In a record time by any standards, just five years after the ground-breaking ceremony, the Jordanian Authorities officially handed over to SESAME the building that is to serve as its premises. This was done in a 'soft' inauguration that took place in Allan (Jordan) on 3 November 2008. The event also marked the installation of the microtron, which provides the initial acceleration of the electron beam and injects it into the booster synchrotron, and part of the booster synchrotron, from which the beam will be injected into the SESAME storage ring itself, as well as components of several complete beamlines.
The ceremony took place under the auspices of H.M. King Abdullah II of Jordan and with the participation of H.R.H. Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad and Koïchiro Matsuura, Director-General of UNESCO. Also present were Ministers of Science and Research, Ministers of Education and delegates to the Council of SESAME of Members and Observers of the Centre, as well as Ambassadors, Jordanian officials, representatives of UNESCO and of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Directors of scientific laboratories in different parts of the globe and representatives of the scientific community at large.
Guests were welcomed by the Director of the Centre, Khaled Toukan, who thanked the Authorities of Jordan, UNESCO, the IAEA, the international community and the SESAME staff for their contribution to the project. The President of the Council of SESAME, Herwig Schopper, a former Director-General of CERN who has been at the helm of the project ever since its inception in 1999, referred to the beginnings of the project and the extremely short time in which the SESAME building was constructed, as well as the crucial role that had been played by Jordan, UNESCO and the Director of the Centre. He expressed the hope that the example given by the King of Jordan will encourage other countries of the region to follow his vision. The Director-General of UNESCO, Koïchiro Matsuura, a fervent champion of the project, paid tribute to the role played by Jordan, particularly H.M. King Abdullah II, and that played by the President of the SESAME Council and the Director of the Centre, as well as the Authorities and institutions which have provided equipment or funding for the Centre. He said that UNESCO was proud to be associated with a project which would bring so much for the region and assured participants of the Organization's continued commitment to SESAME. He called upon the European Commission and other donors, especially donor countries and organizations from the region, to provide support and take part in setting up this cutting-edge research laboratory in the Middle East.
The SESAME staff, previously working from the premises of UNESCO's office in Amman, have now taken up residence in their own building.
Situated in Allan some 30km north-west of Amman, the building specially-constructed for SESAME, and the site on which it stands, were provided by Jordan as part of the commitment it made if the Centre was located on its territory.
The building was designed by Rafiq Sarraf and the Department of Engineering of Al-Balqa' Applied University in Salt (Jordan), together with engineers from the Karlsruhe Research Centre in Germany.
The ground floor will contain the 2.5 GeV storage ring which will have a circumference of ~133 m, the booster ring, the injector and up to 28 beamlines. By offsetting the ring by 5m, some of these beamlines will have lengths of up to 37m. The experimental hall is square-shaped as in the case of the ANKA synchrotron light source at Karlsruhe. It measures 60 X 60m with extensions of 7m on each side. There is place for 12 laboratories and 3 workshops in the corners. The first floor provides 2100m² space for 20m² offices for staff and users and for the control room.
The microtron that has been installed is a component of the BESSY I machine that Germany donated to SESAME. Tests carried out on the microtron have been successful and it is shortly to be operational.
Guests at the 'soft' inauguration were also able to see the booster, and the initial cluster of beamlines and beamline components.
All this shows that the laboratory is beginning in the true sense of the word.
Speech by the Director of SESAME, Khaled Toukan
Speech by the President of the SESAME Council, Herwig Schopper
Speech by the Director-General of UNESCO, Koïchiro Matsuura