On February 15, Italy’s Ambassador to Jordan, Fabio Cassese, inaugurated at SESAME a new laboratory of the INFN-CHNet network dedicated to Cultural Heritage of the Italian National Institute for Nuclear Physics (INFN) and hailed SESAME’s inclusion in the network. The ceremony took place in the presence of the Director of SESAME, Khaled Toukan, and many members of the scientific community. The event was also attended by the coordinator of the INFN-CHNet network, Francesco Taccetti, and Mariangela Cestelli Guidi, Head of the synchrotron beamline of the Daphne-Light Laboratory at the INFN Frascati National Laboratories.
INFN has put state-of-the-art technical equipment at the disposal of the newly-launched laboratory. This is in particular the case of a new microscope and new spectroscope for SESAME’s Infrared beamline.
Addressing the participants, Ambassador Cassese stated that “Italy has been strongly committed to supporting SESAME, both financially and in terms of highly-qualified human and scientific resources, ever since it was created”. “Cultural heritage”, he added, “is an area of paramount importance for Italy and a source of significant bilateral synergies as well exemplified by several Italian archaeological expeditions to Jordan and existing academic cooperation in this field with relevant Jordanian institutes. Therefore, I am delighted to see this sector now becoming one of the focused research areas at SESAME.”
“Italy and INFN have called present at all times”, stressed Khaled Toukan, “whether in construction of part of the accelerator and the detection systems, or capacity building for the staff and user community and integration of SESAME into public and social-economic landscapes through the European Union OPEN SESAME project”. “This steadfast commitment continues” he added, “as seen by the recently-signed Memorandum of Understanding by INFN and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Italy aimed at creating a joint INFN-SESAME laboratory for the study of cultural heritage in the Middle East and neighbouring countries”.
Gihan Kamel, the Egyptian scientist heading SESAME’s infrared beamline, who gained her experience in Synchrotron Radiation at the National Laboratories of Frascati, highlighted how “synchrotron radiation sources have a significant impact on the study of cultural and natural heritage, allowing the safe, non-destructive examination of art works and artefacts”, while SESAME’s Scientific Director, Andrea Lausi, remarked how “SESAME gives access to these techniques in a region which is the cradle of civilization and possibly the richest in archaeological and cultural heritage”.
"The new laboratory, SESAME’s joining the INFN-CHNet network and tomorrow’s online SESAME Cultural Heritage Day being organized jointly by SESAME, the HESEB (HElmholtz-SESAME beamline) consortium and the European BEATS project in which INFN is one of the partners," concluded Francesco Taccetti, "are encouraging signs of the determination to give high prominence to the promotion of cultural heritage research at SESAME."