New Armenian President Visits Yerevan Physics Institute

Armenia’s President Armen Sarkissian visited Yerevan Physics Institute (YerPhI) headquarters in Yerevan on May 3 (Photo: YerPhI)

YEREVAN—Armenia’s President Armen Sarkissian, accompanied by the chairman of YerPhI’s board of trustees, Mr. Nerses Yeritsyan, visited Yerevan Physics Institute (YerPhI) headquarters in Yerevan on May 3. The president, who himself has a PhD in Physics, met YerPhI’s new director together with both senior and young scientists to discuss their research.

In April 2018 the Board of Trustees of the Alikhanyan National Scientific Laboratory, YerPhI, approved the appointment of Ani Aprahamian, professor of Physics at Notre Dame University (Indiana, USA), as YerPhI’s new director. Prof. Aprahamian takes over YerPhI’s leadership from Prof. Ashot Chilingarian who held this position for 10 years while simultaneously continuing his role as the head of its Cosmic Ray Division (CRD). As Prof. Aprahamian takes responsibility for all of YerPhI, Prof. Chilingarian will continue to focus his attention on directing CRD’s research and education projects.

During President Armen Sarkissian’s visit, Prof. Ashot Chilingarian introduced him to some of CRD’s ongoing research projects including the Space Environmental Viewing and Analysis Network (SEVAN), a network of astroparticle detectors, and CRD’s Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) facility.

The SEVAN network was designed and deployed by young CRD scientists and engineers to monitor cosmic radiation in the atmosphere.  Networked cosmic ray detectors are installed in a number of Eastern European countries as well as in Armenia and Artsakh. Data from the detectors is relayed via the Internet to CRD’s headquarters where it is analyzed and made available to scientists worldwide. The LIDAR facility was designed and fabricated in Armenia for atmospheric research.

Prof. Chilingarian informed the president about CRD’s annual international summer school, held this year from June 4-8 at its Nor Ambert center on Mt. Aragats. The theme of this year’s event is “From Measurement to Discovery – The Scientific Method in Physics”. Included are both lectures on topics of modern physics, as well as exercises and the solution of simple problems by students.  Attendance is free for qualified high school and college students. More information is at www.spc.yerphi.am/index.php/en/events .

The president was also informed about CRD’s upcoming international conference Thunderstorms and Elementary Particle Acceleration (TEPA), held at its Nor Ambert center from September 17-20. Details are at https://www.atmospheric-electricity-net.eu/node/106 .

YerPhI scientist Dr. Albert Avetisyan introduced the president to YerPhI’s medical isotope center where research is being conducted with an 18 MeV proton cyclotron to produce much-needed medical isotopes. This effort was started during Prof. Chilingarian’s directorship of YerPhI to help relieve a severe shortage of radioisotopes within Armenia’s healthcare system. YerPhI’s new director, Prof. Ani Aprhamian—a particle physicist herself, will also enhance opportunities for fundamental science at YerPhI using this cyclotron.  She will also bring her own network of contacts, which will add to YerPhI’s scientific presence in the international arena.

The Support Committee for Armenia’s Cosmic Ray Division also recently congratulated President Armen Sarkissian and thanked him for his genuine interest in the science of YerPhI. The committee also welcomed Prof. Ani Aprahamian to her new role as YerPhI’s director and wished her and YerPhI many successful endeavors.

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Hovsep Daghdigian

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