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Will Israeli scientists gravitate to Jordan’s new particle accelerator?

TJI Pick
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Published: 20 November 2018

Last updated: 4 March 2024

Less than 70 particle accelerators exist, nearly all in Europe and US. Last year, Jordan got one, as an outgrowth of the Oslo peace accords

PARTICLE ACCELERATORS ARE at the forefront of research in a vast range of fields. From biology to archaeology to new materials, particle accelerators can help us gain deeper understanding of the atomic structure of materials. They can help us understand which elements bond with which within molecules.

However, these machines are also the most expensive scientific instruments in the world today. Fewer than 70 exist, nearly all in Europe and the United States.

History was made in Jordan on May 16, 2017, when the research centre with the first particle accelerator in the region — Synchrotron-Light for Experimental Science and Applications in the Middle East, better known as SESAME — was festively inaugurated in a ceremony that included Iranian and Israeli scientists.

A call for proposals was issued about two months later, following which scientists from the region submitted ideas for experiments to be performed in the accelerator.

The synchrotron is helping a museum in Iran determine the best way to preserve ancient manuscripts; to detect the original colours of artifacts from Petra, Jordan; and to analyse bones dated from 5,000 and 13,000 years ago from Cyprus, Syria, Iran and Iraq in order to detect differences in living conditions among ancient peoples in the regions, and to compare with these locales today.

FULL STORY The Middle-Eastern particle accelerator is gearing up, handmade parts and all (Haaretz)

Photo: Vacuum chamber being installed in SESAME's dipole magnet (Sesame)

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