This important agreement allows Israeli scientists direct access to one of the world’s premier synchrotron mega-facilities, in exchange for providing 1.5% of the ESRF’s annual operating budget. An avid user, Israel has representatives on the ESRF Council and its committees. Of note, Prof. Ada Yonath’s Nobel Prize-winning research was performed mostly at the ESRF, and Prof. Dan Shechtman, also an Israeli Nobel Laureate, is an advocate of synchrotron research and has been active on ESRF committees.
The Israeli National Committee on Synchrotron Radiation, established by the Academy, works to promote research in this field and serves as the primary provider and distributor of synchrotron radiation information among Israeli scientists. As part of its responsibilities, the Committee is a member of the European Synchrotron Users Organization (ESUO), established six years ago to improve access of European scientists employing synchrotron radiation in their research (currently numbering around 10,000) to the range of European synchrotron facilities by providing increased funding to users and advising management as to user needs.
Synchrotron-light for Experimental Science and Applications in the Middle East (SESAME)
The Israel Academy’s Israeli National Committee on Synchrotron Radiation also initiated and negotiated Israel’s participation in SESAME (Synchrotron-light for Experimental Science and Applications in the Middle East). SESAME is a synchrotron research facility located in Amman, Jordan, aiming to advance research in this field via regional scientific collaborations and, as such, serves as a scientific bridge between Israel and its neighboring countries. Research in the facility will facilitate regional progress in physics, chemistry, material sciences, and biology.
Israel is a full member in SESAME, as are Bahrain, Cyprus, Egypt, Iran, Jordan, Pakistan, the Palestinian Authority, and Turkey. In addition, Britain, France, Iraq, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Russia, Sweden, and the U.S. have assisted in planning and establishing the facility.
The SESAME building was dedicated in 2008, and the facility has been operational since 2011. A major effort to upgrade the maximum beam energy to 2.5 GeV (2.5 billion electronvolts) and add 3-4 more beamlines was completed in 2014.