Synchrotron-Light for Experimental Science and Applications in the Middle East

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SESAME logo.jpg
Established 2002
Research type Synchrotron light
Director Khaled Toukan
Staff 35
Location Al Balqa - Jordan Jordan

The Synchrotron-Light for Experimental Science and Applications in the Middle East (SESAME) is an independent laboratory formally created under the auspices of UNESCO on 30 May 2002. It is located in Allan, by the Al-Balqa nahia of the Balqa governorate of Jordan.

The founding members of SESAME are Bahrain, Cyprus, Egypt, Iran, Israel, Jordan, Pakistan, the Palestinian Authority, and Turkey. The project was launched in 1999 and the ground breaking ceremony was held on 6 January 2003. Construction work began the following July, with a scheduled possible completion date of 2015.[1] However financial and technical infrastructural obstacles could force the project to be delayed. President of the SESAME Council is Christopher Llewellyn Smith, the Chair of the ITER Council and a former Director-General of CERN. The first president of SESAME council was Herwig Schopper, the former CERN director general.

The original plan for SESAME was to re-use the former facility BESSY I, which was previously decommissioned in Germany. However, over the year the progress made in synchrotron radiation sources, convinced scientists that a new concept was to be developed. The present plan is to build a 2.5 GeV storage ring.[2]

Dr. Masoud Alimohammadi and Dr. Magid Shahriari, two Iranian members of SESAME, were killed in two different terrorist attacks, for which an Iranian prosecutor accuses the Israeli Mossad in 2010.[3][4]

In an interview published in 2009, physicist Herman Winick noted the name SESAME was coined to refer to door opener, the spice, and the children's television show, and the meaning Synchrotron-Light for Experimental Science Applications in the Middle East formulated to match the acronym.[5] It is slated to begin operating by 2017. The participating countries unanimously decided that operations for SESAME will be located in Jordan.[6]


  1. ^ Shukman, David (26 November 2012). "Sesame synchrotron is a flash of unity in Middle East". News: Science and environment. BBC. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ Murdered Iranian scientist linked to UNESCO, Channel 4 News, 29 November 2010
  4. ^ Man pleads guilty to assassinating Iranian nuclear scientist, The Guardian, 23 August 2011
  5. ^ Sigfried, Tom (2009), "SESAME opens doors to international collaboration", Science News, Washington, DC: Science News Service (published 2009-01-17), 175 (2), p. 32, doi:10.1002/scin.2009.5591750224, retrieved 2009-01-24 
  6. ^ Israel and unlikely Mideast partners collaborate on major light source project April 5, 2016 by

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 32°06′36″N 35°44′12″E / 32.109987°N 35.736679°E / 32.109987; 35.736679