Director of SESAME. “It is a great thrill for me to have contributed by bringing with me the experience of Italian research”, Paolucci concluded.
Since 2013, the Italian Government has contributed to the realization of SESAME through the MIUR. The allocated funds were used for the realization of four radio-frequency cavities, essential for the operation of the accelerator, developed by a collaboration between Elettra Sincrotrone Trieste and the INFN and then built by the Italian industry. Italy will also contribute, through the INFN, to the implementation of an advanced X-ray detector that will allow the analysis of the detailed chemical bonds in materials through the SESAME super-microscope.