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Synchrotron-light in the Middle East

Developed under the umbrella of UNESCO, Synchrotron-light for Experimental Science and Applications in the Middle East (SESAME) is to be the Middle East's first international research center. It will have as its centerpiece a synchrotron radiation source based on an anticipated gift from Germany of the 0.8 GeV BESSY 1 storage ring and injector system. Programs planned for SESAME include structural molecular biology, molecular environmental science, surface and interface science, microelectromechanical devices, X-ray imaging, archaeological microanalysis, materials characterization, and medical applications. SESAME will be a propeller for regional science and the economy of the Middle East as well as promoting peaceful cooperation among scientists.

On April 6-7, 2000 the first meeting of the Structural Molecular Biology (SMB) Scientific Subgroup of the SESAME Scientific Committee was held at the U. of Athens. Participants from each of the countries in the Middle East summarized the present status of work in SMB in their countries and the prospects for such work with SESAME. Several hundred scientists from the region are expected to use SESAME.

The top priority for the SMB Scientific Subgroup is to see a research institute established alongside SESAME for the development of SMB projects and infrastructure in the region. There was also discussion of a meeting of the powder diffraction scientific subgroup in Turkey.

More information is available at

Herman Winick
from Crystallography News, No. 74, September 2000