SESAME opened its doors in Amman on 16 May. It is the largest research centre in the Middle East and stands for Synchrotron-light for Experimental Science and Applications in the Middle East.
From a technical point of view, it is the first synchrotron in the region, and it can be described as a particle accelerator. Politically, however, it is almost a miracle. At SESAME, Iranian, Israeli, Palestinian, Cypriot and Turkish scientists collaborate. Some of the countries they hail from have not even established diplomatic ties with each other.
Jordan - in a key position, not only in terms of its geographic location
It is no coincidence that SESAME is located in Jordan. Jordan pursues a foreign policy of conciliation with its neighbours and tries to help achieve peace in the region. The new research centre seeks to enable cross-border cooperation and to prevent highly qualified scientists from leaving the Middle East because it lacks the respective technical infrastructure.
By donating the BESSY I particle accelerator, Germany has substantially contributed to the SESAME project, where it now enjoys observer status. The German nuclear physicist Rolf-Dieter Heuer will this year succeed his British colleague Sir Chris Llewellyn-Smith as President of the Council of SESAME. Both researchers have served as Directors General of the CERN accelerator in Europe (Conseil européen pour la recherche nucléaire). Dr Erwin Huttel of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology has been working at SESAME for several years as its Technical Director.