Meeting report
[SESAME logo]

1st SESAME-JSPS school on Synchrotron Sciences

Cairo, Egypt, November 2008

SESAME, the Synchrotron light for Experimental Science and its Applications in the Middle East ( is a synchrotron facility being built in Jordan under the auspices of UNESCO. Full members of the project include Bahrain, Cyprus, Egypt, Iran, Israel, Jordan, Pakistan, the Palestinian Authority and Turkey. Moreover, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, the Russian Federation, Sweden, the United Arab Emirates, the UK and USA will act as observers. The Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS), Japan’s leading funding agency has implemented far-reaching programs to fund domestic and international scientific projects for 70 years.

[SESAME seminar]
The first SESAME-JSPS school on synchrotron sciences was held Cairo U. About 20 Japanese scientists offered lectures and hands-on practical sessions covering a wide range of synchrotron related fields; from archeology to structural biology and from electronic structure to materials science.

[SESAME lecture]
The co-chairs of the school, Tarek Hussein (President of the Egyptian Academy of Science) and Osamu Shimomura (Director of the Inst. of Material Science, KEK, Japan), welcomed the attendees and Herwig Schopper (former President of the SESAME council) described the status and future prospects for SESAME. Kaouro Ishikawa (Japanese ambassador to Egypt) emphasized Japan’s commitment to promoting and supporting science and technology in the region and Hany Helal (Egyptian Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research) emphasized his country’s determination to support SESAME. This session was followed by presentations by Wolfgang Eberhardt (Director of BESSY, Germany), Paul Dumas (SOLEIL, France), Amor Nadji (technical director of SESAME), Jun Akimtsu (Aoyama-Gakuin U.), and Osamou Shimomura (KEK). A banquet was served aboard a cruise ship on the Nile with traditional Egyptian food, music and dance.

[SESAME lab] Salwa Sabet (center) prepares the wet lab for protein crystallography.
Topics covered included the storage rings (S. Tantwai, SSRL and S.Kurokawa,KEK), applications in structural biology (M. Yousef, KEK/Cairo U., N. Igarashi, KEK, and M. Yamamoto, RIKEN/Spring8), basics of crystallography (H. Sawa, Nagoya U.), nanotechnological applications (M. Sakata, Nagoya U.), powder diffraction/material science (K. Kato, RIKEN/Spring8 and P. Scardi, ELETTRA, Trieste), electronic structure (A. Kimura, Hiroshima U), photo emission spectroscopy (H. Kumigashira, Tokyo U.), X-ray imaging (A. Momose, Tokyo U.) structural dynamics (S.Adachi, KEK), and applications in archeology XAFS (K. Asakura, Hokaido U., I. Nakai, Tokyo U., and M. Pantos, Daresbury).

[SESAME speaker] Osamu Shimomura introduces SR facilities in Japan.
Each scientific session was followed by 'meet the expert' discussions where scientists from the SESAME countries were given the opportunity to consult one-to-one with leading experts regarding experimental designs and potential collaborations. About 200 students and scientists from almost every SESAME country attended the school.

Hands-on data analysis laboratories were run during the last two days of the school. Students from Algeria, China, Egypt, India, Iran, Italy, Jordan, Morocco, Pakistan, USA and Yemen, participated in the practical sessions which covered structural biology, electronic structure, archeology, material science and XAFS. The practical sessions were led primarily by the Japanese scientists, assisted by Egyptian faculty members. Cairo U. provided the lecture halls, wet labs and computational facilities for the practical sessions. At the closing session, the students presented their projects to the audience.

[SESAME dinner] Japanese scientists enjoying traditional Egyptian food.
Delegates from SOKENDAI (the graduate university for advanced studies in Japan) Misa Miyai and Masani Gomita gave talks about graduate study opportunities in Japan. The SESAME-JSPS school was sponsored and supported by the Academy of Scientific Research and Technology of Egypt, DAAD (Germany), the Italian and French embassies in Cairo, and ICTP (Trieste, Italy). Exhibitors included Oxford diffraction and PanAnalytical. The success of the 1st SESAME-JSPS school was really astonishing and Shimomura (KEK) is already discussing with SESAME directors the location and plans for the next school.

Mohammad Yousef, Tarek Hussein and Osamo Shimomura