The International Centre for Synchrotron-Light for Experimental Science Applications in the Middle East (SESAME) is an independent laboratory formally created under the auspices of UNESCO on 30 May 2002. It is located in Allaan, by the Al-Balqa nahia of the Balqa governorate of Jordan.
The founding members of SESAME are Bahrain, Cyprus, Egypt, Iran, Israel, Jordan, Pakistan, the Palestinian Authority, and Turkey. The project was launched in 1999 and the ground breaking ceremony was held on 6 January 2003. Construction work began the following July, with a scheduled possible completion date of 2015. However financial and technical infrastructural obstacles could force the project to be halted and shutdown status in the near future. President of the SESAME Council is Christopher Llewellyn Smith, the Chair of the ITER Council and a former Director-General of CERN. The first president of SESAME council was Herwig Schopper, the former CERN director general.
The synchrotron radiation facility operated by SESAME is the former facility BESSY I, which was previously decommissioned in Germany.
Dr. Masoud Alimohammadi and Dr. Magid Shahriari, two Iranian members of SESAME, were killed in two different terrorist attacks in 2010.
In an interview published in 2009, physicist Herman Winick noted the name SESAME was coined to refer to door opener, the spice, and the children's television show, and the meaning Synchrotron-Light for Experimental Science Applications in the Middle East formulated to match the acronym.
^ Sigfried, Tom (2009), "SESAME opens doors to international collaboration", Science News (Washington, DC: Science News Service) 175 (2): 32, 2009-01-17, doi:10.1002/scin.2009.5591750224, retrieved 2009-01-24