Cosmic Ray Division –
By Anahid Yeremian
The Cosmic Ray Division (CRD) of the Alikhanian Physics Institute won the All Armenia e-Content Contest in 2005 in the e-science category. The competition, dedicated to the 1600 th anniversary of the creation of the Armenian Alphabet, was appropriately named the Mashtots-1600 contest. Winners of this contest will represent Armenia at the World Summit on Information Society’s (WSIS) competition in Tunis in November, 2005. Because the CRD won the 2003 world competition held in Geneva , the second place winner of the All Armenia contest in the e-science category in 2005 will represent Armenia in Tunis this year. As the winner from the previous WSIS contest, CRD’s head, Prof. Ashot Chilingarian, will likely serve as a judge at the Tunis competition. We wish success to all the Armenian entries to the world contest in Tunis this year.
CRD has made a number of internationally significant contributions in the recent months. In May the Science Education for New Civic Engagements and Responsibilities (SENCER) conference, organized by the National Science Foundation (NSF) of the United States , was held at CRD’s Nor Amberd research station on Mt. Aragats . SENCER, a flagship program of the NSF, aims to advance important national educational goals by helping students understand the scientific process and the importance of civic responsibility. Prof. Chilingarian, one of four key speakers, spoke about “Space Weather and Solar Physics – Basic Science Influencing Everyday Life”. Prof. Karen Kashmanian Oates, Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs of Harrisburg University of Science and Technology, was the conference chair. About 30 participants from the Georgian State University, Georgian Medical University, Alikhanyan Physics Institute, Yerevan State University , Yerevan Technical University , as well as the chairman of Armenia ’s National Foundation for Science and Advanced Technologies (NFSAT), Dr. Harut Karapetyan, were attendees. The next meeting will be in San Jose , California , in August. Four Armenian scientists will join an international group of colleagues involved in science education reform in order to continue the work started at Nor Amberd. Armenia ’s participation is funded through a SENCER-Armenia grant sponsored by the International Center for Science and Technology at the National Science Foundation.
In June, Prof. Chilingarian represented Armenia in two key regional forums, propelling Armenia ’s visibility for its contribution to the Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) and Space Weather Forecasting in the world. At the World Summit Contributory Conference on ICT & Creativity in Vienna , Prof. Chilingarian pressed the importance of the ICT on forecasting and alerting on natural disasters and the need for a focused effort in this direction, in particular sighting his efforts in the field of Space Weather forecasting and alerts. This question will be discussed in more detail at the Solar Extreme Events -05 workshop at CRD’s Nor Amberd research station in September. Participants from the US (Naval Research Laboratory, Stanford U. , U. of Delaware ), Europe , Japan , and Russia will discuss and draw a conclusion which could be presented to the World Summit on Information Society – 05 in Tunis as the Armenian Declaration. The Vienna Declaration focused on e-learning and multimedia.
In Bulgaria , At the Balkan and Black Sea regional planning meeting for the International Heliophysical Year in 2007, Prof. Chilingarian represented Armenia as a leading actor in the region for Space Weather forecasting. With its two high altitude research stations, Nor Amberd at 6,500 ft. and Aragats at 10,500 ft., CRD is a world Leader for ground based space weather research. Space weather is the effect of the Solar activity on terrestrial systems, and thus is a very hot topic of consideration for the year dedicated to Heliophysical research. The workshop in Bulgaria included representatives from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Croatia, Georgia, Greece, Russia, Turkey, Ukraine and others countries of the region. Armenia is clearly the leader on ground based space weather monitoring in the region. Relying on the expertise of the CRD, setting up a regional network of solar monitoring stations in other countries for 24 hours of alert service, was highlighted in the workshop. The new monitors under development at the CRD can be installed in new locations in Croatia and Bulgaria , and initial discussion along these lines show great promise.
Diaspora’s support of the CRD continues to play a key role in this success story. It is truly amazing how CRD, on a funding level of less than 2 US professors’ salaries, can accomplishes such great feats on the internationally arena. Its staff of 80 scientists, technicians, and support personnel, and its 18 young University students and graduates are truly a treasure for Armenia . The support of the Diaspora, together with the talent and dedication of CRD’s staff, has been crucial in allowing the CRD to continue making important scientific advances and making Armenia an international leader in the competitive science of Space Weather Forecasting. For more information about the CRD please visit WWW.CRDFRIENDS.ORG
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