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CNR: Alamanacco della Scienza


N. 10 - 12 giu 2013
ISSN 2037-4801

International info   a cura di Cecilia Migali


South Africa joins the Esrf 

South Africa has signed a medium-term arrangement with the Esrf at a level of 0.3% and, in doing so, has become the 20th country to join the European synchrotron. South Africa's affiliation is a major milestone in its long-standing determination to reinforce ties with the international synchrotron radiation community. And with the Republic's well-known attraction to all that shines, the choice to join the world's brightest light source is befitting.

"It's a tremendous opportunity for South African students to benefit from the excellent science and training they can receive at the Esrf and to bring that excellence back home with them for the benefit of South African research", said Professor Chetty after the signing ceremony on the premises of the Esrf.

Francesco Sette, Director General, and Luis Sanchez-Ortiz, Director of Administration, signed the agreement on behalf of the international research institute. The Esrf aims to promote South Africa's use of the facility and encourage a maturation of South Africa's participation towards the status of Scientific Associate at a level of 1%.

Since the early '90s, scientists from South African research organizations and the Esrf have established strong collaborations. Scientific results from South African users of the Esrf have featured prominently in leading international scientific journals such as 'Nature' and 'Science'. Several South African companies have also conducted research at the Esrf. Sasol, the international energy and chemical giant based in Johannesburg, for example, has developed a significant research programme in catalysis using the high flux, high resolution and very short timescales of measurement available at the Esrf.

South African palaeontology recently made international headlines when the brain of an early human ancestor, Australopithecus sediba, was visualised in three dimensions using X-rays at the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility. According to Lee Berger, who discovered the fossil in 2009, it is probably the closest ancestor of our own genus, the genus homo.

South African scientists pioneered the use of synchrotron light to study the quality of diamond surfaces at the Esrf as early as 1994, the same year it opened for user operation. Ever since, collaboration has continued in this field and the diamond based X-ray beam optical elements born as a result of this research are now regular features in high energy synchrotrons and X-ray free electron lasers (Xfels) around the world.

Per saperne di più: - www.esrf.eu/news/general/southafricajoins/index_html/