Advanced Summer School in Physics at Yerevan Physics Institute

By Joseph Dagdigian

October 2016

Summer school participants of the Advanced Summer School in Physics at YerPhI

The Advanced Summer School in Physics was held from August 17 to 20 at the Yerevan Physics Institute (YerPhI) - named in honor of its founder Artem Alikhanyan.  

Twenty-four students from Yerevan State University and the Armenian State Pedagogical University participated in the summer school.  Lectures and classes, delivered by senior scientists from various divisions of YerPhI, were held both at the Cosmic Ray Division’s (CRD) Nor Ambert Cosmic Ray research center on Mt. Aragats and at the Yerevan Physics Institute’s headquarters in Yerevan.

A series of 15 lectures and classes introduced the students to the latest developments in cosmic ray and atmospheric physics, cosmology, accelerator physics, information technology (IT), and the practical applications of these recent developments.  During laboratory sessions students assembled systems of particle detectors, measured elemental composition of materials, and familiarized themselves with modern Graphic Processing Unit (GPU) servers. They also evaluated the yield of medical isotopes produced at YerPhI’s newly established Medical Isotope Division. Here the goal is to produce much-needed medical isotopes for Armenia’s medical institutions.

On the final day of classes the group visited CRD’s research center and cosmic ray observatory at 10,500 ft. elevation on Mt. Aragats. This is the world’s largest research center for monitoring secondary cosmic rays. Students examined CRD’s network of particle detectors, which register various subatomic components, as well as other instruments used in research atmospheric physics. They saw how the data is used in formulating a deeper understanding of solar and atmospheric physics, lightning initiation, and how this information is used to help predict space weather events.

The hands-on nature of the summer school impressed upon the students that physics is an experimental discipline. Knowledge advances from theory to scientific models, to experimental measurements, to improvements in scientific models, and eventually to theories culminating in practical applications.

The Yerevan Physics Institute provides modern experimental facilities along with senior staff members to encourage talented Armenians to represent Armenia and contribute to international scientific collaborations.  The mission of Armenia’s National Laboratory includes high standards of education in Master and PhD programs as one of its most important components. It demonstrates, in pragmatic ways, that science and education are vital components of Armenia’s continuing development. The Master courses in physics prepare students for the PhD program. Upon completion graduates are prepared to do quality research in an academic environment, in national research laboratories, and in industry.

Next on YerPhI’s agenda was the fifth annual workshop on Thunderstorms and Elementary Particle Acceleration (TEPA 2015), which took place from October 5 through 9 and was organized by the Cosmic Ray Division. Participants from 7 nations gathered at CRD’s Nor Ambert research station and conference center to discuss this hot topic. This area of research was originally introduced and is currently led by the scientists of the Cosmic Ray Division of Yerevan Physics Institute. Young CRD scientists have already made important discoveries and contributions to this field of study.

For information on Master and PhD programs please visit:

For additional information on the TEPA conference please see: