Press Releases

The Cosmic Ray Division – Shines Brighter than Ever

By Anahid Yeremian
November 4, 2004

Prof. Ashot Chilingarian (left), showing the new detectors being designed for CRD’s Space Weather program, to a US delegation from the International Science and Technology Center.

The Cosmic Ray Division (CRD) of the Alikhanian Physics Institute (formerly known as Yerevan Physics Institute) shines in the international scientific arena, despite the difficult conditions in Armenia. Scientific advances at the CRD continue at a steady pace with ties between the Diaspora and the CRD stronger than ever, making us all proud of our joint accomplishments. For detailed information about the CRD please visit WWW.CRDFRIENDS.ORG . Here are a few highlights:

Important New Scientific Partnerships
CRD is a leader in ground based Space Weather Research as indicated by endorsements from the scientific community around the world. In 2004 the CRD officially signed a memorandum of understanding for scientific cooperation with the European Space Agency (ESA) and the European Union’s Commission On Science and Technology (COST). These are important additions to other prestigious research partners such as the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Agency (NOAA) in the U.S. CRD’s close scientific collaboration with EU scientific organizations will strengthen Armenia’s bid to join the EU in the future.

Strong Scientific Presence in International Conferences
During the past year CRD scientists have made important scientific contributions at several international conferences, including the NATO Space Weather Workshop in Moscow, the European Cosmic Ray Conference in Florence, and the COmmittee for SPace Research (COSPAR) congress in Paris. In many cases, CRD’s participation was by special invitation. Prof. Ashot Chilingarian, the visionary head of the CRD, is also Armenia’s representative to COSPAR, and his active participation in the committee’s activities have earned him a letter of commendation from the Executive Director of COSPAR: “… I would like to take the opportunity of this letter to thank you [Prof. Chilingarian], as Armenian National Representative, for participating actively in the committee’s activities. It is rare for new members to participate to the degree that you have, e.g., attending committee meetings, nominating candidates for awards, seeking COSPAR’s assistance in obtaining EU funding, etc. Armenia’s participation has added to the value of our Committee’s work and been remarked by our officers and certainly other national and international scientific union members as well. We look forward to future close relations, to widening participation by Armenian scientists in the international space research community, and trust you will not hesitate to contact us concerning capacity building activities or other matters in which our collaboration may be of assistance. Sincerely yours, Dr. I. Revah, Executive Director, COSPAR”

5 International Organizations Reviewed CRD in 2004.
From February through September, five different review commission from the United states and Europe visited CRD’s research stations on Mt. Aragats and headquarters in Yerevan. Visitors were introduced to the CRD’s vision and the progress of the various projects by Prof. Ashot Chilingarian. Discussions regarding sensible science policy, particularly as it relates to Armenia, ensued. Several visitors, who made their visit in the summer months and were able to go to the mountain stations, emphasized that, although they already had plenty of knowledge about the Aragats research center, only after detailed examination of the facilities and the explanations presented to them, did they fully appreciate the importance of CRD to the world-wide attempts to create a reliable and timely service for Space Weather forecasting. In his oral close-out report to the CRD group on September 25, Dr. Manfred Fleischer, deputy director in charge of research at the Deutsches Elektronen SYnchrotron (DESY), emphasized the 3 main ingredients that characterize the relevance and importance of good research to the world. He congratulated the CRD staff for fully satisfying these rather severe requirements: 1. incorporation of their research activities into numerous world-wide scientific networks, 2. co-authorship of joint papers with other scientific organizations, 3. the attraction of very large fraction of CRD’s funding from international sources. All the visitors rated CRD’s performance as outstanding and commended CRD’s important contributions to the international scientific community.

New PhD Student, Artur Reimers
The CRD has 18 students and young trainees who are completing various stages of their education at Yerevan State University. These students come to the CRD for lectures on astrophysics and some of them elect to conduct their undergraduate, masters, or PhD thesis in the field of Cosmic Rays and Space Weather. Graduates from the CRD program are offered research opportunities at the CRD - first as young trainees, and then as full employees. This academic year the Support Committee for Armenia’s Cosmic Ray Division (SACRD) welcomes our new PhD student, Artur Reimers, who developed an interest in Cosmic Ray Physics as an undergraduate student of Prof. Chilingarian.

Social Responsibility at the CRD
In addition to its outstanding international scientific accomplishments, the CRD takes social responsibility in Armenia seriously. As CRD’s computer systems were upgraded, the older computers were donated to a school in the village of Antarout on Mt. Aragats. CRD’s university students supported the school by installing the computers and providing technical assistance to the students and staff. Three years ago when Dr. Art Hazarabedian, founder of the Armenian Technology Group (ATG), donated 20 beehives with bees to the CRD to make honey for CRD’s staff stationed on Mt. Aragats, the CRD decided to committed 10% of the honey to soup-kitchens and orphanages in Armenia. The CRD has donated at least 10% of the honey to the less fortunate every year since.

Diaspora’s involvement with the CRD.
SCACRD member, Joe Dagdigian, recently returned from Armenia where he visited the CRD for the 3rd time. “I am so impressed with these people”, says Dagdigian. “They accomplish so much with so little, and are determined to stay and prosper in Armenia. My wife Lisa and I are extremely honored to be associated with such people, and with CRD’s head Prof. Ashot Chilingarian. These people are both superb scientists and dedicated Armenians. They are setting an example of how to revitalize Armenian Science. While a lot of challenges remain, the advances CRD has made during the past 5 years under Prof. Chilingarian’s leadership are astounding. ”

The SCACRD thanks the AAA, ANC, ARS, ATG, KoV, UAF, and the Armenian Diaspora press for its continued support. We thank Hairenik and NAASR bookstores in Watertown and Belmont, MA and the Sardarabad bookstore in Glendale, CA for carrying the CRD calendars featuring beautiful sights from Armenia. The proceeds from the sale of these calendars benefits the CRD.

Special thanks also go to the Armenian Engineers and Scientists of America (AESA), 417 West Arden St., #112C, Glendale, CA 91203; the AESA – MI Section, P.O. Box 4867, Troy, MI 48099; and the Bay Area Friends of Armenia (BAFA), P.O. box 3584, Daly City, CA 94015 for accepting tax deductible contributions designated specifically for the CRD. We especially thank you, the individual Diaspora members, who have caught the vision of Prof. Chilingarian and continue to stay with us on this exciting journey. Most of all we thank Prof. Ashot Chilingarian, the 80 dedicated scientists and technicians, and the 18 students of the CRD, who stay in Armenia and contribute to our motherland’s accelerated development with their talents.

Photo: Prof. Ashot Chilingarian (left), showing the new detectors being designed for CRD’s Space Weather program, to a US delegation from the International Science and Technology Center.


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