Scientific Infrastructures for peace: from CERN to the SESAME synchrotron and the new SEEIIST initiative

September 4, 2020 2:30 - 4:00


Science for peace is a captivating concept, but to make it really effective scientists need a place to meet and do research together, establishing a common ground for peaceful progress. A research infrastructure based in a region plagued by conflicts can develop cross-border relations, provide a common language to scientist from different regions, and offer challenging goals that can federate transnational support. The first and greatest example in this sense is CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research established in 1954 at Geneva. Promoting particle physics research it offered a ground for peaceful collaboration to scientists and engineers from countries that were at war less than a decade before, resulting in the establishment of the most successful particle physics laboratory in the world. CERN has become a model for what Europe can do when it unites, but can the CERN model be successfully exported? After reviewing the key elements for the success of CERN as an international research centre, this Round Table will present challenges and achievements of two recent examples of research infrastructures for peace: the SESAME synchrotron light source in the Middle East and the SEEIIST initiative for a centre for cancer therapy and research using particle beams in the South East Europe. SESAME, the ‘Synchrotron-Light for the Experimental Science and Applications in the Middle East’, was launched under the auspices of UNESCO and officially opened in Allan, Jordan in 2017, with eight member states, including Iran and Israel. In a similar way, the new “South East Europe International Institute for Sustainable Technologies” (SEEIIST) federates eight partners in the South European area to promote science for peace and international cooperation in a region that has seen deadly conflicts in a still recent past. The chosen infrastructure is a cancer therapy and biomedical research centre with protons and heavy ions addressing a critical subject for our society"

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