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ISSN: 1600-5775

29th International Na­thiagali Summer College focuses on light sources

The second week (5–10 July) of this year's Nathiagali Summer College was devoted to laser physics and advanced light sources. The first college was held in 1976 and was the brainchild of the late Professor Abdus Salam, who proposed the establishment of the college as an attempt to bridge the information gap between the north and south, the so-called north–south divide. These colleges have been organized annually by the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission, the Higher-Education Commission and Quaid-I-Azam University, and are co-sponsored by the Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics, Trieste, Italy. Recently it has also attracted support from the Chinese Academy of Sciences and CERN, among others. Over the years the college has attracted over 5200 attendees from over 70 developing countries and some 500 renowned scientists including six Nobel laureates. This year it again attracted participants from more than ten countries. The college was divided into four parts and for each part the participants were largely different with less than 10% attending the whole two weeks. The small size of the college (40 at any one time) provided an excellent opportunity for the participants and lecturers to share their knowledge and experience.

Synchrotron radiation sources and their applications formed the subject of one of these parts (5–7 July). An additional interest among the participants was provided by exposure to the SESAME project, its status and opportunities. Pakistan is one of the founding members of SESAME. Herwig Schopper, President of the SESAME Council, formerly the Director General of CERN, gave the Abdus Salam lecture. He focused on the establishment of SESAME as an international project and stressed the need for a step change in science funding and infrastructure in the region. Economic development would only come from such bold action. Louise Johnson from Oxford, and Life Sciences director of Diamond, gave an overview on `Synchrotron Radiation in the Life Sciences'. She concluded her talk with a quote from the originator of the Nathiagali Summer College, Abdus Salam, `Science and technology are cyclical. They are a shared heritage of all mankind. East and west, north and south have all equally participated in their creation in the past, as we hope that they will in the future, the joint endeavor in sciences becoming one of the unifying forces among diverse peoples of this globe'. Zahid Hussain (ALS, Berkeley), Herman Winick (SSRL, Stanford) and Samar Hasnain (SRS, Daresbury) each gave several lectures and covered the sources, beamline design and science applications in physical, environmental and biological disciplines.[link]

[Figure 1]
Figure 1
Samar Hasnain standing with Professor Aslam Baig, Science Chair of the Synchrotron Radiation and Laser Physics Summer College, with a couple of his research students. Professor Baig is the chairman of the Physics Department at Quaid-e-Azam University and has been appointed as the Scientific Director of SESAME.
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