Yesterday and the day before this (31 March and 1 April), An-Najah National University in Nablus (Palestine) was host to the 2nd International Workshop on Synchrotron Radiation and Applications: SESAME in Palestine that it organized in cooperation with the French and UK synchrotron light sources Soleil Synchrotron and Diamond, Campus France, the Open SESAME project and the Al-Maqdisi program – the 1st Workshop was held on 17 April 2017.
This Workshop, which gathered some 70 participants from 6 universities in Palestine, as well as teachers from different academic institutions, was designed to increase the awareness of Palestinian scientists of the many opportunities SESAME offers for their work. Palestine has good scientists who will greatly benefit from their proximity to SESAME and the two beamlines already in operation there.
During the meeting, participants were able to hear at first hand interesting talks by the Technical Director of SESAME, Riccardo Bartolini, and by 2 scientists from Soleil Synchrotron and 3 scientists from Diamond, as well as talks by 8 Palestinian scientists who provided the audience with information about their scientific work. The representative of SESAME’s Users’ Office guided participants on how to become a user at SESAME and how to submit a proposal for beam time. There was also an online connection with the beamline scientist of SESAME’s XAFS/XRF (X-ray absorption fine structure/X-ray fluorescence) spectroscopy beamline and a scientist from Soleil.
Among the many highlights of the programme were talks on the SESAME-An-Najah-Soleil magnetic measurement laboratory that Soleil and An-Najah National University are planning to jointly set up at SESAME, and science to explore with high-resolution tomography. The first topic is very important for the establishment of more academia-SESAME relations, while the latter is highly relevant given that SESAME has started planning construction of its tomography beamline which is to be built in collaboration with 8 European institutes with European Union funding.
I am proud that Palestine is a Member of SESAME, which is a centre of excellence in the region par excellence said Ahmed Bassalat, Assistant Professor of Physics at An-Najah National University and moderator of the Workshop, and there is no doubt that the experiments I will be able to perform there will contribute very significantly to progress in my scientific work.
Among the dignitaries at the opening of the Workshop were the Minister of Education and Higher Education, H.E. Dr Sabri Saidam, the Acting President of An-Najah University, Professor Maher Natsheh, and the Dean of Science of the University, Dr Maen Ishtaiwi, as well as a member of the Palestinian National Committee for SESAME, Dr Hadil Abualrob.
Palestine is one of the eight Members of SESAME. Soleil and Diamond have been (and remain) firm partners with SESAME and have provided very substantial help, Among the more recent actions in the case of Soleil one may cite SESAME’s IR (infrared) spectromicroscopy beamline, which was designed and built in collaboration with the French laboratory, and SESAME’s radio-frequency solid state amplifiers for which Soleil provided the design. In the case of Diamond there has been the 18-month Diamond/SESAME fellowships programme for which the UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) provided GBP1.5 million through the Rutherford Fund. Through the Open SESAME project, the European Union has provided circa US$2 million to help ensure optimal exploitation of SESAME.
The full programme of the Workshop may be downloaded here.