Sesame synchrotron is a flash of unity in Middle East..the CERN of the desert?
Amid rising tensions in one of the world’s most volatile regions, an audacious project to use science for diplomacy is taking shape in the heart of the Middle East.
In this land of ancient hatreds, a highly sophisticated scientific installation is being built in Jordan.
It has support from countries that are usually openly hostile to each other.
The plan is for a multi-million-pound synchrotron particle accelerator, known as Sesame.
It has backing from several Arab nations, together with Turkey, Pakistan, Cyprus, Iran and – astonishingly – Israel as well.
The Iranian government is publicly committed to Israel’s destruction and Israel has threatened to bomb Iran’s nuclear facilities. And most recently Israel accused Iran of supplying Palestinian militants with the missiles launched at Israeli cities.
Yet the governments of both these countries and others have pledged to provide more funding to Sesame, and BBC News witnessed their scientists and officials meeting for lengthy discussions in Jordan earlier this month.
After years of doubts about the project’s feasibility, construction is now at an advanced stage and most of the next round of finance is secured. The first science could start as early as 2015.
The synchrotron, which acts in effect like a giant microscope, will be used by researchers to study everything from viruses to new drugs to novel materials.
Synchrotrons have become an indispensable tool for modern science with some 60 in use around the world, almost all of them in developed countries, and this will be the first in the Middle East.
everyone getting in on it now..israel and iran are co partners in this venture..wonder how that will play out?