Shaping Students into Scientists

In January 2000 after visiting Armenia and getting to know Prof. Chilingarian's work at the Cosmic Ray Division (CRD) of Yerevan Physics Institute, Anahid Yeremian (a physicist at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center in Palo Alto, California) and Joseph Dagdigian (an engineer at Harvard, Massachusetts) formed the Support Committee for Armenia's Cosmic Ray Division (SCACRD). CRD was not receiving government funding immediately after independence. The first task of SCACRD was to raise enough funds to pay CRD's electric bill.  People responded. Friends and relatives helped.

 

In January 2000 after visiting Armenia and getting to know Prof. Chilingarian's work at the Cosmic Ray Division (CRD) of Yerevan Physics Institute, Anahid Yeremian (a physicist at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center in Palo Alto, California) and Joseph Dagdigian (an engineer at Harvard, Massachusetts) formed the Support Committee for Armenia's Cosmic Ray Division (SCACRD). CRD was not receiving government funding immediately after independence. The first task of SCACRD was to raise enough funds to pay CRD's electric bill.  People responded. Friends and relatives helped.

 

SCACRD, Yerevan, October 2013

Several bright, young university students, who conducted their thesis work at the Cosmic Ray Division of the Yerevan Physics Institute (YerPhI), entered a new milestone of their careers recently.

Hripsime Mkrtchyan and Hasmik Rostomyan received their MA in Physics at the Yerevan State University, and accepted offers to join the staff of the Cosmic Ray Division. 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 Mount Aragats (Sept. 9-13).

Hripsime’s Master’s theses was titled “The Electrical structure of Thunderclouds and Initiation of the Thunderstorm Ground Enhancements (TGEs)”. Hasmig’s was “The Maximal Energy of Solar Accelerators: Evidence from Space and Earth's Surface Measurements”. Both researchers described the 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.

Hripsime and Hasmik were recent recipients of the Kirakos Vapurciyan Scholarship for CRD students. The 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, Hripsime stated: “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!” Hasmik expressed  similar sentiments in her letter to the Vapurciyans.

Computer scientist Hayk Avagyan, a recent graduate from the 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, Indiana physics undergraduate Patrick Fasano, with the support of the Nanovic Institute for European Studies at Notre Dame, interned at the CRD this past summer. Patrick 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 phenomenon which accelerates cosmic ray particles within thunderclouds.

When Notre Dame physics professor Ani Aprahamian suggested to Patrick that there may be an internship available in Armenia, Patrick 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 the opportunity, but he decided to go for it.

Patrick was mentored by Bagrat Mailyan and Artur Reymers, young physicists who received their PhDs in the past few years. According to Bagrat and Artur, Patrick is a very bright young man with a bright future in science. Besides his work at the CRD, Patrick 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. Maybe next summer!

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 when he spoke of the 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 the Yerevan Physics Institute 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) congratulated Hripsime and Hasmig for their recent accomplishments, offered them their support, and wished them well in the coming years.

More information on the Cosmic Ray Division and the Support Committee for Armenia’s Cosmic Ray Division is available at http://crdlx5.yerphi.am/ and at www.crdfriends.org respectively.

 

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