The project is called SESAME — as in “Open, Sesame!” — and it is an acronym for Synchrotron-light for Experimental Science and Applications in the Middle East.
The machine functions a bit like an X-ray. About 50 of these “light sources” exist around the world, and they are prized among researchers for their versatility. They can reveal the atomic structure of matter, making them useful for everything from biology to chemistry to archaeology.
The new machine is in Jordan, about a 45-minute drive from the capital of Amman. “It’s a beacon, one lighthouse, in this era where there is killing, beheadings, gassing. We are showing a different way,” said former Member Eliezer Rabinovici, 70, a physics professor at Hebrew University of Jerusalem and one of the founders of the endeavor.
Among supporters of the project are former Member Sergio Fubini, who with Rabinovici created the Middle Eastern Science Committee, and frequent Director's Visitor Rush Holt, a former Congressman who unsuccessfully pushed for American funding for the project and is now chief executive of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Of the project, Edward Witten, Charles Simonyi Professor in the School of Natural Sciences, said, “It’s like news from another world in which there is peace in the Middle East.” Read more at the Washington Post.