Award-Winning Astrophysicist Ashot Chilingarian to Head Yerevan Physics Institute

41617_1_astroYEREVAN–In November 2008, Professor Ashot Chilingarian was appointed director of the Yerevan Physics Institute (YerPhI). Chilingarian accepted the position on an interim basis during which the institute will be reorganized while a search is conducted for a permanent director. Chilingarian remains the head of the institute’s Cosmic Ray Division. Under his leadership the CRD has established a prominent role in the international scientific community, and has provided a number of young Armenian scientists and engineers an opportunity to train and work at CRD’s research stations on Mt. Aragats.

With Diasporan support, he has been able to establish international research partnerships and projects which leverage Diaspora contributions 5 fold.

Prof. Chilingarian earned his Ph.D. in 1984 and Doctor of Science in Physics and Mathematics from Yerevan Physics Institute in 1991, becoming the deputy director of the institute as well as head of the Cosmic Ray Division in 1993. Since 1975 he has been a lecturer of Physics and Software Engineering at Yerevan State University (YSU).

Chilingarian’s expertise is in the sphere of high energy astroparticle physics. He has been awarded more than 20 research grants from foundations including the International Science and Technology Center and the International Technology and Science foundation. These grants, together with Diaspora help, were crucial in supporting CRD’s ongoing scientific research during the most difficult years of Armenia’s independence and continue to be essential today.

Chilingarian is the author of the ANI computer code library, which has been extensively used during the last few decades for analysis of cosmic ray detector data. He also introduced analytical methods to distinguish between gene expression in normal and tumor-affected tissue, a problem which is mathematically similar to identifying constituent particles in cosmic rays.

Under his supervision, the Data Visualization Interactive Network (DVIN) was developed for the Aragats Space Environmental Center (ASEC) in Armenia. This project won a UN World Summit on Information Society award in Geneva in 2003, and the All-Armenia Information Society award in 2005. He also has served as a lecturer for CERN’s post-graduate physics school, an annual event organized by the CERN international physics research center on the French-Swiss border.

Prof. Chilingarian has authored approximately 300 scientific publications and is currently Armenia’s representative to the Commission for Space Research, and is the International Heliophysical Year – 2007 spokesperson for Armenia’s ANI and ASEC collaborations.

Physics Institute focuses on key areas of science

Under Chilingarian’s leadership YerPhI’s focus will continue on theoretical physics, accelerator technology, and cosmic ray physics. Focus will also be directed towards effective utilization of YerPhI’s physical and intellectual assets to enhance revenue generation. Under consideration are ways to support Armenia’s scientific community, and to develop partnerships for commercialization of technologies that not only will generate revenue, but will enhance Armenia’s social well being as well. Projects being considered include the development of medical imaging and radiopharmaceutical technologies for use both in Armenia and in the region.

Cosmic Ray Division

Prof. Chilingarian will continue to lead CRD’s research and international partnerships which funds a large part of CRD’s activities. SEVAN (Space Environment Viewing and Analysis Network), a world-wide network of new particle detectors for research in space weather and solar physics, was developed at the CRD within the framework of the International Heliophysical Year and the United Nations Basic Space Science (UNBSS) program. UNBSS focuses on the deployment of arrays of small inexpensive instruments around the world. Many of the key developers are young scientists and engineers who were trained at the CRD and supported in part by Diaspora funding. Installation of the first SEVAN detectors in Croatia and Bulgaria in December 2008 was performed by young CRD experts. The number of countries interested in participating in this project is growing rapidly. The SEVAN detectors are designed and manufactured in Armenia, and financed by international sources. The CRD and Prof. Chilingarian are the technical leads for the international SEVAN project.

More information on the CRD can be found at www.crdfriends.org. Information on the Yerevan Physics Institute can be found at www.yerphi.am.

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