Press Releases

Armenia's Cosmic Ray Division Continues Rich Scientific Tradition - Thanks to Diaspora Support.

Anahid Yeremian, Accelerator Physicist, Stanford Linear Accelerator Center

Photo - Dr. Razmik Mirzoyan from Munich's Max-Planck Institute (formerly from Yerevan Physics Institute) discussing a paper presented by Armenia's Cosmic Ray Division (CRD) with Ararat Vardanyan and Nerses Gevorgyan, two young scientists from the CRD in Armenia.

Cosmic Ray Division Succeeding
A year and a half ago the Support Committee for Armenia's Cosmic Ray Division brought to the diaspora's attention the valuable science and technology being developed at the Cosmic Ray Division (CRD) in Armenia. We alerted the public to the threat the CRD confronted in the face of Armenia's economic troubles. You have helped the CRD remain part of Armenia's present instead of just its history.

Led by Prof. Ashot Chilingaryan, the CRD with its 100 scientists and support personnel conducts research in solar and high energy astrophysics. The CRD's advanced technologies span the areas of physics, mathematics and computer science.

Two high altitude cosmic ray and solar research stations on Mt. Aragats are staffed by scientists conducting research 24 hours a day all year round, despite the snow which reaches the second floor windows during the winter. CRD employees alternate their work between the high altitude stations and CRD headquarters in Yerevan in three to five week shifts. Traveling to and from CRD's stations for shift changes during the winter months is long and dangerous.

A number of international scientific organizations fund research projects in Armenia. Funding typically covers the purchase of instrumentation, the small salaries of the scientists, and travel expenses for Armenian scientists to present their results at international conferences. CRD's total funding is equivalent to the salary of a single professor in the US. The quality research conducted by the CRD would cost 50 times more in the United States.

Most international funding does not cover overhead expenses, and due to Armenia's current economic hardships, almost none of these expenses are met by the Armenian government. These very basic expenses, include maintenance, electricity, petrol, provisions for the high altitude stations, and the meager salaries for support and maintenance personnel. Without these items CRD's research will stop and international funding, several fold more than the overhead expenses, will cease. The dedicated scientists at the CRD who would rather stay in Armenia would then have no choice but to accept employment outside Armenia.

Thus the CRD Support Committee, based in the town of Harvard, Massachusetts, was formed to organize support from the diaspora. Thanks to the generous response from individuals and organizations, we were able to raise about half of the overhead expenses needed. While this fell short of our goal, we have helped the CRD to remain operational and make significant advances. Some very crucial repairs were postponed till next summer when we hope they will have the necessary funds.

CRD's Projects in Armenia.

Currently 3 key CRD projects either have international funding or are being proposed to the international scientific community:

1. Forecasting of Solar Radiation Storms - During peaks in the sun's 11 year cycle, the most powerful explosions from the Sun, Solar Flares, cause a variety of effects which can damage satellite electronics or significantly shorten their lifetime in orbit, pose a mortal danger to astronauts in orbit and result in large doses of radiation to aircraft crews, especially during flights near the polar regions.

The CRD has developed some unique and reliable methods to estimate the danger from the most severe radiation storms unleashed by solar flares, which allow warnings 30 minutes before their dangerous effects reach the earth. A prototype early warning capability developed by CRD has great practical and commercial potential. Its proposal to develop a more extensive warning service over the next 3 years is still pending.

2. Extensive Air Showers - This study in fundamental high energy astrophysics examines the origin of high energy cosmic rays, the interactions of cosmic rays with the atmosphere, and detection methods. This research is conducted in partnership with institutions in Germany, Russia, and France.

3. Gene Expression Analysis Software - In collaboration with the Huntsman Cancer Research Institute in Salt Lake City Utah, Prof. Chilingaryan has applied statistical software methods (originally developed by him to analyze cosmic ray data) to do analysis of genetic composition. Gene Expression Analysis is one of the most promising advances for finding cures for cancer, diabetes and others terminal diseases. The contract with Huntsman Cancer Research Institute has already resulted in a technical paper authored jointly by CRD and Huntsman scientists.

Business partnerships are being sought to fully develop the practical aspects of CRD's research and generate revenue for CRD, for Armenia, and for CRD's partners. For more information please contact Anahid Yeremian (, Joseph Dagdigian (, or Tanya Bresinksy (

Young Armenian Scientists at International Conference
Prof. Chilingaryan is determined to provide opportunities for bright young Armenian scientists such as Ararat Vardanyan and Nerses Gevorgyan (see photo) to pursue scientific careers in Armenia. Both Mr. Gevorgyan, a PhD candidate at Yerevan State University, and Dr. Vardanyan who recently defended his PhD thesis under Prof. Chilingaryan, accompanied him to the International Cosmic Ray Conference in Hamburg, Germany this past August. The CRD presented over 20 papers on research conducted with American, German, Japanese, French and Russian research partners. Armenia was highlighted as one of the top 5 countries in the world with the most experienced scientists and the most relevant scientific projects, together with the United States, Germany, Russia and Japan

Thanks for Your Support
The CRD Support Committee wishes to publicly express its appreciation to individuals who have so generously, and in many cases so sacrificially, contributed to the survival of the CRD. We want to thank the Armenian Engineers and Scientists of America, and the Armenian National Science and Education Fund for their services. We thank the Fund for Armenian Relief for so quickly responding to CRD's emergency needs last year. Thanks also to the Armenian Relief Society for their important and timely response to a request for help, and to the Armenian Technology Group for their donation of beehives, which provide tasty honey for breakfast at the high altitude stations on Mt. Aragats.

We especially wish to thank the dedicated men and women of the CRD in Armenia for their hard work under most difficult circumstances. We want them to know that we, the diaspora, will not abandon them and will do our part to help them to do theirs.

Continued Support is Critical.
The good news is that Prof. Chilingaryan and his young scientists are keeping Armenia on the map of world-class scientific research. However CRD's funding level, particularly of its overhead expenses, is at a sub-critical level. The young scientists of the CRD are continuously recruited by foreigners to leave for higher paying jobs and a more secure environment. But they would much rather stay in Armenia, and on their beloved Mt. Aragats. What are the chances that they can realize their passion to serve Armenia with their science? The answer is up to us.

Please Don't Stop Now.
Help keep our young, talented, energetic minds employed in Armenia. Please send your tax deductible donations, payable to the Armenian Engineers and Scientists of America (AESA) at 417 West Arden Ave. #112 C Glendale, CA 91203. Be sure to indicate "For CRD" on the memo line of the check. AESA is a 501( c)(3) tax deductible organization. If your employer is one of the many companies that will match employee donations, ask them to match your contribution to the CRD via AESA. Please contact Joseph Dagdigian or Anahid Yeremian for details.

Tanya Bresinsky, Joseph Dagdigian, Anahid Yeremian
CRD Support Committee
PO Box 566, Harvard, MA 01451 September 12, 2001



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