SESAME: the doors are closed, but open for science

08 April, 2020

Quarantine and curfew are affecting many activities in Jordan and abroad, but although SESAME’s doors have been closed since March 18th, the staff have been anything but inactive, devoting a great deal of their time at home to science and work.

With two new papers just published in the past few weeks, Messaoud Harfouche, the XAFS/XRF Beamline Scientist, keeps himself busy helping more users obtain results from the data taken at the beamline. "During these weeks, I am dealing with six projects at the same time, two from Egypt, two from Pakistan, one from Iran, and one from Jordan" he says. Given the difficulty of XAFS analysis and the complexity of some software packages, the degree of involvement in each project may vary from suggesting the best path in data analysis to full collaboration, implying result interpretation and participation in drafting a scientific paper. "Moreover”, continues Messaoud, "my own research projects were also in my drawer, waiting to be worked out. With willpower and a little perseverance, curfew may turn out to be very beneficial”.

On another front, scientists from synchrotron radiation laboratories in different points in Europe (ELETTRA in Italy, ESRF in France and SOLARIS in Poland) and SESAME in Jordan are collaborating at a distance on raytracing simulations for the Technical Design Report (TDR) of SESAME’s BEATS (BEAmline for Tomography at SESAME) beamline which is approaching finalization, and from their respective homes Matteo Altissimo (ELETTRA), Alexander Rack (ESRF), Tomasz Kolodziaj (SOLARIS), and Gianluca Iori (SESAME) are constantly in touch with each other. In parallel, from their homes, too, team members of SESAME’s technical sector have been collaborating in the final design of the front end and experimental station of the beamline. BEATS is SESAME’s hard X-ray tomography beamline that is expected to come on stream in 2022.

SESAME’s computing group has been equally active. On March 19th, just one day after the temporary lockdown of SESAME, a team consisting of Mustafa Alzu’bi, Mohammad Qtaishat, Malik Almohammad and Salman Matalgah successfully launched SESAME’s newly-acquired system for video conferencing, online meetings, screen sharing, and webinars, thereby allowing the Facility’s teams to collaborate remotely via a reliable communication platform. This was a very timely action, and since its launching the system has already been used for 79 meetings totalling 3279 minutes and 263 participants.

© SESAME 2020: As in the case of thousands of researchers worldwide, computer screens and notebooks are currently the main tools for the work of SESAME’s staff


© SESAME 2020: Usage of SESAME’s on-line meeting system since its installation in mid-March 2020