The Sesame project in Jordan has brought together scientists from many Middle Eastern countries, including Turkey, Bahrain, Egypt and Jordan. Even bitter foes Iran and Israel are participating.
Sesame is a synchrotron facility, a particle accelerator akin to that in Europe called Cern. The Sesame project was a bold idea that seemed to many completely unrealistic. Yet Sesame has brought many countries totally opposed to one another together in a scientific project that will allow them all to share in the benefits of cutting edge research in science. It is a project that none of the countries could afford on their own.
The project might be called propaganda of the deed, showing that where there is the will even enemies can work together for their common good, instead of blowing each other up. Unfortunately, Saudi Arabia, which has plenty of extra cash, so far has not joined in with the group. If Iran and Israel can cooperate, surely it would not hurt Saudi Arabia to join in.
Many were surprised that Sesame even got started. However, it already has a new building in Jordan northwest of the capital Amman. It also has some components that will accelerate electron flows. If the project continues to progress, by 2015 the machines should allow scientists to peer into the world of the very small. Construction is proceeding with big concrete blocks being put into place for shielding against radiation. The administrators are planning budgets and the hiring of staff.
The project continues after a decade of difficulties with funding and questions about who would take part. When the BBC wanted to make a report on the project, they were concerned that many people would not want to be filmed. When they met with a group from the project in the basement ballroom of a hotel, the reporters were relieved when after they told the group that they intended to report on the project and how they intended to do so, they observed a number of people nodding their heads in agreement.
The crew then asked if anyone did not want to be filmed. No one spoke up. The group was asked again but no one raised their hand. Everyone was obviously proud to be associated with the project. Sesame could still fail due to funding problems or a conflict in Jordan or elsewhere. Saudi Arabia has refused to take part, probably because of the presence of Israel. The United States has sent an observer but provides no funding. Nevertheless, the project has already gone a long way in spite of the odds, and by 2015 it may serve as a wonder in a world wracked by conflict.