High award for science diplomacy

News, 16 February 2019

On 15 February 2019, Eliezer Rabinovici, Member of the JINR Scientific Council, and Herwig Franz Schopper, a Member of the JINR Scientific Council in 1993-2003, were awarded by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) the prize for science diplomacy for 2019 together with other famous scientists: Sir Christopher Llewellyn Smith, Zehra Saers and Jordan Khaled Tukan for their considerable contribution in the creation and development of the international scientific centre SESAME (Allan, Jordan).

From left to right: Ch. Llewellyn Smith, E. Rabinovici, Z. Saers, H. Schopper, Kh. Tukan

The International Physical Centre SESAME is located not far from the city of Allan on the West of Jordan. The SESAME synchrotron source belongs to the third generation of such machines and is the first such facility in the region. The SESAME was constructed in cooperation with CERN (the European Organizations for Nuclear Research) headed by UNESCO. Being a joint project of Bahrein, Cyprus, Egypt, Iran, Israel, Jordan, Pakistan, Palestina and Turkey, the SESAME is aimed at activation of scientific research and strengthening of scientific cooperation in the Middle East.

Eliezer Rabinovici in cooperation with his close colleagues, in particular, with the late Professor Sergio Fubini, managed to join efforts of a large number of scientists and to establish the Middle East Scientific Cooperation Group, an organization on the basis of which the SESAME centre was founded then. After the establishment of the Middle East Group, E. Rabinovici played a significant role in the foundation of the SESAME providing participation of Israel in this work and being Vice-President of the SESAME Council, a governing body of the new centre. Nowadays, E. Rabinovici is a Member of the SESAME Council.

Professor Herwig Schopper, former CERN Director General, was also President of the SESAME Council and greatly contributed to the creation of this scientific centre. Before the SESAME was established, being the first Chairman of the governing committee of the Middle East Scientific Cooperation Group, H. Schopper headed the formation of principles of cooperation between participating countries. By the end of his term as President of the SESAME Council, the centre had an established cooperation structure, a developed training programme for researchers and engineers from the participating countries, and some components of the constructed accelerator.

The AAAS award for science diplomacy was established in 1992 as the award for contribution in the international cooperation in the fields of science. The prize is awarded to certain representatives or groups of workers of the scientific and engineering community as well as to persons engaged in foreign affairs who have contributed to science diplomacy. The prize consists of the honorary diploma and the monetary award of 5,000 USD. The prize laureates 2019 decided to use this award for payment of work of a young scientist in the SESAME centre. The awarding ceremony was held at the 185th AAAS annual meeting in Washington, D.C., the USA.