YEREVAN—Several bright, young university students who conducted their thesis work at the Cosmic Ray Division (CRD) of the Yerevan Physics Institute (YerPhI) recently entered a new milestone in their careers. Hripsime Mkrtchyan and Hasmik Rostomyan successfully finished their master’s in physics coursework at Yerevan State University and accepted offers to join the staff at the CRD. There, they presented the results of their research at the Thunderstorms and Elementary Particle Acceleration (TEPA 2013) international conference hosted at CRD’s Nor Ambert Research Center on Armenia’s Mt. Aragats from Sept. 9-13.
Mkrtchyan’s Master’s theses was titled, “The Electrical Structure of Thunderclouds and Initiation of the Thunderstorm Ground Enhancements (TGEs).” Rostomyan’s was titled, “The Maximal Energy of Solar Acceleretors: Evidence from Space and Earth’s Surface Measurements.” Both researchers described mechanisms by which subatomic particles are accelerated by natural forces in the environment. The CRD frequently presents opportunities for promising young scientists and engineers, including students, to present their research results at international scientific forums.
Both Mkrtchyan and Rostomyan were recent recipients of the Kirakos Vapurciyan Scholarship for CRD students. This scholarship was established by the Vapurciyan family according to the will of the late Kirakos Vapurciyan of Michigan. In her letter of gratitude to the Vapurciyans, Mkrtchyan wrote, “I would like to express my gratitude to you and thank you for such an honorable reward. I am deeply appreciative for your support. This award has encouraged me to do deeper observations in my field of science. Thank you again!” Rostomyan expressed similar sentiments in her letter to the Vapurciyans.
Computer scientist Hayk Avagyan, a recent graduate from Yerevan State University, also acceped a position at the CRD. He is helping develop new algorithms for data analysis and the correlation of data from the Aragats Space Environmental Center with data from other astroparticle physics experiments.
From the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind., physics undergraduate Patrick Fasano, with the support of the Nanovic Institute for European Studies at Notre Dame, interned at the CRD this past summer. Fasano spent 10 weeks assisting graduate students with upgrades and improvements to CRD’s data storage and processing software, as well as studying the physics of Thunderstorm Ground Enhancements, a newly discovered high-energy phenomena that accelerates cosmic ray particles within thunderclouds.
When Notre Dame physics professor Ani Aprahamian suggested to Fasano that there may be an internship available in Armenia, he did a quick Google search and study of Armenia: Where is it, and what is it like there? There was little time for him to consider this opportunity, but he decided to go for it.
Fasano was mentored by Bagrat Mailyan and Artur Reymers, both young physicists who received their Ph.D.’s within the past few years. According to Mailyan and Reymers, Fasano is a very bright young man with a bright future in science. Besides his work at the CRD, he enjoyed touring the country and participating in lunch-time debates with the other young scientists. He says he would go back to Armenia and the CRD in a heartbeat.
Thirteen of the CRD’s young scientists and staff received performance-based bonuses from the Harutyun and Nadya Vaporciyan family for their outstanding work and their resolve to continue pursuing excellence in Armenia. “I have their picture on my mirror, and I look at them every day and I am so proud,” said Harutyun Vaporciyan, regarding these talented young people.
“All in all, we are pleased with the progress of our students and our young and seasoned scientists who mentor our students,” said Prof. Ashot Chilingarian, the director of Yerevan Physics Insitute and the head of its Cosmic Ray Division. “I, together with the CRD’s entire staff, express our profound thanks to the Vaporciyan family, some of whom have visited CRD’s facilities in Armenia.” CRD’s staff, as well as members of the Support Committee for Armenia’s Cosmic Ray Division (SCACRD), congratulate Mkrtchyan and Rostomyan for their recent accomplishments, offer them their support, and wish them well in the coming years.