PRESS RELEASE
November 30, 2008
Support Committee for Armenia's Cosmic Ray Division
Contact: Joseph Dagdigian <[email protected]>
Tel: 978-772-9417
Web: http://www.crdfriends.org/


CRD Hosts Astroparticle Symposium in Armenia

Symposium on Mt. Aragats - From September 29 to October 3 the Cosmic
Ray Division (CRD) of the Alikhanyan Physics Institute hosted The
International Astroparticle Physics Symposium: `Forecasting of the
Radiation and Geomagnetic Storms by networks of particle detectors
(FORGES-2008)' symposium at CRD's International Conference Center, Nor
Ambert, on Armenia's Mt. Aragats.

The focus of the symposium was on establishing future networks of
particle detectors distributed at different latitudes, longitudes, and
altitudes in order to issue warnings of approaching radiation and
geomagnetic storms. Such storms are caused by energetic eruptions on
the sun's surface which expel massive amounts of electrically charged
particles towards the earth, often interfering with electronic systems
on earth and damaging satellites in space. Thus the ability to
accurately forecast the occurrence and severity of such events is
extremely important.

With 40 conference participants from Italy, Germany, Great Britain,
Croatia, Greece, Ukraine, Russia, Costa Rica and Armenia - CRD's
scientists and engineers presented over 20 scientific papers
describing their research. Many of the Armenian presenters were young
Armenian scientists, engineers, and students who were trained by CRD's
head Prof. Ashot Chilingarian and his staff of senior scientists and
engineers. Among the Armenian presenters from the CRD were Prof Ashot
Chilingarian discussing "Surface Particle Detectors in Space Weather
Forecasting", and "Discrete Optimization Problems in Space Weather
Forecasting"; Gagik Hovsepyan presenting "Detection of Elementary
Particles by Plastic Scinillators"; Aram Yeghikyan who presented `DVIN
- Data Visualization Interactive Network for Data Interchange'; and
Karen Arakelian whose topic was `Assembling and Tuning of SEVAN
Measuring Units'. SEVAN (Space Environment Viewing and Analysis
Network) is a network of detectors designed by CRD scientists in
Armenia and being deployed in a number of countries.

Armenian presenters from outside Armenia included Dr. Suren
Chilingaryan from the Karlsruhe Research Center in Germany and
Dr. Vahe Perumian from University of California. Other presenters
included Dr. Nat Gopalswamy from N.A.S.A., the United States space
agency.

SEVAN Network - During the conference CRD's talented young scientists
and engineers conducted a training session on the installation and
operation of CRD's SEVAN network of Astroparticle detectors. The
United Nations Office of Outer Space Affairs and the International
Heliophysical Year (IHY) has launched a small instrument program as
one of the United Nations Basic Space Science (UNBSS)
activities. SEVAN, a network of particle detectors located at the
middle to low latitudes, aims to improve the fundamental research on
particle acceleration in the vicinity of sun and space environment
conditions. The first SEVAN modules are undergoing operational tests
at Aragats Space Environmental Center in Armenia. The network will
grow with detectors deployed in Croatia and Bulgaria. In 2009 SEVAN
detectors are planned to be installed in Slovakia and Costa
Rica. Research groups from Croatia and Costa-Rica were introduced to
the SEVAN detector operation and data analysis at this conference.
The SEVAN network is funded by international scientific institutions.

Foreign attendees stayed at newly renovated guest facilities at CRD's
Nor Ambert research center on Mt. Aragats. These essential renovations
were funded in part by the support of the Diaspora. Besides the
weighty scientific discussions, attendees took time off to visit the
Ambert Fortress on Mt. Aragats, Echmiadzin, art and history museums in
Yerevan, and the natural beauty of Mt. Aragats. Attendees continue to
send letters of appreciation to the CRD for the well run conference
and the hospitality exhibited by their Armenian hosts.

Space Research Conference in Montreal - Beside the conference hosted
on Armenia's Mt. Aragats, the CRD exhibited a strong presence at the
37th Committee on Space Research (COSPAR) conference in Montreal,
Canada from July 13-23, 2008. COSPAR's objectives are to promote
international scientific research in space and to provide an open
forum for the discussion of problems that may affect scientific space
research. The COSPAR Scientific Assembly provides the world's largest
interdisciplinary forum for the exchange of recent results in space
research. CRD's head, Professor Ashot Chilingarian, participated in
COSPAR conference as Armenia's official representative to this
organization and a member of COSPAR's Council. Professor Chilingarian
presented 3 reports based on ongoing research at the Cosmic Ray
Division.

International Heliophysical Year 2008 Workshop in Bulgaria - Cosmic
Ray Division scientists, engineers, and students participated in the
`2007 Heliophysical Year and Basic Space Science'conference, sponsored
by the U.N., N.A.S.A., and the European and Japanese space
agencies. The conference was hosted by the Solar-Terrestrial
Influences Laboratory of the Bulgarian Academy of Science in Sozopol,
Bulgaria on June 2-6 2008. The Outer Space Office of the United
Nations, in cooperation with other agencies, has organized
international workshops on basic space science every year since 1990
-particularly for the benefit of scientists and engineers from
developing nations. The Armenian delegation to the conference included
5 CRD staff members, together with 2 students from Yerevan State
University who worked on projects at the CRD under the direction of
CRD scientists. The students' attendance was supported by the U.N.
and N.A.S.A. The Armenian delegation delivered 4 oral and 8 poster
presentations, based on data from CRD's Aragats Space Environmental
Center and on initial results from CRD's SEVAN cosmic ray particle
detector network.

During the conference a project meeting was held with research
partners from Germany, Switzerland, and Israel. It was decided to
install new electronics for the Aragats Multichannel Muon Monitor at
CRD's Aragats research station and to send CRD physicist and recent
PhD recipient Artur Reymers to visit Bern University for 2 weeks in
August 2008. During meetings with Bulgarian and Croatian groups, SEVAN
detector construction was explained. Visits of Armenian experts to
Bulgaria and Croatia for final detector assembly were planned for late
2008. The current status of the newly established Neutron Monitor Data
Base project was discussed and clarified with Swiss representative
Rolf Bitgofer from Bern University. Attention was given to the CRD's
DVIN-5 computer program, which allows scientists to visualize cosmic
ray data, and to neutron monitor electronics developed by the Armenian
group, now undergoing testing at the CRD.

More news on the Cosmic Ray Division's impressive accomplishments is
available on the Support Committee for Armenia's Cosmic Ray Division's
web site at <http://www.crdfriends.org/>www.crdfriends.o rg . This
site has a link to CRD's web site in Armenia where more technical
information is presented, as well as photographs of CRD's facilities
on Mt. Aragats and conference photos.

CRD's impressive accomplishments could not have been made without the
generous support of the Diaspora. CRD's staff wishes to express it's
gratitude for the trust and continued support of the Diaspora.