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 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 was impressed from his first visit to SESAME 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, ICTP Director Fernando Quevedo, and President of the SESAME Council Chris Llewellyn Smith.
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 more than $4 million in support of education and outreach programs. www.spie.org
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