PHYSICS MATTERS — On-line Colloquia Series

PHYSICS MATTERS — On-line Colloquia Series

as a “Physics for Development” initiative in COVID times

The APS Forum on International Physics (FIP) is pleased to announce the PHYSICS MATTERS on-line colloquia series. The main goal of these on-line colloquia as part of the “Physics for Development” program of FIP is to support international engagement for APS among students and early career physicists, targeting developing community audiences, especially in a time when, due to the COVID pandemic, travel is difficult or even impossible.

Watch the PHYSICS MATTERS trailer below

Credits: @CERN, video editor and director: Samuel Hertzog, authors: Paola Catapano and Luisa Cifarelli

The first phase of the PHYSICS MATTERS series took place in the fall of 2020 from November to December, with weekly colloquia. These were pre-RECORDED video colloquia, each made available without registration for several days to ease its access no matter the time zone. All the speakers were asked to talk in a way that could stimulate curiosity and create a flow of ideas that is both educational and interesting to a broad community.
The recordings of the 2020 program can still be viewed from this web page (see below).

In 2021 we plan to continue the PHYSICS MATTERS series with LIVE on-line colloquia that will primarily target and involve some test centers, selected from within the partner countries of the SESAME project (Synchrotron-Light for
Experimental Science and Applications in the Middle East), a project supported by the APS.

Our goal is however to enlarge the audience to as many developing communities as possible and share those exciting colloquia with the public. Hence, FIP wants to build capacity and enable developing communities. The live events will be organized in coordination with in-country physics societies and knowledgeable diaspora to ensure good video connections. Of course, they will be also open to all APS FIP members and FIP friends.  

View Past Recordings


Turkey in SESAME & SESAME in Turkey: a “Physics Matters” Relationship by Prof. Zehra Sayers

Sabanci University, Faculty of Engineering and Natural Sciences, Orhanli, Tuzla 34956 Istanbul, Turkey.

Monday August 22, 2022
16:00 CET (10 EDT)

Register Here


SESAME is an intergovernmental synchrotron radiation laboratory in the Middle East. It is established by member countries (Cyprus, Egypt, Israel, Iran, Jordan, Palestine, Pakistan and Turkey) from the region supported by observer countries from all over the world. Turkey, which does not have a history of close scientific cooperation in the Middle East, was one of the founding members of SESAME and has been an active partner, providing numerous scientists for various advisory committees, a steady financial support for its establishment and sustainability, and a steady stream of users carrying out successful experiments. It is also setting an example by being the first member to commit itself to building a beamline/experimental endstation on the SESAME storage ring. How did this happen? In this talk I will seek answers to the questions such as “What are the foundations of the special relationship between Turkey and SESAME?”, “Whether the Turkish experience can provide lesons for possible new members and, if so, in which ways?” and “Can the relationship be fostered to grow to be even stronger in the future regardless of internal turmoils in the country and/or in the international scene?”

Zehra Sayers is a molecular biophysicist with research focus on synchrotron X-ray structure analysis of biological macromolecules, including chromatin, cytoskeletal proteins and more lately metal homeostasis and metal binding proteins from different organisms. She is also interested in implementation of modern pedagogical approaches for teaching interdisciplinary curricula.
She completed her BSc in Physics, in Bogazici University, Turkey and her PhD in Biophysics, in the University of London, UK. She worked in the UK and Sweden and at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) Hamburg Outstation, Germany, before joining Sabanci University (SU), Turkey, as a founding faculty member. Here she served as the Director of Foundation Development Program and as the interim President. After a sabbatical at the EMBL Hamburg Outstation, currently she continues research and teaching at Sabanci University as an emeritus professor.
She has been the Chair of the Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) of the international synchrotron radiation facility project SESAME (Synchrotron-light for Experimental Science and Applications in the Middle East) between 2002 and 2018. Her scientific achievements and contributions to the realization of this project have been internationally recognized with the Rammal Award in 2017 and AAAS Science Diplomacy Award in 2019. She was included in the BBC list of 100 Most Inspiring and Influential Women of 2019. She is also an honorary member of the Science Academy of Turkey.