I mentioned SESAME in a post last year. SESAME is the Middle East’s first synchrotron light source. It is located in Allan, Jordan. SESAME is a joint project of Cyprus, Egypt, Iran, Israel, Jordan, Turkey, Pakistan and also the Palestinian Authority. The official opening ceremony is on May 16, 2017.
“There are about 60 such light sources in the world, which have been become increasingly valuable as tools in medicine and engineering. In April, for example, scientists using X-rays from a light source at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory in California discovered new details about the structure of proteins that regulate blood pressure, raising the possibility of better treatments for hypertension.” – Dennis Overbye (New York Times)
If you are curious about the synchrotron light sources around the world you can check out this web site: http://www.lightsources.org/regions
Dennis Overby explains further that
“In all, about $90 million has gone into getting the project going so far, according to Dr. Llewellyn Smith. That includes $5 million apiece pledged by Israel, Jordan, Turkey and Iran and another grant of 5 million euros from the European Union, which enabled CERN to help build the magnets and supervise construction of the Sesame machine.”
“As with CERN, members pay dues based on the size of their economies for operating expenses estimated to be somewhat less than $6 million a year.”
These numbers are minuscule amounts to operate a credible science program centered around a synchrotron light source. Some of the SESAME member states have the resources to contribute more but it is a question of priorities I suppose.
Why can’t the super-rich people of the Middle East contribute to such a worthy project? There are about 100 billionaires in the Middle East. I am Turkish, so I should mention that Turkey alone has close to 25 billionaires. The billionaires of the Middle East should look at the example of Jim Simons who donated millions of dollars to the Brookhaven National Laboratory and donates much more to other science and mathematics projects.