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Sir Tom Devine, Ken Clarke, Charles Clarke, Fiona Hyslop
Image for Open Sesame: Science in the Desert

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Last on

Mon 26 Nov 2012 20:00 BBC Radio 4

Duration:
28 minutes
First broadcast:
Monday 26 November 2012

SESAME will be the first big scientific laboratory in the Middle East. It's a synchrotron radiation source, which produces light at different wavelengths that is used by all kinds of scientists to understand the structure of everything from materials to viruses.

It is being built in Jordan and will bring together scientists from an extraordinary range of countries in the region, including Turkey, Iran, several Arab countries, and Israel. Apart from encouraging co-operation between hostile neighbours it also aims to stop the brain drain to Europe and the US.

BBC Science Editor David Shukman travels to the desert kingdom of Jordan to look at the construction of this multi-million pound instrument and asks whether this will help rekindle the region's Golden Age of science. And he asks if it will achieve its grand aim - to encourage cooperation between hostile neighbours and open a new path to peace.

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