A Biography of Ashot Chilingarian

About the Head of CRD of Yerevan Physics Institute (YerPhI), named after Artem Alikhanyan as of December 2008. Prof. Chilingarian was elected American Physical Society Fellow in December 2011, a prestigious honor given to only a few of the world's greatest scientists.

The Yerevan Physics Institute has 5 divisions: Cosmic Ray Division (CRD), Experimental, Theory, Accelerator and Applied R & D divisions. He has been the head of the CRD since 1993. Under his leadership the CRD has had numerous important achievements including winning the first World Summit on Information Society award for its Data visualization Interactive Network (DVIN), forging several important international collaborations, creating the Aragats Space Environmental Center (ASEC) and the world-wide Space Environmental Viewing and Analysis Network (SEVAN).


He earned his Ph.D. in Physics and Mathematics in 1991 from YerPhI.  From 1971 to 1993 he was a scientist, then senior scientist at the Yerevan Physics Institute.  In 1993 he became the deputy director of the Institute as well as head of the Cosmic Ray Division. Since 1975 he has been a lecturer of Physics and Software Engineering at Yerevan State University (YSU).

His expertise is in the sphere of high energy astroparticle physics, particle detector instrumentation and advanced statistical computation, including Bayesian and neural network models. His current interests include the Galactic and Solar cosmic ray origin and acceleration, detection of secondary cosmic ray fluxes on earth surface, Space Weather and supernovae explosions.


In the last 10 years Prof. Chilingarian has won more than 20 research grants totaling more than 2.5M USD from foundations such as the International Science and Technology Center (ISTC), International Technology and Science foundation (INTAS) and others.

 He is the author of the ANI (Analysis and Nonparametric Inference) computer code library, which has been extensively used during the last few decades for multidimensional analysis of data from modern cosmic ray detectors. He also introduced the "multidimensional nonlinear cuts" method for analyzing data from the Atmospheric Cherenkov Telescopes (ACT) and event-by-event analysis for Extensive Air Shower experiments. Under his supervision, the Data Visualization Interactive Network (DVIN) was developed for the Aragats Space Environmental Center.  This project won a UN World Summit on Information Society award in Geneva in 2003.


His main scientific achievements include discovery of the features of Galactic Cosmic Rays’ spectra such as: very sharp change of the power spectra index (~1) for the light nuclei group at 2-4 PeV and no pronounced change for the heavy nuclei group (at least for energies 20-30 PeV) Discovery of charge dependent “knee” in energy spectra pointed on the shock acceleration initiated by the supernovae blasts as most probable mechanism of particle acceleration. Discovery of energetic protons (with energies greater than 20 GeV) accelerated in vicinity of Sun at 20 January, 2005 during Ground Level Enhancement (GLE) event N 69.

Prof. Chilingarian recently proposed using the large ground-based detectors on Mt. Aragats, together with his statistical data analysis methods, for the advance detection of fluxes of charged and neutral particles to detect highest energy solar cosmic rays and research radiation and geomagnetic storms from severe solar energetic explosions. Preliminary research on recent violent solar eruptions indicates that the CRD research stations on Mt. Aragats are ideally located for this purpose.


The Aragats Space Environment Center (ASEC), which was founded by him in 1999, is equipped with new hybrid particle detectors that simultaneously measure charged and neutral fluxes in secondary cosmic rays.  The Space Environment Viewing and Analysis Network (SEVAN), founded in 2007, is a world-wide network of new particle detectors for research in space weather and solar physics. Nodes of the SEVAN network are now operating in Armenia, Bulgaria and Croatia.


Prof. Chilingarian has been lecturing at YSU more than 30 years. He delivers courses on Neural Networks, Data Analysis, Introduction to High Energy Astrophysics, Models of Stochastic processes in Cosmic Ray Physics and other for students of Applied Mathematics and Physics departments. Recently he organizes Space Education Center in Yerevan Physics Institute.


Outside his field, Prof. Ashot Chilingarian has been interested in applying his data analysis methods to solutions for practical problems in industry and microbiology.  He was awarded a research grant from the Civilian Research and Development Foundation (CRDF) to develop new methods of DNA micro-array data analysis based on quantification of different types of gene expression in normal and tumor-affected tissues. The work culminated in a patent application by Utah’s Huntsman Cancer Research Center. 


Prof. Chilingarian has authored ~300 scientific publications and served on many international scientific boards.  He has been chairperson of several international conferences and given numerous presentations in the fields of high energy and cosmic ray physics and on new methods of data analysis.


Currently he is Armenia’s representative to COSPAR (the COmmission for SPace Research) and International Heliophysical Year 2007, spokesperson for ANI and ASEC collaborations.  In addition, he is on the board of the Armenian National Foundation of Science and Advanced Technologies (NFSAT).



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