Armenian History > Science and Technology > SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY IN ARMENIA


Erebuni - October 31, 2011 01:05 AM (GMT)

Profiles of Armenian Scientists: World Class but Unknown

Yervant Terzian with Lisa Natcharian

For decades, scientists in the Republic of Armenia have quietly made discoveries that have had international impact but have generated little fanfare or recognition from the general public. Most Armenians are unaware of the world-class reputation these scientists enjoy, nor of the importance of the major Armenian research facilities that once powered the Soviet science effort.

To begin sharing knowledge of these achievements with the wider Armenian community, profiles of three leading scientists are presented here.

Dr. Markarian was an astronomer with the Byurakan Astrophysical Observatory near Yerevan. A quiet man with far-reaching vision, he discovered a new class of galaxies in the 1960's. A galaxy is a group of hundreds of billions of stars -- the galaxy of which we are a part is known as The Milky Way. There are many millions of other galaxies in the visible universe, some of which have extremely bright cores or nuclei. Markarian identified and studies this type of galaxy during his lifetime, and in honor of his work, these galaxies bear his name -- the "Markarian Galaxies."

Markarian galaxies have been shown to be some of the most active and energetic objects in the universe, and it is likely that these galaxies hide supermassive "black holes" in their cores. These black holes have enormous gravitational pull, and constantly devour other nearby stars by pulling them into the "black abyss." Such processes create copious amounts of energy that then escapes from these galaxies and can be detected with telescopes on earth.

The amazing discovery of such powerhouses was made by a modest telescope but with great imagination by Markarian and his colleagues at Byurakan. They used a small telescope, one meter in diameter, and installed an objective prism in its front, allowing them to photograph the spectra of hundreds of faint galaxies at the same time, and proceeded to identify and tabulate scores of Markarian Galaxies. Such catalogues are now used universally by scientists studying these objects. In the summer of 1988, the International Astronomical Union held a symposium on Markarian Galaxies at Byurakan where some 150 scientists from around the world presented their research.

This single discovery solidified the reputation of the Byurakan Observatory as a leading research institute. Founded by the legendary Victor Hampartsumian in 1946, Byurakan was also known for the discovery of "star associations," another term for the birth of stars from gigantic clouds in space.

Markarian lived a very modest life, and passed away while still very young due to a heart problem. He never had the chance to enjoy the worldwide recognition of his work, and he never received the prizes for his discoveries that surely would have come his way. The equipment with which he worked has now aged and deteriorated. Many of his followers and students continue his work, but the lack of supplies and facilities in Armenia since the breakup of the Soviet Union has greatly hampered their efforts.

Dr. Herouni is the director of the Radiophysics Institute in Armenia. An Electrical Engineer and Radio Astronomer, Herouni is an inventor "par excellence." In the early 1980's, he built one of the world's most sophisticated radio telescopes on Mount Aragatz. The telescope featured a radio antenna with a dish 54 meters across, covered with 4,000 mirror-like panels. This new arrangement was able to detect energy from distant galaxies at radio waves as short as a few millimeters.

The unique design and accuracy of this radio antenna presents enormous potential for future instruments of its kind. Herouni created this spectacular radio telescope against all odds with imagination and very hard work. Now, this world marvel needs support to maintain it and to use it effectively.

Herouni assisted in the Azerbaijan conflict by developing high-tech radio equipment and communications antennas. Recently, as my guest (Y.T.), he visited several major U.S. radio astronomy observatories to share his insights with American scientists. In addition to his scientific genius, Herouni is a powerful artist who created numerous sundials decorated with Armenian writings and designs.

Dr. Gurzadyan emerged in the 1950's as a brilliant theoretical astrophysicist who wrote a pioneering book about exploding dying stars. The director of the Garni Space Institute in Armenia, Gurzadyan pioneered the construction and launch of small space telescopes to probe the short wave length (ultraviolet) energy emitted by stars and galaxies. This he did some 20 years before the U.S. Hubble Space telescope.

Gurzadyan never joined the Communist Party, and he suffered dearly for it, yet his intellect was so brilliant that he excelled at every opportunity. This very productive scientist, a few years ago, spent three months at Cornell University. In this short period he authored half a dozen technical scientific papers, and just before departing, revealed some twenty exquisite watercolor paintings of "Memories of Armenian Landscapes." Talented in every way!

In a speech to Armenian scientists in Los Angeles, he declared, "One day, I hope to climb Mount Ararat and see my country all around me."

ANSEF (Armenian National Science and Education Fund) has been organized to provide scientists like Markarian, Herouni and Gurzadyan support for continuing their important work. Initially relatively small grants will allow them to continue their work, and purchase minimal instrumentation. The long term objective will be to create anendowment which will provide continuing financial support.

Operating under the Fund for Armenian Relief (FAR), control of the funds will remain in the U.S. and will be distributed under the surveillance of a Board of Directors in response to proposals deemed worthy of support.

Tax-deductible contributions to ANSEF may be made to FAR (Fund for Armenian Relief), 630 Second Avenue, New York, NY 10016. For additional information, call Mrs. Noune Sukiasian at (212) 889-5150. Contributions in the form of securities can be accommodated.

Erebuni - October 31, 2011 01:05 AM (GMT)

Nouvelles des "tours solaires"

· GP-Solar: "the different solar panel" (en anglais et allemand)
· Solar Energy: EOHT, Electricity Out of a Helicopter Turbine

The mountains of Armenia seem to have been created for electric power stations working on solar energy. The scientists at the Radio Physical Research Institute have chosen a ground on Aragats mountain, which is 40 km to the west of Yerevan and situated 1750m above sea level. Southern mountain Sun is a good source of cheap energy. It rises 73 degrees above the horizon in summer and the atmosphere layer absorbing radiation in the mountains is thinner.

The new electric power station "AREV" (the Armenian for "Sun") is a big spherical mirror made of glass and fixed with props on the slope of the mountain. The mirror has the slope of 40 degrees to the horizon in order to catch the light all through the year. The sunbeams fall on the concave mirror surface, than get reflected from its walls and focus on a small circle in side the sphere. The area of the maximum heat with the temperature rising above 80oC moves along the circle following the Sun. Together with this hot spot a special heat exchange device absorbing the heat moves over the mirror.

The device is a bell being 3m in diameter with double walls, where a compressor supercharges air to. Heating up in the bell, the air expands and revolves the vanes of the turbine, which is connected with the electro generator. By the way, in this project the scientists use a turbine of a helicopter that has already worked its resource in the air. A photo sensor automatically operates all this mechanical construction installed on a tower. Such an electric power station with the power of 100 kW produces rather cheap energy - 0.5 cent per kilowatt per hour. The efficiency of the station is forty up to fifty per cent. AREV will work ten hours per day in summer and eight hours per day in winter.

"The electric power station AREV-100 is the first experimental sample of little power; the diameter of its spherical mirror is thirty-six meters. The next installation with a seventy-five meter mirror will be much more powerful, i.e. 1.5 megawatt", - says Paris Herouni, the constructor of the station AREV.

At the summit in Okinawa in June, 2000, the G-8 leaders pointed out two world global problems that the mankind is facing, namely, information technologies development and use of renewable energy resources - sun heat, wind energy, water and biomass. This raw material for energy production will replace coal, oil, gas and uranium, the resources of which are limited. That is why scientists from all over the world are working on the projects for sun energy usage, which is the most efficient of all the so-called unconventional power-engineering branches.

For further information, contact: Paris Misakovich Herouni, academician, Radio Physical Research Institute, director, Yerevan, Armenia, +7 (885 1) 234631, (374 1) 234780,

Erebuni - October 31, 2011 01:05 AM (GMT) (see link for pictures)

YerSRIMM-The pioneer of Armenian computer science

Real progress in development of computer machinery in Armenia starts in early 50's. On the initiative of presidium of Academy of Sciences in 1956 was founded Yerevan Scientific Research Institute of Mathematical Machines (YerSRIMM). The leading role in organization of institute played young scientist, now academician Sergej Mergelian -the first director of YerSRIMM. The name "Institute of Mergelian" is used synonymously with the name "YerSRIMM" until now among the people in Armenia. The famous scientists Artashes Shahinyan, Andronik Iosyfian, Fadey Sarkisyan had made important contribution in the making of the Institute and development of computer science and technics in Armenia. Well-known academicians, scientists and engineers are amongst Institute alumnus.

The first in former USSR universal second generation computer "Hrazdan" was designed and successfully turned over to State commission in 1960. Subsequently this computer was improved, and its new modification "Hrazdan-2" finds a wide application in science and industry. In 1965 into operation was turned over next modification of universal computer "Hrazdan-3". On the base of computer "Hrazdan-3" in YerSRIMM was developed computing complex "Marshrut-1", which to a great deal simplified and quickened booking-office operations on rail-junctions. For a long time it was in use on several railway stations in Moscow. For the complex of works, connected with the development of Marshrut-1", a group of scientists was decorated by the State prizes of Armenia for 1974.

Widely widespread in seventies for former USSR haves various models of multipurpose machine NAIRI (NAIRI-1, NAIRI-2, NAIRI-3, NAIRI-3.1, NAIRI-3.2, NAIRI-3.3, NAIRI-4, NAIRI-4.ARM). These computers has been intended for a wide class of tasks in variety of areas of engineering, information, economy and other. The main particularity of machines NAIRI are - possibility to formulate the problems in terms similar to usual mathematical language and principle of multiprogramming.

Further continuation the series of machine NAIRI in eighties were multiprocessor complexes NAIRI-4V, NAIRI-4VS and "COVIOR" , which are program compatible in operating system level with the famous series of machines PDP(PDP-11/40, PDP-11/44) of DEC company. For the series of machine NAIRI Institute was awarded by the State Prize of USSR.

During several years in YerSRIMM carried out research works into the development and utilization of information carriers on the base of cylindrical magnetic film. For these works the Institute was awarded by State Prizes of Armenian SSR.

Well-deserved recognition to Institute brings works on creation series of middle class machines ES-1030, ES-1045, ES-1046 and multiprocessor complexes on the base of these machines. These computers are architectural and program compatible with the famous series IBM-360 and IBM-370 of IBM company. In seventies-eighties these computers finds a wide application in area of science and industry and has been installed in many organizations of former USSR. Only for models ES-1045 and ES-1046 more than 5000 machines were produced and installed in various organizations. For these works some members of Institute staff were awarded by State Prizes of Armenian SSR and USSR, Lenin Prize of USSR, Orders and Medals of USSR.

The design and development of hardware and software for global (territorial) automated control systems(ACS) was a new direction of development for institute in early 70's and became an important landmark in his history. It includes design and development of highly reliable real time computing complexes (SVK, SEVAN), real-time operating systems and highly reliable large application software for ACS . For totality of these works in 1980 some author's group's were awarded the Prizes of Lenin Young Communist League, State Prizes of Armenian SSR and USSR, Lenin Prize of USSR- the highest tribute in the USSR . The institute was decorated by the Order of the Red Banner, some members of staff were awarded by Orders and Medals of USSR.

Before the disintegration of the former USSR the Institute was one of leading scientific research organizations in field of computer machinery and ACS. On the base of the indicated main directions of scientific and practical activities of the some departments of the YerSRIMM in 1992 was formed Yerevan Automated Control Systems Scientific Research Institute (YerACSSRI).

The collective of YerACSSRI was engaged in development of highly reliable, highly capability computers and complexes, including their operational systems, programs of data transfer in global networks with usage of the special transfer protocols of the data, development of the applied software, which was executing objective functions of different character. Since the end of 80-s' years, the collective has developed the large software packages and applied software, for the automated control systems in modern computer facilities environments, operational systems and databases control systems.

Now collective of YerACSSRI is engaged in creation of the big ACS of special purpose, including development of different software packages, drivers and blocks of an exchange for special means, software packages of data transfer and applied software for the automated control systems in Windows NT and Linux environments with usage of C ++ and Visual C ++ programming languages. All listed works, both in structure YerSRIMM, and after formation YerACSSRI, have been leaded and continues to lead by the academician of a National Academy of Sciences of Armenia, professor Robert Atoyan, nowadays the director of YerACSSRI.

Erebuni - October 31, 2011 01:06 AM (GMT)

Cosmic Ray Division - History

Artem Alikhanian, one of the founders and first director of the Yerevan Physics Institute, was born on June 24, 1908. In 1931 he has graduated from Leningrad State University (Physics). In 1930 he became a staff-member at Leningrad Physical and Technical Institute working on radioactivity and nuclei research together with his brother A. Alikhanov. For these investigations both brothers were awarded the USSR State Prize. In 1942 two brothers initiated a scientific mission on Mt.Aragats in order to search for the third (proton) component of cosmic rays. Together with T. Asatiani A. Alikhanian found so called narrow showers in cosmic rays, established the first evidence of the existence in cosmic rays of the particles with masses between that of muon and proton. In 1948 A. Alikhanov and A. Alikhanian were awarded the USSR State Prize for the investigation of cosmic rays. The foundation of cosmic ray station on Mt.Aragats at 3250 m above sea level was one of the steps aimed on the development of nuclear and particle physics in Armenia. This station remains the main national cosmic ray centre until now. In 1943 two brothers participated in the foundation of the Armenian Academy of Sciences, established in the frames of the Academy the Yerevan Physics Institute. A. Alikhanian became its Director for the next 30 years. In 1956 A. Alikhanian (together with A. Alikhanov and V. Hambartsumian) initiated the creation of the Yerevan Synchrotron with 6 GeV energy of electrons and headed the design and construction of this machine, that was accomplished in 1967. The results obtained later on at Yerevan synchrotron on meson photoproduction by unique beam of polarized gamma-quanta, investigations on transition and channeling radiations are well-known among the scientific community. A.Alikhanian paid much attention to the development of the new experimental methods. For the works on wide-gap track spark chambers in 1970 A.Alikhanian (together with the colleagues from Yerevan, Moscow and Tbilisi) was awarded the Lenin Prize. Later he initiated the works on x-ray transition radiation detectors, based on the theoretical predictions made at YerPhI and experiments carried out at Yerevan synchrotron. The detectors of such type were widely used in accelerator and cosmic ray experiments at many centres worldwide. A.Alikhanian also supported applied research using the beams from Yerevan synchrotron, mainly on solid state physics and biophysics.

Erebuni - October 31, 2011 01:06 AM (GMT)

Dr. Harutyun Karapetyan
Chairman of the National Foundation of Science and Advanced Technologies (NFSAT)
Spring 2006

I. Introduction

Being common to all mankind, science fundamentally promotes progress within a country, which, in turn, provides favorable conditions for the further development of science. The role which science plays is decisive both in terms of organizing and establishing competitive industry, as well as in ensuring a proper level of education that meets a nation’s requirements. To illustrate the prominent role of science in the broadest sense, one can give the example of certain developing countries whose slow progress is mainly rooted in a lack of science as such. Yet, the same obvious example can illustrate the experience of Japan and Germany, defeated in World War II, whose contemporary role in the world community is basically determined by the development of their respective scientific potential.

Trivial though it may sound – for it has been repeatedly mentioned – the role of science in Armenia, a country with scarce natural resources, is extremely important. This is particularly true given the geopolitical conditions of the newly independent state as well as the efficiency of introducing high technologies as proven by international experience all over the world. Our country used to have (and in fact it still has) relevant prerequisites necessary to establish economy that would involve the use of high technologies: Armenia inherited quite a large scientific potential from the Soviet period – a potential, which was considered large even on the overall USSR scale – both in respect of human resources and logistics. However, it is obvious that even the richest fortune can be easily and quickly wasted. And it will not become a real asset by remaining a mere vestige of the past, unless proper conditions corresponding to present-day realities are provided for in the maintenance and further development of this inherited “capital”. In particular, today we have to take into account the immutable fact that competitive science in the global market can serve as quite a solid source of both direct and indirect financial income, significant enough to promote the development of the entire country.

II. The Scientific Community of the Republic of Armenia: The Soviet Era

The Armenian scientific community, as a branch of the overall economy, was formed as early as 1935, in the Soviet Period. It started with the formation of the Armenian branch of the USSR Academy of Sciences (ArmFAN). Subsequently, the change in this entity’s status resulted in the formation of the present-day National Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Armenia (NAS RA). Beginning in the 1960s an extensive development of the Armenian scientific community began. The remarkable scientific potential that existed in the republic was a part of the Soviet scientific community with a vertical dependence on the “center” both in terms of scientific and financial issues. In addition, being a constituent part of the economy, the field of science actually could not but comply with the established social principles of the state – namely, the ones proper to the totalitarian regime (this statement still hold true for the present-day reality, too). Obviously, the destructive methods advocated by Lysenkov, which caused great losses to the Soviet science, were the result of transferring the methods applied in an extremely centralized totalitarian system into the field of science as well. As such, science also became a victim and a mechanism of cronyism, where, as a rule, the highest priority and greatest appreciation was given to personal relationships and the political adherences of personnel, instead of objective scientific achievements. The encouragement strategy was worked out based on quite a cunning and skillful policy consisting of a multiple step system of awarding titles and ranks, ranging from a “Candidate of Science” to “Academician of Science of the USSR Academy of Sciences”. All of these negative aspects of the Soviet system of science were realized at their worst in the so-called ‘periphery’ – the national republics – because prior to the Soviet period there was little or no established state scientific system or a true scientific merit-based tradition. Nevertheless, it would be unfair not to mention that Armenian science in the USSR existed at a relatively high level (of course, based on the criteria that functioned in an isolated system) and close cooperation with other USSR science centers certainly had a positive impact both on the formation of scientific issues as well as on the quality of research works and on human resources preparation.

III. The Scientific Community of the Republic of Armenia: The Post-Soviet Period

After the collapse of the USSR the field of science in Armenia, as indeed the whole economy of the independent republic, was paralyzed, and there emerged certain challenges that required immediate attetion:

1) Due to the scarcity of funding from a new state yet to be established, and which moreover was at war and lacked internal stability, departmental and group interests began to receive the highest priority (these phenomena which have nothing to do with development of science such as the prevalence of departmental and group interests and the trends of administrative staff increases in some scientific departments, have been reviving in the course of the last four to five years);

2) As a result of the abrupt reduction of funding it was already impossible to provide even minimal conditions for research activity. Therefore, with the general liberalization of economy, there was a major brain drain – an outflow out of the most productive researchers, such as mid- career scientists, from science to other fields and to emigration;

3) The sudden loss of prestige which science and education suffered, and a lack of friendly and caring attitude on the part of the elder generation of researchers, had a negative impact on the involvement of young researchers in science.

As a result of this situation that existed in the field of science, the government of the country was confronted with a dilemma: to choose between a researcher and science. In other words, either provide the existing scarce funding to maintain various titles, ranks and positions of the so-called “leading schools” and departments, or to support contemporary research of actual scientific merit and, by extension, the scientists who are the authors of such research. Luckily, at that time the Armenian government gave preference to the latter, namely to science and its future. Had the choice been made in favor of a “researcher”, obviously, the government would have solved a merely local and short-term social problem, exhausting all the funds available, and today Armenia would have been deprived of any actual scientific potential.

À. Reforms in the Field of Science, 1992-1996

In order to keep the potential losses to minimum and maintain viable scientific activity, the Republic of Armenia, in our view, has chosen the most favorable way forward. Namely, by Decree No 98 of the Armenian Government of February 10, 1992, “On Ratification of Funding Procedure for Scientific and Scientific and Technical Research from the Centralized State Sources in the Republic of Armenia”, allocation of government work in the field of science, that is to say, the allotment of budget funds received from tax revenue which were to support science, started to be implemented on a competitive or “thematic” funding basis. Specifically, this entails:

1) Equal and standardized conditions for proposal submission processes (‘project’);

2) Allocation of funding according to the objective scientific merit of the project, as determined by independent scientific review;

3) Administration of funds allotted for a specific project are administered by the research team implementing the project.

4) The person responsible for the implementation of the project and project-related expenditures is the Principal Investigator of the research team and not the administration of the research institute that the team represents.

To ensure a distinct differentiation from the conventional Soviet mechanism, it would be more appropriate to call the current mechanism “merit-based funding”, in view of the fact that during the Soviet era “thematic” funding also existed, but such funding was allotted top-down and the management was overseen by the administrative superiors of the relevant institutional entities.

The introduction of such “merit-based funding” mechanism, given the fact that the modern science is not only a field of merely intellectual and creative activities but also requires substantial resources, the scale of which actually determines its efficiency, the Armenian government also implemented the principle of “intensive” funding of science, as opposed to the “extensive” strategy of the Soviet period. The amount of funding provided to a researcher, apart from the net salary, also includes certain funds for the improvement of the conditions for working activities – typically called ‘overhead’ in the West. Thus important funds were collected from rather scarce resources to cover expenses required to provide, for example, Internet access for the Armenian scientific community, obtain scientific literature, computers, food for test animals, travel funding and international cooperation.

On the whole, based on the experience of other former Soviet nations, and in the opinion of various independent international organizations, the reform in the field of science that took place in the Armenian republic can be considered one of the most successful ones in the former Soviet Union. It was consistent with the aim of establishing a democratic system built on market relations and, more importantly, was based upon the strategic interests of science development, ensuring maximum efficiency of allocated funds. Gradually improving and expanding, the reform achieved its maximum efficiency in 1996, displaying incomparable objectivity in the evaluation of the proposals (projects) and a remarkable output from the scarce budget funds invested. Certainly, the principals used in the field of science also had a significant impact on the introduction of democratic institutions in the broader society at large. For science, these reforms led to a remarkable reduction of administrative dictates regarding the selection of research topics and formation of research team personnel. This resulted in the emergence of a number of young and talented researchers, who had never before been “leaders”1.

Indeed, it took much time and effort to establish the notion that funding provided for research activities should be administered solely by the research team itself and not the administration of the institution. Gradually, the notion that the evaluation of research should be determined solely objectively, based on the scientific merit of the project and not by the titles or past achievements also became established. These developments brought about an inspiring effect of competitive “thematic” funding, which is aimed at overcoming stagnancy and is based upon a common criterion for science – the competitive power of the project. That is the distinguishing feature of the competitive principle, which promotes continuous progress and is the key factor of its prevalence (with slight variations) in countries with well-developed scientific infrastructures.

B. Annulment of the Reforms in the Field of Science, 1997-today

It is perhaps natural that like any other innovation, the concept of “thematic” funding engendered those who were “happy” and “unhappy” with it; the field of science is not homogenous, and rather includes representatives of various “subgroups”, each having their own specific interests, much like society at large.

Among those who were “happy” with the new situation were those who provided comparably successful results marked by quite a high quality from the point of view of scientific criteria, and those researchers who did not avoid difficulties and kept working even in the most difficult conditions to offer a competitive product (a ‘competitive product’ in the filed of science is, to a first approximation, publications in quality, peer-reviewed journals). In contrast, the “unhappy” ones were generally the administrators of departments and science divisions, because they were losing the localized but previously significant power which they used to enjoy in the totalitarian society; specifically these individuals were losing their ‘traditional’ privileges to financial management, abilities to select research subjects and the capacity of forming research teams. Losing the right for imposed settlement, they were left with the roles of providing services to the research teams, which produced competitive results, and ensuring proper working conditions. These “unhappy” ones also included titled researchers, who believed that their titles should guarantee them certain social status and associated privilege. As a result of the implemented reforms, they were required to submit research projects along with everyone else, and were evaluated by the same criteria as everyone else. As a result, concurrent with the relative success achieved by reforms and the introduction of novel procedures, there was also a backdrop also comprised of those estranged and “unhappy” individuals. The goal of these forces evolved to the undermining of the principle of competitive (thematic) funding2 .

This consistent methodical struggle that was levied against the reforms “was crowned with success” in the mid-1997 when, due to the circumstances arising as a result of drastic changes in the government of the Armenian republic) the Ministry of Science and Education – in the person of the Minister - joined the struggle. The overall results are as follows:

1) Elimination of the transparency of the “thematic merit-based funding” mechanism, as a result of which the mechanism based on ‘independent peer review’ became a mere fiction, and the conditions of competition were carried to an absurdity;

2) Collapse of the principles ensuring objectivity of the independent peer review, as a result of which the administrative superiors of research institutes received even more opportunities to determine and affect competition results than they used to have even in the Soviet era;

3) Adoption of the Law On Science and Research Activity, which obviously failed and still fails to serve the goals and objectives of science promotion;

4) Increased funding provided to support science from the state budget year by year, but disbursement with no coherent economic or goal-seeking policy or justifications, basically turning science into a sinecure;

5) Creation of very favorable but opaque conditions, under the pretext of basic funding, for a number of new organizations hitherto unfamiliar to the scientific community and which seem to have little to do with the conduct of science;

6) Recovery of one of the links of the former Soviet elements of privilege which was eliminated during the years of reforms – the title of ‘Corresponding Member’;

7) Dramatic and unprecedented increased gap between the salary, as allotted from the state budget, of a small number of so-called “titled scientists” and the rest of the scientific community. For example, during the Soviet era the additional payment for the title of Academician was 350 roubles, the average salary in the scientific community being 280 roubles – a ratio of 1.25. Today this ratio has increased to over 7.0. Particularly hard hit are the meager stipends received by young post-graduate students; indeed many scholars are anxious about the fate of our younger generation of researchers who represent the future Armenian science. It has become evident that the increased state-funded salaries for ‘titled scientists’ are primarily for the elder generation, whose age on average is over 70 years (by the way, the Academicians themselves have admitted that – in media, not at confession);

8) Inadequacy of stipends for those who successfully complete academic degrees (Candidate of Science or Doctor of Science), which are insufficient from the point of view of workload and are relatively unrelated to the quality of the work produced; this in no way serves the development of science but rather, in contrast, promotes corruption and lowers the prestige of science3 .

IV. Conclusions and Recommendations

In summary, it can be stated that since 1997, due to the repeal of reforms within the scientific community and with our own responsibility, science within Armenia has been actually observing a revival of Soviet-era totalitarian principles, simply updated for a new environment. Given the publications that have appeared in various media since the beginning of the 2006 and the discussions on the current state of affairs in Armenian science, both the government and the scientific community are displeased with the current situation. This serves as an opportunity and a basis for new, forthcoming transformations.

While disagreeing on many points expressed by a number of researchers and groups, as well as certain political entities, it is our view that we should stress that the authorities are again faced with same choice as was present just after the collapse of the USSR – namely the very serious challenge of choosing between the “researcher” and “science”. If the path of science is chosen today, Armenia will in the future be able to speak about and highlight a true scientific potential; this is critically contingent on the present authorities adopting a long-term perspective, and not hoping for quick dividends (as the results will become evident only in a 5-10 years’ time), and the authorities giving their preference to policies promoting and developing “science” aimed at promoting the interests of science only. It is our belief that such a policy will lead a path to solutions to many challenges, including social aspects of scientists and engineers offering a competitive product 4. Taking into account the current situation, it is necessary to take the following immediate actions:

1) Set focused priorities for young scientists, critically evaluating and reversing harmful trends currently prevalent in institutes of post-graduate study, thus preventing the degradation of Armenia’s possible future scientific potential; the alternative, as articulates elsewhere, is an Armenia comprised of ‘individual scientists’ but ‘dead science’;

2) Revise the disbursement procedures of allocated state budget funds to ensure that provided funding is properly distributed and is justified from the point of view of long-term needs of a coherent science and security policy of the Armenian republic;

3) Introduce competitive funding processes into all categories (basic, target, etc.) of state budget scientific funding, emphasizing independent peer review as the only way able to ensure a long-term sustainable development of science;

4) Adjust the state administrative structures to meet the demands for competitive and efficient science development;

5) Critically review and revise the activity of the so-called “Superior Certifying Commission” (VAK) as an entity conferring academic ranks and academic degrees, norms of sanction and authorization should be brought in conformity with internationally accepted standards.

1. Later they became grantees of international foundations – and, in fact, they still are – and their per capita participation of international foundations Armenia’s researchers rate among the top of those of the former Soviet Union.

2. In particular, quite noteworthy is the appeal published in the “Respublika Armenia” newspaper of July 20, 1996 entitled “Academicians Claim”. Of 100 well-organized signatories, 14 people had participated in the review that was actually condemned by them, and taking advantage of the existing state of affairs and the political situation, they disregarded their own professional opinion and neglected norms of ethics by rising in a well-organized opposition to the reforms).

3. Almost all present and former officials of the republic took advantage of the Superior Certifying Commission’s weakness, having acquired academic degrees – at the level of ‘Doctor of Science’.

4. Indeed, at the current level of funding, the state budget seems to have sufficient funds allotted for “Scientific Expenditures” in the current budget to provide for approximately $2000 per researcher annually, if spent rationally

Erebuni - October 31, 2011 01:07 AM (GMT)
Unlocking the secrets of the caves

"The 21st century will be the century of Armenian archaeology. Many nations have already created Armenian Studies departments to learn about their past. They understand that the Armenian plateau is the ancient homeland of their ancestors," says Samvel Shahinyan, chairman of the Speleological Center of Armenia. He believes that the study of caves is the key to learning about early humans, since caves contain a thick layer of information on the prehistoric way of life.

Caves, natural cavities with one or more openings to the surface, provided our ancestors with a sense of protection. Cave dwellings differed in size and geological structure. In later times they were physically altered, in accordance with the world view and spiritual values of those who lived there. Before the development of communal living, caves served as temporary dwellings. If they were located in an auspicious climate, they were used for hundreds of years. As humankind progressed, people moved to smaller caves. Large caves were used to keep animals or for storage.

Sometimes they were used as sites for rituals. People started to modify caves, adapting them to their needs. In this period, the "cave culture" was formed. We now know of more than a hundred caves with drawings on the walls representing the daily life and concerns of early humans. In different lands, caves had their own appearances, shapes, and building styles-a sort of national character.

"Houses here are carved out of the earth, with entrances like the openings of wells. The lower parts are extensive." This is how Xenophon described Armenian houses in his book, the Anabasis.

"There is almost every kind of cave in Armenia . There are even caves of hydrothermal origin, which are very rare in the world. These hollows originate when lava from the inner core of the earth mixes with hot springs , creating caves," explains Samvel Shahinyan.

We also know that people themselves created caves. Man-made caves are widespread in regions rich in sandstone. These stone layers are easy to carve, and because of minimal airflow, their caves are warm in winter and cool in summer. Such caves were used as dwellings in Armenia until the 1960s. Today, in the villages of Tegh and Khndzoresk in the Syunik marz, caves are used as cellars and cow-sheds. Local residents say that if underground tunnels, passages or cave entrances are opened up during construction work, they are filled up with sand or gravel. Samvel Shahinyan says the same thing has occurred many times in the Noragyugh, Butania, Aresh and Erebuni districts of Yerevan.

Because living in caves was so common, Armenian chroniclers didn't address the issue. Only Xenophon in his Anabasis described in detail the carved houses, tunnels and fortresses that were wide-spread in the Armenian plateau as something unusual and unique.

Caves with stone doors
The Speleological Center of Armenia has discovered more than 160 structures carved into rocks and caves that were used and renovated by humans in the area from Talin to Ashtarak and Araler-Aragats. They differ from man-made caves in other regions of Armenia in their stone doors. Caves with stone doors have a cave-hall, a stone door and a secret entrance, in the form of a difficult tunnel with specific masonry. They were mainly used as hidden storehouses for the food of small groups of people or communities. Only a few trusted people had access to these reserves. To fight humidity, basalt stones were laid along the cave-hall walls. Urned-shaped vessels for grain were carved or placed in the caves. There were also sealed vessels for liquids. At the end of the tunnels, there were stone-doors that swung inward.

These doors were a fundamental feature of the caves. If there was a hidden tunnel, there had to be a stone door at the end. The stone doors had pegs near the top that fit into specially carved holes in the frames. Both doors and frames were well-finished. Even now, they can be opened and closed. We don't know when these doors were built, though by the 18th century, they had no practical use anymore. Chroniclers wrote about them as amazing, unusual structures donated to humans by giants. According to the Speleological Center, caves with similarly-designed stone doors can be found only in the Aragatsotn marz. But there are no rock-carved churches in this region, and the churches that were built from the 5th to the 16th centuries don't have stone doors. Thus, we can conclude that the caves with stone doors are related to pre-Christian culture.

During the Soviet period, speleology was advanced in Armenia. There were even plans to use some caves as premises for the production of cheese and beer. Today, speleogy barely exists, and Armenian caves have yet to be studied. As Vahan Ter-Ghazaryan from the speleological center explains, "We mainly limit ourselves to discovering caves. We can't do any serious investigation, because we don't have the funds."

Aghavni Yeghiazaryan
Photos by Emin Mkrtchyan


According to the golden rule of speleology (caving) not less than 5 people can enter a cave at a time. In Armenia, only the specialists from the Center Of Speleology observe this rule. There are more than 40 specialists at the Center including archeologists, theologians, geographers, geologists and architects every one of whom studies caves from the positions of his sphere. During the last 3 years the group has discovered 12 new churches, 2 crypts, 3 settlements and 2 fortresses.

"Those who go into the caves in Armenia do no know what a dangerous thing it is. No one warns them to enter big caves only in company of specialists. I know tourism agencies that take people to the caves unaware of the dangers they hide. Caves, of course, are a mighty factor for spurring tourisms and those who will invest in this sphere may snatch a large sum but they need to cooperate with the Center for publishing leaflets. There are many people today that consider themselves specialists in cave studies, and I understand this, as Armenians are easy to get to their bearings. While we do researches, they take practical steps. We have the right to curb them but fail to do that lacking necessary means", director of the Center of Speleology Samvel Shahinian says.

His researches of recent years were published in "The Armenian Caves" book. "Our scientific works on caves never attracted sponsors; it were our friends who helped us. In "The Armenian Caves" five-volume book I comment on the materials that we has gathered during last years", Samvel Shahinian said before the discussion at the Museum-Institute of Architecture.

The first volume of the book includes comments on present-day issues and the famous caves of Armenia led by the "stone door" cave of Ashtarak. A series in Shahinian's book tells about Armenian as well as foreign researchers of caves. Thanks to the friends' support, the second volume of the book about churches, crypts, places of worship and monasteries will come out in colorful publication and in two languages.

By Ruzan Poghosian
AZG Armenian Daily #113, 21/06/2005

Erebuni - October 31, 2011 01:07 AM (GMT)

The idea of seismic isolation of buildings came to Armenia due to Prof. Mikael Melkumian who is largely promoting the new technology. Thanks to his works since 1993, Armenia entered the list of leading states in this sphere together with USA, Japan, New Zeeland, China and Italy, even outweighing them in seismic isolation of standing buildings (Armenian specialists gradually cut building foundations and put in radio-metallic isolators with a diameter of 20-60 cm). In Armenia, two buildings are already standing on such isolators. The first seismic "pillows" came to Armenia from Malaysia and soon after Armenia launched its production. The enormous experience in metal working plus scientific achievements allow Armenia reviling with the most developed countries. Radio-metallic "pillows" of Rubber Novelty Company are incomparably cheaper than the overseas production (Malaysia) and meanwhile are of the same quality. The company constantly receives orders from abroad. Such states as Iran, Italy, Turkey, Romania, Russia, Kyrgyzstan are interested in Armenian production. This technology can also be successfully used in protecting historic monuments, industrial objects, nuclear power plants, chemical plants and other high-risk buildings.

By Marietta Makarian
AZG Armenian Daily #129, 14/07/2005

Erebuni - October 31, 2011 01:07 AM (GMT)

In this year is 15 years from the death and 100 years from birthday of the well-known Armenian scientist microbiologist Levon Erzinkian (or Erznkian), who is one of the top scientists of the world in the field of lactobaccilus.

Levon Erzinkian is founder of the technical microbiology (biotechnology) in Armenia. He is the first in the world, in Armenia and in the former USSR, who discovered the probiotisc era and their successful application in medicine in order to treatment a great many diseases in 30-40s of the XX century.

The beginning of the XX century is notable by establishment of antibiotics era, that played a positive role in the process of human`s lives saving. However the following factors resulted in the development of allergic diseases, dysbacteriousis and its accompanying diseases:

- the frequent and sometimes uncontrolled application of antibiotics

- wide use of chemical substances in housekeeping and medicine

- ecology aggrevastion and etc.

As a result of immune system weakening a man become unprotected from any diseases. Consequently the number of consumptives increased. New strains of tuberculosis agent resistant to antibiotics appeared.The learned world payed attention to probiotics in the end of XX century.

But in 1940s this work on probiotics application of Levon Erzinkian was not accepted by many microbiologist and physicians in Armenia.

The great Russian microbiologist E.Mechnikoff was the first in the world, who payed attention to application of lactobacillus for treatment diseases. He himself and the whole world scientists made attemption to cure gastrointestinal infection diseases by means of lactobacillus. However , in that period the strains of lactobacilus were not very active and recommended curative dose were very small and that`s why the treatment efficiency was not so effective.

Armenian scientist Levon Erzinkian the Institute of Microbiology of National Academy of Sciences, Armenia, spent more than 50 years of researches in order to isolate new strongly phenol resistant lactic-acid bacteria with high acid-formation, antibacterial, vitamin increasing qualities, which are able to survive in human large intestines.

With the help of his method L.Erzinkian isolated more than 1640 strains of acidophilic bacteria.. Out of them he selected more than 10 most active strains and marked them in Er (first two letters of his last name). Long researches of Prof. L.Erzinkian and his colleagues showed that strains of acidophilic bacteria, isolated personally by L.Erzinkian, when cultivated in vitro and vivo, don`t lose their ability to survive in the human intestines.

Starting in the end of 40s L.Erzinkian together with some enthusiastic doctors continued clinical tests of his new acidophilic strains.

The results were stupefying. People, suffering from acute form dysentery, typhoid and other gastro-intestinal diseases recovered very quickly. It is interesting that the treatment with the acidophilic bacteria can be done either separately or together with other drugs, because L.Erzinkian`s lactic-acid bacteria have high antigerm capability and broad spectrum of antagonistic effects, and are resistant to high concentration of phenol, antibiotic and chemical therapeutic drugs.

Back in the end of 40s –beginning of 50s of the XXc. L.Erzinkian created a new method of acidophilotherapy and gave norms of feeding with acidophilic milk for babies, children and adults.

Treatment of bacterial dysentery with the help of acidophilic bacteria, according to L.Erzinkian`s method was performed in those years in the infection clinics and in a military hospital in Yerevan (Republic of Armenia) . In the latter the treatment was done only with acidophilic milk and paste. Laboratory analilisis of faeces gave negative results after third day of treatment in most cases of all form and types of bacterial dysentery.

For testing of the acidophilic milk and paste treatment effects on the intestines locally special device-restoromanoscope /the author is Lt.Colonel of Medical service A.Alexandrian/ was invented.

The results were above all expectations –ulcers, erosions and other parthological changes of the intestinal mucosa were quickly cured. In all cases ulcers healed up after 2-3 treatments, interval between the treatments was two days.

In 1949 prof.Erzinkian isolated the strain Lactobacterium acidophilum (Lactobacillus acidophilus) n.v. Er 317/402 /author certificate of the USSR, N 163573 / on the basis of which he invented therapeutic nutritious dairy product “Narine”. ”Narine” germs are much better than similar ones in terms of its morphological, physiological, biochemical and organoleptic qualities. Unlike Bulgarian and Matzun bacillus as well as other well known lactic-acid bacteria, “Narine” bacteria are developed in the medium consisting up to 0,6 % phenol, 1,1% indol and 1% phtalasol.

The strain Er 317/402 “Narine” produces considerable amount of harmless for man`s and especially for child`s organism antimicrobial subsyances, which suppressed the growth and development of grampositive (Staphilococcus areus) and gramnegative (E.Coli) bacteria including all the bacteria stimuli of dysentery, disbacteriosis, toxic dyspepsia, salmonellose, typhoid other vulgar diarrhoea.

It should be mentioned that under the influence of antimicrobial substances “Narine” the typical stimuli of dysentery are killed or they lose their pathogenic properties.

The strain Er 317/402 “Narine” curdles the milk during 3-7 hours, depending upon the temperature of fermenting, the amount and age of the inoculum. Long observations of author and his colleagues showed that the strain Er 317/402 “Narine” did not have fagolisis. This fact is of great value both from practical and theoretical viewpoint for milk production. “Narine” is a high caloric, easy-to-digest dairy product with high bactericidial properties.

Product “Narine” is rich in vitamins, important aminoacids (metionin, lisin, etc.) necessary for growth and development of human body. Composition of proteins and facts is similar to that of maternal milk, and for this reason “Narine” is a good substitute of breast milk. It can be used for babies since the first days of their life, besides “Narine” is very wholesome for prematurely born children, and newborn, who had suffered from hemolytic disease. Feeding of such babies with “Narine” has a therapeutic effect, because it contains vitamins of group B, which have good influence on blood creative organs of newborns, increase hemoglobin count in blood.

Starting in 1966 acidophilic milk “Narine” has been widely used in children infection hospitals in Armenia. “Narine” starter was sent to all regions of Armenia. Healthy babies who needed breast milk substitute, were also fed with “Narine”. The results of clinic tests were also positive.

Children fed with “Narine” outstrip in weigth and growth those who are fed with breast milk, grow healthy and do not suffer from gastro-intestinal diseases.

Modern medicine achieved great success in treatment of infectious diseases. However acute infectious diseases of intestinal still happen, especially among children.

Nowadays “Narine” is used in medicine for treatment of acute forms of gastro-intestinal diseases among children and adults, such as a dysentery, salmonellose, typhoid, disbacteriosis, toxic dyspepsia, hemolytic jaundice, atropy, dystrophy as well as in surgical and obstetrical practice – for the treatment of golden staphylococcus, vulvovaginitis, mastitis, furunculosis, in stomalogy for paradontose, etc.

Prof. L.Erzinkian`s biological method of bacteriotherapy is especially valuable for those acute cases of gastro-intestinal diseases, which are difficult to treat with antibiotics or when a patient has allergy to antibiotics. Antimicrobial substances of “Narine” are healthy and totally harmless for babies, children and adults. Patients get cured much quicker, sometimes 3-4 times faster. The treatment effect is very stable.

The therapeutic properties of L.Erzinkian`s acidophilic bacteria, among them “Narine”, were confirmed during years of testing in the clinics of Armenia, Riga (Latvia), Kiev (Ukraine), Moscow (Russia) and other cities of the former Soviet Union as well as investigations of Japanese scientists. “Miki Trading” ( now “Miki Corporation”), Japan, produces “Narine” and worked out medicines “Bon-Narine” on its basis. The clinical results are brought up in several
Scientific articles and methodic recommendations confirmed by the Ministry of Public Health of Armenia.

Japanese scientists found out that “Narine” bacteria stimulate the production of interferon which increases immnity and prevents the development od cancer and other diseases.

Other properties of the product “Narine”:

- “Narine” is antioxidant

- “Narine” has been proved by the armenian microbiologists and epidemiologists to inhibit Helicobacter pylori, Yersinia enterocolitis, Yersinia pseudotuberculosis, Vibrio NAG, Vibriocholera El-Tor and other bacteria.

It is known, that Helicobacter pylory causes peptic ulcer and that`s why strain “Narine” is a very effective remedy for peptic ulcer treatment. Armenian scientist A.Nersesyan investigated antigenotoxic action of strain “Narine” and confirmed its the most high antigenotoxic, anticarcinogenic activity. It`s proved that the pills and capsules of “Narine” to don`t posses antiogenotoxic action.

Its wonderfull and harmless properties are necessary for people after antibiocotherapy, radio and chimiotherapy, curing together with or without medicines some oncology deseases (for example leukemia).

It is very and very necessary to use “Narine” AIDS and tuberculosis patients.

The further research and application of “Narine” are certainly warranted.

Prof. L.Erzinkian restored the spontaneous microflora of Armenian youghurt and isolated its unique lactic-acid bacteria (author certificate of the USSR, N718075, 1979 ).

It is worth mentioning that Armenian yoghurt has many advantages in its organoleptic, therapeutic, nutritious properties and microflora in comparison with similar acido-lactic product yoghurt, which is produced in Russia, Bulgaria, Greece, France, USA and etc.

E..L. Erzinkian (Yerznkyan)` (Daugther of Late Prof.L.Erzinkian)

Erebuni - October 31, 2011 01:08 AM (GMT)
Mikael Leonovich Ter-Mikaelian (1923–2004)

M.L. Ter-Mikaelian was born in Tbilisi, Georgia, on November 10, 1923. While the late middle-age poet-singer Sayat Nova and contemporary film producer Sergey Paradjanov, both from Tbilisi, adored the beauty of women, Mikael and his junior brother André were in love with Physics. His father Levon, a high-level railway engineer in Tsarist and Bolshevik Russia, published works on Fermat's problem.

Levon had been the head of many buildings in the Russian Empire including the so called (at that time) the “century building” – the railway Moscow-Vladivostok. He then was the minister of communications in the first Republic of Armenia in 1918–1920.

His beautiful mother took care of his musical, language education, especially French, and made everything to save his father Levon, from one year KGB arrest.
She was by origin from Baku (Azerbayjan) from the family of an oilman who had been elected, after 1917 revolution, the head of enterprise.
After the death of his father in 1943 M.L. Ter-Mikaelian moved to Yerevan with his mother and brother.

In 1948 after graduating from the Yerevan State University (the supervisor of his degree work was Academician V.Hambartsumyan) he was sent to Moscow Lebedev Institute as an "aspirant" (post-graduate) of Yerevan Physics Institute (YerPhI). His supervisor E.L. Feinberg, a leading physicist from the Tamm theoretical division, highly estimated his love of the poetry of physics. A. Abrikosov and A. Chudakov were his close friends, while the personal contacts with I.Tamm, V. Ginzburg, A. Sakharov, L. Landau, Ya. Pomeranchuk and other famous physicists gave him the joy of creation. In Lebedev Institute he made his first (candidate) dissertation in 1953 and, as he said later, the most important of his discoveries on the coherence length of high-energy particle interactions.

In this work he gave the united physical basis for understanding the processes occurring in various interactions of high-energy particles with matter. The result of this research, which seemed at that time to be paradoxical, consisted in the statement that at high energies, when the wavelength of both emitted photon and electron is much shorter than the mean interatomic distance in the medium, the usual pattern of emission is modified sharply. The typical spatial scale of interaction turns to be strongly extended and many times exceeds not only the wavelength, but also the interatomic distances, reaching a macroscopic size. All atoms getting into this region act coherently resulting in an abrupt intensification of radiation. This length has been called, reasonably, the coherence (or formation) length.

Ter-Mikaelian's results on these coherent processes have been confirmed later theoretically by H. Uberall (1956) and experimentally by the Italian Frascati group (1960). The quasi-monochromatic gamma quanta beams produced in single crystal by such coherent processes found wide application in elementary particle experiments.

In 1954, M.L. Ter-Mikaelian predicted that due to the polarization of the medium or due to the difference of the light velocity in condensed matter from that in vacuum the Bethe–Heitler bremsstrahlung spectrum will be suppressed in certain spectral regions just as the Landau–Pomeranchuk–Migdal effect operates in another region. This influence of the medium now known as Ter-Mikaelian or longitudinal density effect is very similar to the Fermi density effect and has been experimentally studied initially by the Armenian physicists and recently more extensively by a SLAC––Stanford University–UCSC––American University, Washington collaboration.

Ter-Mikaelian succeeded to show that the physical reasons lying in the basis of the considered phenomena have essentially wider meaning than explanation of peculiarities of emission of ultrafast particles. This lead to the development of a new direction involving a large variety of processes in high-energy physics including the interactions of hadrons inside a nucleus considered as a material medium.

After having defended his PhD thesis Ter-Mikaelian returned to Armenia where he started as junior researcher at the Yerevan Physics Institute and reached in a short time the positions of the Head of the Institute’s Theoretical Department and the Deputy Head of the Institute. His interest in elementary particle physics grew in connection with the design and construction work of Yerevan 6 GeV Electron Synchrotron under the guidance of the Head of the Institute Academician A. Alikhanian and Yu. Orlov. The weekly workshop he organized was a true school of scientific work for many young physicists of Armenia who had a possibility to discuss the latest news in this field. Special attention was given to the new results on the X-ray transition radiation (XTR) obtained by G.M. Garibian. Approaching the transition radiation theory from the point of view of coherence phenomena, M. Ter-Mikaelian has developed in 1960–1961the theory of resonance transition radiation or the theory of X-ray transition radiation (XTR) produced in a stack of plates, consisting of two types of alternating thin materials; the theory took into account the interference between the radiation produced at various interfaces between the layers. Later his theory has been developed by others taking into account the absorption of the produced XTR photons in the radiators, multiple scattering, and other factors. In 1961 M.Ter-Mikaelian together with experimentalists A. Alikhanian, F.Harutiunian and K.Ispirian has published the "Bible" of transition radiation detectors (TRD) in which it has been shown that XTR can find application for the identification and measuring the energy of single particles with energies much higher than is accessible for Cherenkov radiation detectors. The first numerical studies of XTR carried out with the help of first Armenian vacuum tube computers allowed to propose various methods of construction of TRD which are in use even today. After more than 15 years of the study of XTR properties and construction of first TRD by YerPhI and other physicists the TRD techniques is widely used in high-energy physics. Transition radiation can be used also for production quasi-monochromatic X-ray beams as well as in particle beam diagnostics. At that time Ter-Mikaelian has published a series of papers concerning emission from uniformly moving particles in inhomogeneous media. These papers made the basis of his doctoral thesis which he defended in 1962 at the P.Lebedev Physics Institute of AS of USSR. The works in the field of the high-energy physics Ter-Mikaelian summarized in the well-known monograph entitled “Influence of medium on electromagnetic processes at high energies” published in 1969 by the Armenian AS in Russian. The book was translated into English in 1972 and published by J.Valey & Sons Inc., NewYork under the title “High Energy Electromagnetic Processes in Condensed Media”.

In the Russian version of this monograph the author calculated the intensity of the radiation produced by electrons passing through the lattice of a single crystal slab under the Bragg angle. Since the quasi-classical (or WKB) method of calculation is not valid for such short periods, he used perturbation theory and already in 1969 in the Russian publication of his book he derived the formulae very similar to the Bragg condition and the relation between the angles and frequency and intensity of a new type of radiation. The physics of this radiation is very simple: the Williams–Weizsacker pseudo-photons accompanying the electron undergo Bragg diffraction and are emitted as real photons under certain angles. Therefore, in his last review M.L. Ter-Mikaelian called it diffracted X-ray radiation (DXR). This type of radiation was later rediscovered and theoretically studied by many authors using kinematical and dynamical theories of X-ray diffraction. For some reasons it was called quasi-Cherenkov radiation, parametric X-ray radiation (PXR), resonance transition radiation under Bragg angle, polarization radiation, etc. The name PXR is now commonly used for this radiation. PXR has been observed for the first time by the Siberian physicists at Tomsk in 1985. Only in the beginning of 1990s the experimentalists "found" the original M.L. Ter-Mikaelian's publications of 1969 and 1972 and showed that almost all the experimental results can be explained by the formulae given in the book. PXR has a very narrow spectral distribution, much narrower than X-ray transition and channeling radiation, has a high degree of polarization and can find wide applications, in particular, in medicine.
In 1963 Ter-Mikaelian goes to work to the Yerevan State University where he becomes the Dean of the Physics Department. His organizing abilities are here completely displayed. In a short time full reorganization of the Department takes place. Eight new Chairs have been organized in the perspective directions of science development, such as the Chair of Biological and Molecular Physics, Chair of Radiation Physics and Quantum Optics, Chair of Mathematical Physics, and so on. Gifted young scientists have been engaged to be the Heads of new Chairs. In these years Ter-Mikaelian begins to develop in Armenia a new scientific direction that is Laser Physics. The Joint Radiation Laboratory of Academy of Sciences and Yerevan State University (JRLASYSU) organized by him obtained very soon an international recognition.

The investigations in JRLASYSU involved a variety of topics, from elaboration of theoretical bases of quantum generators and quantum amplifiers and experimental verification of obtained results to creation and production of ruby lasers. In the theory of quantum generators and amplifiers the limits of applicability of the rate equations for calculations of the laser output parameters were established and formulated. The basic characteristics of continuous and pulsed regimes of laser operation were considered depending on parameters of active elements, optical cavity, and pumping. Also the semiclassical theory was developed that takes into account coherence phenomena in amplification and generation of laser radiation. These works were the basis for subsequent technological calculations in creation of solid-state lasers. The works on ruby lasers resulted in elaboration and fabrication of the first in USSR commercial quantum generator of “Arzni” series produced at the Arzni (Armenia) factory for precise technical stones. The first models of these lasers were demonstrated at the Leipzig Fair in 1965.

The results of studies on solid-state lasers obtained up to 1967 were included in the monograph “Solid-State Optical Generators” written by A.L.Mikaelyan, M.L.Ter-Mikaelyan, and Yu.S.Turkov and published by “Sovetskoye Radio” in 1967.For the series of works on studies, creation, and production of lasers for scientific and technological purposes a collective of authors and Ter-Mikaelyan were awarded a State Award of Armenian SSR in science and technology in 1980.

In 1968 on the basis of JRLASYSU the academic Institute for Physical Research was organized by Ter-Mikaelyan who was the Head of the Institute for many years. In the same year in the Optics Laboratory (headed by M.Mevsessian) of the newly organized IPR NAS the first experimental verification of nonlinear interaction of laser radiation with gaseous media was realized as observation of three-photon scattering of light on a two-level atomic system in potassium vapor. The Institute’s Theoretical Department whose permanent Head to his dying day was Ter-Mikaelyan has always actively developed a new direction in nonlinear optics, that is resonant coherent interactions of electromagnetic radiation with atoms and atomic media. The theory of dressed states of an atom in the field successfully developed by Ter-Mikaelyan made the basis of interpretation of many new phenomena which are extensively investigated up to now and have more and more new applications in modern technologies. Unfortunately, the monograph on resonance optics, summarizing all the obtained results, on which Ter-Mikaelyan worked many years, remained unfinished.

Ter-Mikaelyan devoted much time and effort to the economical activity. The Institute for Physical Research was built and enlarged on an abandoned stony lot 30 km far from Yerevan, near a small town of Ashtarak. Nearby the scientific buildings arose a residential area for scientists of the Institute. In the foreground of Ter-Mikaelyan’s office there was a three-volume plan of the planting of greenery in the territory of 70 hectares. Looking out of windows of this office and seeing a stony landscape without a single green bush, it was difficult to imagine that roses and weeping willows will be able to grow here. Now apricot and apple gardens are blooming here, nut-trees are growing, and poplars noising. In the sphere of Ter-Mikaelyan’s activity were the construction of a kindergarten, tennis-courts, a swimming pool, arrangement of communal services for coworkers, problems of transport communication with the city of Yerevan, teaching in the Ashtarak school, and many other problems.

In eighties IPR NAS was confidently one of leaders in Laser Physics, but just at that time Ter-Mikaelyan considered necessary to develop new directions of investigations. In 1987, spring, the discovery of high-temperature superconductivity caused a scientific sensation. Ter-Mikaelyan formulated for young researchers of the Institute a problem that seemed to be unrealizable, to reproduce the published results in two weeks. These were two weeks of tense work and Ter-Mikaelyan did not leave the Institute till late at night. But already in April, at the traditional annual spring meeting on nonlinear optics guests of the Institute could see superconducting ceramics obtained in the Institute. In a short time the new Lab created in the Institute started to work successfully and obtained recognition of the scientific community.

From 1988 to 1993 Ter-Mikaelyan combined the supervision of the Institute with the position of the Academician-Secretary of the Physical-Mathematical Department of the Armenian Academy, but in 1994 he left these positions and remained the Honorary Head of the Institute and the Head of the Theoretical Department.

At that time, very hard for the whole post-soviet science, his effort was mainly directed to overcome the informational isolation of the Institute. The scientific literature was practically not delivered, it was difficult to arrange the Internet connection, and annual workshops were interrupted. But already in 1995 the traditional workshop on Laser Physics took place and Ter-Mikaelyan was able to provide the invitations for specialists who could present review reports. Having in 1997 visited, after a forced interruption, the University of Hamburg, he brought a lot of reprints of articles and he said that he spent the whole time in the library choosing the papers for reprinting by only the titles, having even no time to read them.

He kept working intensively up to the very last days of his life without making allowances for the age and fatigue. He participated actively in numerous international conferences, traveled much through the world making review presentation. His last review paper was published in the 2004 January issue of “Uspekhi Fizicheskikh Nauk”. Being seriously ill, already in the hospital, he thought over the perspectives of studies in the headed department.

Ter-Mikaelyan was a wide range physicist, with a great erudition and a brilliant insight. Joining the born gifts with the purposeful devotion to the science and being rarely hard-working he always was able to achieve the stated aims. A genuine intellectual, a person of exceptional fascination and very fine sense of humor, he was for many young scientists not only a supervisor, but a teacher of life in the highest meaning of this concept. He was distinguished by a high scrupulousness and adherence to principle in the science. He has had no one article where his coauthorship is only formal. Problem formulation and many discussions were for him insufficient for agreement to enter the collective of authors. Numerous asks to put his name as coauthor were always answered: “No, I have not made any calculation here”.

He permanently was ready to give an advice or to offer assistance in any question at any time, the door of his office was always open for students and postgraduates. He was an excellent story-teller, the author of many stories that were spread by word of mouth becoming the capital of the institute folklore. Being the witness and participant of stormy events of history of XX century physics, he was familiar with many prominent scientists, but his invaluable recollections remained unwritten. He lived a life full of scientific work; he trained a Pleiad of scientists who are now successfully developing the physics not only in Armenia, but also in many other countries.

His is buried on a hill from where is well seen the Institute he has created.
This material was compiled on the basis of the Obituaries published in the “TRDs for the Third Millenium. Proceedings of the 2nd Workshop on Advanced Transition Radiation Detectors for Accelerator and Space Applications”(The participants to the TRD 2003 workshop are proud to dedicate these proceedings to the eminent physicist Mikael L. Ter-Mikaelian; written by Prof. K. Ispirian of YerPhy) and in “Uspekhi Fizicheskikh Nauk”(written by Dr. G. Grigoryan of IPR NAS)

Academician M. L. Ter-Mikaelian, after having participated in the "International Workshops on Transition Radiation", TRD 2003, September 2–5, Bari, Italy, and on "Radiation of Relativistic Particles in Periodic Structures", RREPS 2003, September 7–12, Tomsk, Russia, has returned to Armenia to take part in a conference on "Non-linear Optics and Laser Physics, Ashtarak", October 14–17 dedicated to his 80th anniversary. While he was making seminal contributions to both high-energy physics and to non-linear optics and laser physics he, probably, was preparing the second edition of his famous monograph "Electromagnetic Processes in Condensed Matter", when he felt ill, was taken to hospital, where he died during an operation, January 31, 2004.

Erebuni - October 31, 2011 01:08 AM (GMT)
Armagh New Anti-Diabetes Medicine Produced In Armenia

YEREVAN, MARCH 21, NOYAN TAPAN. Armagh new anti-diabetes medicine has
been produced in Armenia. As Noyan Tapan correspondent was informed
by Doctor of Biological Sciences, professor Aramayis Aghajanian,
the manufacturing of the new medicine lasted more than 12 years. In
his words, the efficiency of this medicine is felt the next day
after taking it. In A. Aghajanian's words, in difference to other
anti-diabetes medicines, Armagh has no counterindications.

This preparation contains nettle, alpine sorrel, garlic, onion,
onion seed and ethyl alcohol.

The professor said that it is advised taking the medicine in case of
great quantity of glucose and cholesterol in the blood, high blood
pressure, heart failure and a number of other diseases. A. Aghajanian
also said that he has prepared another two, more efficient
anti-diabetes medicines, which have not received permission for
production yet.

Three Scientific Centers Of Chemistry Sector Demand Reviewing Governmental Decosion On Creation Of Sectoral Scientific Technological Center

YEREVAN, MARCH 22, NOYAN TAPAN. Directors of three institutes
subordinate to the RA National Academy of Sciences - the Institute
of Fine Organic Chemistry (IFOC), the Institute of Organic Chemistry
(IOC), and the Molecular Structure Research Institute (MSRI) - have
sent letters to the president and the prime minister of Armenia
with the request to review the October 12 governmental decision on
establishment of the Scientific Technological Center of Organic and
Pharmaceutical Chemistry. This was stated at the March 21 press
conference convened at the IFOC by the management of the above
mentioned scientific centers. According to Vigen Topuzian, acting
director of IFOC, the governmental decision was made without taking
into account the opinion of the staff of these institutes. He said
that after the decision, some well-founded proposals on review of
the decision have been sent to the government. It was noted that
formation of the center through unification of three scientific
centers is artificial: the fact these three institutes represent
different scientific directions was not taken into account. MSRI
director Harutyun Karapetian said that the creation of the center is
an initiative of the Presidency of the RA National Academy of Sciences
(NAS), which, however, is only an imitation of reforms in science. In
his words, during the March 13 extended sitting of the natural sciences
department of the RA NAS it became clear that the heads and members
of this department have no idea about the scientific directions and
administrative-economic structure of the new center, as well as about
criteria that a candidate for the post of the center director must
meet. According to the letter, taking all this into consideration,
at the joint sitting of scientific councils of the three institutes
a decision was made to recall the candidates nomunaited for the post
of director of the Scientific Technological Center of Organic and
Pharmaceutical Chemistry.

Erebuni - October 31, 2011 01:09 AM (GMT)
The Power of Light: Accelerator would brighten science and economy experts say
By Suren Deheryan
ArmeniaNow reporter
November 8, 2002

CANDLE, a $48-million US-Armenia project to build an elaborate research facility is hoped to brighten Armenia's place in global scientific research and infuse the national economy with revenue.

The Center for Advancement of Natural Discoveries Using Light Emission was founded on support of US businessman Jirair Hovnanian two years ago. Pending continued support from the US Government, the CANDLE project would eventually result in the building of a synchrotron accelerator, a machine capable of creating electrons for use in micro-organism research.

Such research could be applied to medicine, technology and industry as scientists say it "opens the road" to the micro organic world.

The accelerator, says head of the project American professor Alexander Abashyan (pictured above, left), "will give many scientists of the world an opportunity to do research in physics, biology, science of materials, medicine and other fields."

Armenia was one of five countries to build electron accelerators in the 1960s. The accelerator at the Yerevan Physics Institute is hardly functioning these days as science, like many disciplines has been hampered by poor economy. In any case the CANDLE project's machine would replace the existing one as a faster and more efficient model.

Similar, but not exact, machines are currently in use in the US, Germany, Switzerland and France and others are being created in England and Canada.

"All the year round more than 2,000 scientists representing about 250 institutions and private enterprises participate in research work of a similar accelerator (SPEAR 2) at America's Standford University," says technical director of the center, scientist Vasili Tsakanov (pictured below). "But CANDLE's will be of 100 times higher quality than the ones of SPEAR 2.

"Can you imagine what future CANDLE will have, if we take into account that there are machines of type SPEAR 2 neither in Eastern Europe, nor in CIS countries, nor in Asia, besides Japan?"

Abashyan says Armenia has produced many scientists capable of the research the new accelerator would provide, but they have taken their research to other countries because no facility was available here.

In January of this year, the US State Department gave $500,000 to finance a technical draft report. An experts committee approved the report in August and final decision on further financing will be taken early next year by the US Congress.
If Congress approves, CANDLE will receive another $15 million to continue the project.

"The State Department finances the project without seeking any profit. It is done as an aid to Armenia and the region," Abashyan says. "Even the World Bank is interested in the project, wondering what economic impact the machine will have for the region."

Abashyan, an expert in the field, retired five years ago and agreed to oversee the project at Hovnanian's request. At present 40 people are involved in the project. Eventually 120 engineers, physicists and technicians will be involved.

The accelerator, Abashyan says, would be built underground inside 20 layers of concrete that would protect the environment from radiation. It would take up a territory of about 100-meters diameter. Construction would take five years.

"It is not like a reactor, and there is no threat of radiation," he says. "Electrons that rotate in the machine are surrounded with concrete walls, so the rays cannot come out. There is less radiation outside the walls than while standing in the sun."
The expert says the scientific applications of the accelerator are complemented by its revenue generating possibilities. A dollar invested will be repaid 10 to 20-fold he says.

"I believe that this is a very good opportunity for Armenia to improve the situation in the country. There are many people in Armenia who cannot do their work because there are no facilities. Our project will help people not to leave Armenia, stay here, work and build it."

Winning Ride: Yerevan Metro earns international recognition
By Zara Chatinyan
ArmeniaNow reporter
September 13, 2002

Yerevan has a prize winning Metro system.

In July, the Metro won a "quality acknowledgement" award in New York, given by Business Initiatives Directorate, an international center based in Madrid, Spain.
The center is comprised of engineers, mathematicians and researchers who analyze businesses worldwide and promotes quality with recognition of the awards.

Among its associates is the International Association of Public Transportation, of which Yerevan Metro is a member and to which it sends annual performance and financial reports.

"We were not aware of the competition, more so we never hoped to win" says the Director of the Yerevan Metro Paylak Yayloyan. "It came as a total surprise."
For its good work, Yerevan Metro received a certificate and a small statue.

The prize was based on different technical merits including cost per unit and service per unit factor, level of expenses, quality control and maintenance and other complex technical parameters. The number of incidents and disorders is also a consideration.

According to Yayloyan among all Newly Independent States countries Yerevan Metro is considered the most expensive service to maintain (based on per unit expense and the number of people served).

The annual budget for Yerevan Metro is 1 billion 440 million drams (about $2.5 million). Of this amount about 800 million drams is financed by the State. The rest of the budget should be allocated from the tickets costs, trade and advertisement.

"It is a norm in most developed countries to charge for a metro ride as much as a taxi would charge for one kilometer ride. In Yerevan taxis charge at least 80 drams per kilometer," says Yayloyan

A ride on the Yerevan Metro costs 40 drams (about 8 cents).

The construction of Yerevan Metro started in 1972. It started its operation nine years later, when the first five stations were opened (Barekamutyuan, Marshal Bagramyan, Eritasardakan, Hanrapetutyan Hraparak, Sasuntsi David). Later, five other stations were added, giving the Metro a total distance of about 12 kilometers.

The number of daily Metro users has dropped dramatically in recent years, from about 280,000 to about 44,000.

The decrease is primarily due to the emergence of Yerevan's mini-bus service, which didn't exist during the first years of the Metro.
A staff of 1,200 whose average salary is about $50 a month keep the public transport running. Six trains serve 10 stations, operating from 6:30 a.m. till 11 p.m.

Erebuni - October 31, 2011 01:09 AM (GMT)
Back to the Future: University continues Armenian tradition of engineering specialists
By Suren Deheryan
ArmeniaNow reporter
April 11, 2003

The State Engineering University of Armenia (SEUA) celebrates its 70th anniversary this year with programs aimed at revitalizing the institution and Armenia's reputation in the science.

During Soviet times, Armenia was known as the USSR's "engineer shop", producing specialists for employment throughout the Union. But with the demise of Communism came hard times for engineers, as their skills were no longer needed in the decline of industry.

But last year some 3,000 under graduate and post graduate students entered SEUA, including about 400 foreign students (from Syria, Iran, Iraq and India). In total, about 10,000 students study there and about 1,000 graduate each year. One out of 12 students continue their studies toward a doctoral degree.

Educators see the numbers as a good trend toward restoring industrial Armenia, but also for preparing specialists for an outside market. Although the numbers of students is on the rise, finding job placement is still a significant challenge.

"Today we should prepare our graduates for a global market," says SEUA rector Yuri Sargsyan, adding that the job market in Armenia is still not promising. "From now on we should know where our graduates are, whether they are demanded in labor market, and whether they are prepared or not."

In its seven decades the university - formerly known as the Polytechnic Institute -- has turned out more than 100,000 graduates, including well-known scientists, businessmen and inventors.

Today the SEUA cooperates with educational institutions in the United States and a number of European countries, as well as with international organizations.

Two years ago SEUA started a collaboration with LEDA Systems Inc., a world leader in Information Technology development. LEDA established the

Microelectronics Circuits and Systems Educational Center at SEUA for third and fourth year students who study microelectronics and who, upon graduation, are offered placement with the company.

"LEDA Systems hasn't come to Armenia to solve social or educational problems," says head of the Armenian branch of the company, Hovik Musayelyan Ph.D. "However, investments made by LEDA are the largest ones that have ever been made in independent Armenia's educational system."

According to him the company has invested $25 million in this field, which includes a $3 million construction plan for an educational and business center.

"At present there is unemployment in the USA, well-known companies are being closed, lay offs are taking place. In such conditions, when LEDA Systems invests in Armenia based on American capital, this is an excellent evaluation of this country," says Musayelyan.

The University has also opened a Student Career Service Center, with branches also in Gyumri, Kapan and Vanadzor. Sargsyan says the center helps to restore the link between graduates and potential employers which had been lost over the past 10 years.

The rector says the Career Service Center helps students apply their education to specific needs of the engineering field, as well as helping prepare resumes and other materials and training in management skills.

Lund's Swedish University and French ESIM Engineering Higher School also participate in implementation of the Service Center projects. Researcher and project coordinator of the Lund's University Eva Ericsson thinks that such a project is very important for Armenia.

"I took part in such a project in Romania and studying the situation among students - information, communication to teachers, lack of choice opportunities - I made sure that in case of implementing such a project it will surely improve a student's state," she says.

"At the same time I believe that students are our future, so the main goal is to improve the economic state of the country in order to stop brain drain and make them return through exchange programs."

Science of Synthesis: Pharmacy institute honored for its research
By Suren Deheryan
ArmeniaNow reporter
January 24, 2003

After many years of research and tests Armenian scientists at the Institute of Fine Organic Chemistry have developed compounds they believe will become an anti-tumor and anti-infection medicine.

For this and other significant research, the Institute was awarded a Napoleon Bonaparte Gold Medal by the Societe D'Encouragement Pour L'Industrie Nationale of France for its cumulative research in recent years.

And head of the Institute, 65-year old academic Bagrat Gharibjanyan, was awarded the German Paul Erlikh Gold medal and Russian Vernadski Silver medal for exceptional scientific services, and a Gold medal from SDPL.

"There are very few scientific centers in the world which implement all the steps starting from synthesis of the medicine to its production," Gharibjanyan says. "The advantage of these institutions is that all the parts of the process are combined in the same place. We have chemists, biologists working here; experiments and technological investigations are also done here."

According to Gharibjanyan, of the Institute's 18 possible elaborations, it is believed that compounds exist to aid in anesthetization, dilation of vessels, regulation of cerebral blood circulation, peripheral dilation of vessels and anti-tumor substances.
"Pre-clinical tests of some of them are near to end, three of them need to pass a few-year clinical tests stage," he says. "Naturally, we are trying to create such medicine that are better than the previous ones, are of little harm for the organism and accessible to patients."

The Institute was founded in 1955 by academician Armenak Mnjoyan and since has worked toward creating medicines.

The Instistute, Gharibjanyan says, has developed medicines that have been used in the treatment of ulcers, bronchial asthma, Parkinson disease, blood pressure, typhoid fever, dysentery, epilepsy and others.

"Every medicine produced by the institute is provided for the efficient treatment of several diseases," says Gharibjanyan.

But after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the successes of the Institute stopped. These days as a result of not having a patent the Institute is prohibited from exporting production of drugs to the international markets.

Further, Gharibjanyan says, the process from raw material to synthetic drug these days cost more money than was spent during the entire pharmacology history of the USSR.

In USA only one preparation is taken for preclinical tests out of 250,000 synthesized preparations. Then only one of five preparations can be taken for clinical tests and only one of five preparations that passed clinical tests can be brought into life.

"If we multiply all of that it will become clear what kind of extensive researches must be conducted to create a drug," says Gharibjanyan. "Our financial state doesn't allow us to conduct researches like that, however, guided by the appropriateness that we established, we conduct purposeful syntheses, which don't require big expenses."

But the award-winning scientist says his Institute's work is largely ignored by companies that could be beneficial to the Institute's future.

"It hurts that competitive companies don't consider it expedient to cooperate with us fearing to acquire strong competitor and fearing to lose the right of monopolist. The way out is either to enter Russian markets by means of cooperation or to find a donor."

Getting the Word Out: Scientists devoted to fact chronicle Armenia to dwindling audience
By Gayane Mkrtchyan
ArmeniaNow reporter
January 23 , 2004

Thirteen volumes of the Armenian Soviet Encyclopedia are carefully leaned against each other in the bookcase of Hovhannes Aivazyan's workroom. Next to the older ones are volumes published within the past decade.

They are evidence of a man who has a special regard for the collection of facts and figures.

"Encyclopedias are not like newspapers and magazines, they cannot go out of date and people cannot say that they don't need them anymore," Aivazyan says. "Each encyclopedia never loses its value regardless of when it was published."
Since 1988, Aivazyan has been chief editor and director of the "Armenian Encyclopedia" publishing house. He talks about encyclopedic works with love and enthusiasm.

"It is a hard work. You are responsible for every fact, dates, every name. We check the facts by all possible means as we have no right for making mistakes. It is a work that requires a lot of time."

Efforts to create an Armenian Encyclopedia began in 1967 under president of the National Academy of Sciences Viktor Hambardzumyan.

The founder's nephew, philologist and philosopher Suren Hambardzumyan, continues his uncle's passion for recording a nation. He works at a table heavy with thick encyclopedias and dictionaries and speaks without stopping his work.

"When Viktor Hambardzumyan was employing us he said: 'The encyclopedia is the face of a nation.' In some sense it was also manifestation of statehood those years."

In 1974 the first volume of Armenian Soviet Encyclopedia was published. Over the next 14 years 12 volumes were published.

"You cannot create an encyclopedia within one year even if your desire to do that is very strong," Aivazyan says. "Each one requires the work of five or six years."

The years of independence have not slowed the work, but Aivazyan complains that demand for the books has lessened.

"Hard social conditions make people think of different problems," the editor says. "During Soviet times big bookstore chains were functioning but today there are regions where one can hardly find even one bookstore. People don't keep bookstores because they think it is not a profitable business. If we were guided by this mentality from the years of Mashtots until these days then we wouldn't even have an alphabet."

Last year the fourth volume of the Armenian Shorter Encyclopedia was issued in an edition of 3,000 copies. Only about 600 copies have sold. By comparison, Aivazyan says that during Soviet times such books were issued 100,000 copies at a time and sold quickly.

"In other countries the book publishing business is one of the most profitable fields but in Armenia today it is dying," Aivazyan says.

The Armenian Encyclopedia employs about 70 workers, including five scientific editorial branches. Much of the work is supported by a 20 million dram (about $35,000) State allotment, which covers salaries and publication costs for one annual volume.

This year AE expects to publish "Karabakh War 1988-1994" and "Armenian Diaspora", chronicling Armenian communities in 68 countries, plus "We Armenians", with profiles of famous Armenians from pagan to modern times.

Erebuni - October 31, 2011 01:09 AM (GMT)
Blood Relative: New (Armenian) invention expected to make diabetes easier to control
By Suren Musayelyan
ArmeniaNow reporter
Issue #35 (157), September 16, 2005

A revolutionary glucose level measuring and monitoring device for diabetics will become available next year, and its Armenian inventor hopes it will find broad application in Armenia, where diabetes is a wide-spread health risk.

The Glucoband is the latest development of U.S.-based Calisto Medical, Inc. (

The company’s CEO and founder Vahram Mouradian, who is the main inventor of the Glucoband (and who owned Yerevan’s Leda Systems until selling it off to Synopsis last year), says the device is the first non-invasive blood glucose monitor. If proven effective, the Glucoband would enable users to measure certain substances in the bloodstream, without breaking the skin.

“The device is aimed at enabling patients, healthcare professionals, and generally anyone to monitor glucose level changes and the measure of the glucose level in the body or blood,” says Mouradian.

The Glucoband is a wristwatch-like portable electronic device, with a touch screen, a built-in computer, embedded microprocessor, flash memory, and watch. According to Mouradian, if there is a demand, the company is also ready to provide designer Glucobands (with diamonds, etc.).

“It is an exciting thing that gives you (options such as a regular watch) and glucose level as well,” says Mouradian, adding that designers also took into account making the Glucoband as discrete as possible.

“No one will ever suspect that you are a diabetic because of wearing it,” says Mouradian.

The inventor hopes that the product, which still needs to be certified by Armenia’s Health Ministry and obtain a license for sale, will become available in Armenia next year, when it enters the international market (pending certain clinical tests).

The new device is also intended to be cost effective. Mouradian does not yet want to speculate on the price of the product, but says that it should be a few hundred dollars. (According to Mouradian, on an annual basis an average diabetic in America spends up to $2,500 on means of monitoring glucose.)

“It will be saving probably 75 percent on an annual basis,” Mouradian estimates.
To measure their glucose (“blood sugar”) level today, people have to prick their finger, extract blood, put the blood on a test strip and then put the strip into a monitor performing certain chemical analyses. The currently used monitor costs $100 and given that such tests might be performed by a patient four to 18 times a day (with the use of various disposable accessories, such as strips costing up to a dollar each) it adds up to quite an expensive procedure.

In contrast, the Glucoband needs no drop of blood (and is painless) as it accesses the body with just two electrodes producing data within a few minutes.
Mouradian says that the Glucoband is also unique because it is designed for continuous monitoring, which detects trends in the change of glucose, which could be useful data for a diabetic’s physician.

Mouradian says that the Glucoband can be used by anyone, without exception.
Diabetes, third behind cancer and cardio-vascular diseases as world-wide cause of death, has been steadily increasing in Armenia over the past decade, according to the World Health Organization. According to official statistics, there are about 16,000 diabetes patients in Armenia, but the actual number is believed to be multiple times higher.

Mouradian says the company’s interests in Armenia are mostly personal, as the potential here would hardly represent a commercial windfall. But four of the five-member team (including himself) working on the Glucoband are ethnic Armenians, with special interests in seeing the Armenian-produced device succeed. (Mouradian himself divides his time between his home in Texas, and Armenia.)

“As a sales market, Armenia is just a small fraction of what can be sold, for example in China. The whole of Armenia is like one part of Shanghai. But there is a certain potential for Armenia to have sufficient resources to be used as part of research and development, enhancement of the product line and support,” says Mouradian, adding that there is also a remote possibility of doing assembly and testing in Armenia.

“This product is not going to become Armenian per se, but certainly Armenia is considered number one outside of the U.S. for research development and, why not, marketing in the region,” Mouradian says. He adds that, ideally, every family should have the Glucoband, like they have thermometers or blood pressure monitors.

In June, Mouradian’s company introduced the Glucoband at a health exposition in San Diego, California. He says they already have a wide response to their planned offer and receive a couple of hundred emails every day, which, according to him, only confirms the need of a convenient and effective glucose level meter.
Mouradian is a 1984 graduate of the Polytechnic Institute in Yerevan from which he received his Ph. D. in electronic engineering and computer science.

Although he has no formal medical education, he worked extensively with medical groups, including in Armenia, and still has contacts with healthcare professionals. He has been “self-educating” in endocrinology towards diabetes for two and a half years.

Mouradian set up Calisto Medical in 2003 and the company became operational in early 2004.

“This is one good example when different fields of activities are combined,” says Mouradian.

“The whole idea here was putting together the medical advances and the knowledge and experience of advanced engineering and electronics.”

Pollen Nation: The Lori region offers health in the air
By Gayane Mkrtchyan
ArmeniaNow reporter
July 11 , 2003

The four-hour journey from Yerevan is hardly noticed when a traveler reaches the Lori region. The final pass is through a one-kilometer long tunnel from which is entered evergreen forests and the beauty that enjoyed by the great novelist, Pushkin.

Around these forests live the villager of Gar-Gar, Gyulagarak, Hobardi, Vardablur, Pushkino, and Kurtan.

Twenty-four year old Anna Marikyan is not a tour guide, but probably could be as she knows every path and the history of her forest home.

"Gar-Gar and Gulakarak are surrounded with Chogiaj, Ajasar, Klor Tala and Javot Jurd mountains," Anna explains. "We usually have the most guests in June, when pollination of pine trees start."

Families of villagers go to the forests to breath fir-tree pollen, which they say is very good for health. There is a sanatorium, Sojut, built in 1937 where mothers take children needing treatment for various breathing disorders.

"Pine trees' pollen contains ftovazin, which is good for bronchial tubes, bronchial asthma, pneumonia and allergies," explains pediatrician Grigor Nerkararyan.

Anna has worked in Sojut for three years as an on duty nurse. She believes in the natural remedies provided by the fresh Lori air and says that a person's health depends on "harmony with nature."

In the beginning of June, 33 children with their parents from Moscow, Voronezh, Yerevan, Gyumri, Ararat and Vanadzor were resting here. The daily expenses for a child is 2,850 drams (about $5) and 4000 drams (about $7) for adults. Four meals and all kinds of physiotherapeutic treatment are included in the amount.
Nekararyan, however, is afraid the sanatorium may not be around much longer to offer such help. The sanatorium is no longer financed by the State and has debts of about $55,000. Working three month in summer they manage to pay all taxes, salaries of 20 employees and provide services for those resting there. In better times around 100 people were working there.

Dendropark Botanic Garden and Gulagarak's observation post of South branch of the National Seismic Control Service provide working places for the residents of the neighboring villages.

Anna enters Dendropark's 35-hectare area by pathways known only to her. She shows with pride different kinds of trees brought here from the different corners of the word.

Vitali Leonovich, director of the garden is a forestry expert and candidate of biological sciences. The garden was founded by his father Edmon Leonovich, of Poland.

"In the Soviet times it was almost forbidden to leave the country. But my father brought different plants from the various parts of the world using all means," the director says.

The oldest tree is 70 years old. Only 500 kinds of the trees survived out of 2,500, but Dendropark is still the third largest botanical garden, after those in Yerevan and Dilijan.This is the third park in Armenia after ones in Yerevan and Dilijan Botanical Gardens.

Vitali Leonovich began working at the park in 1984 and sadly says he has watched it decline due to Armenia's many economic problems. And he has resisted the idea of privatizing, as he insists that it should be State property. Presently, Dendropark gets much of its income from selling seedlings.

Anna Marikyan introduces trees like family members.

"This is South American maple, the other maple is brought from the Scandinavian Peninsula and next to it is Japanese nut tree," she says. "This is a love tree and next to it is zags (ZAGS in Russian is the marriage registry office) tree."

People hang small pieces of fabric and handkerchiefs on the branches of the love and zags trees for their wishes to come true.

Gulagarak's observation station neighbors Dendropark and occupies five small houses. The station is staffed by the Martinyan family.

In the winter months, residents in this region are shut off from the outside world by roads that become impassable. Some residents live with families in Yerevan or other cities. But the Martninyan stay year-round "This is our life and we like to live like that," says 50-year old Juliette Martinyan.

The station is a seismic measuring outpost where Juliette's husband, Vachik, takes daily readings and relays the data to Gyumri. Gyulagarak, he explains has the clearest magnetic field in Armenia, so it offers a good gauge of seismic activity.
Vachik's professional conversation turns to more intimate one of Armenian type as Juliette prepares an open-air table spread with home-made matsun, cheese and bread.

And whether the conversation is about science or food, in this region it comes back to nature.
Regardless of the conversation's topic it ends with high level of pollination this year.

"Look, look there on the top of those pine trees," Anna says. "See the wind taking away clouds of pollen?"

Everybody looks to that direction. It seems yellow clouds consisting of pine-tree pollen are strolling on the top of the forest. Children run here and there and cry out: "Pollination, pollination." Locals look at guests with amazement as glances follow the yellow path on the cool summer wind.

Salt of the Earth: Underground medical center harnesses the healing power of nature
By Suren Musayelyan
ArmeniaNow Reporter

Doctor Andranik Voskanyan takes the time to talk with his patients in plain layman’s terms as they bombard him with questions about their treatment regime.
He regards their involvement in the medical process as an important element in their recovery.

But the republic’s chief lung specialist says that it is nature that does most of the healing, while the doctor’s job is simply “to help accelerate self-regulation”.
“A doctor only starts the swing that returns the human organism to the level that we call health,” says Voskanyan. “Health is a dynamic rather than a static thing. Nature determines the quality of human life. A doctor coordinates the physical health-improving factors of nature.”

Voskanyan has been head of the Republican Speleotherapeutic Center since it was established in 1987. This unique health center is in a man-made cave 235 meters underground

Since 1992, he has also been president of the “Bnabuzhutyun” (Nature Therapy) medical center that examines and supervises patients receiving speleotherapy.
Armenia is a country rich in natural medicinal factors. Along with unique mineral resources and mountain-climate health resorts, the depths of the Ararat valley contain powerful layers of salt with inimitable medicinal properties.

Since May 1987, patients suffering from bronchial asthma and other respiratory illnesses have been treated in the Republican Speleotherapeutic Center.

Here, in a space covering 4,000 square meters, there are therapy-diagnostic rooms, a gym, galleries for walks, and niches for resting and sleeping. The center has been carved out from layers of rock salt that form the Avan-Arinj deposit near Yerevan known as Aghihank.

Therapy is conducted in the form of daily sessions that last about six hours. A typical course of therapy takes 20 sessions.

The cave’s medicinal effectiveness has been demonstrated by the experiences of more than 10,000 patients with asthma and other respiratory illnesses.

“We isolate people for some time from factors that affect them on the surface, such as electromagnetic currents, cosmic particles, and solar energy. We achieve isolation from all the triggers of antigens and other inductors of asthma – allergens, dust, gases, etc.,” says Voskanyan.

Energy emitted by the rock salt crystals and the composition of the air deep underground give speleotherapy its healing power.

Voskanyan explains: “We put a man into the cradle of the origin of life.”

Speleotherapy acts on bronchial asthma, allergic diseases and inherited immune-hormonal dysfunction through immuno-correction and hormonal strengthening. The therapy is also used for rehabilitation of patients with bronchial-lung diseases, viral respiratory diseases such as influenza, and infantilism among children that are behind their peers in psycho-physical development (as in clinical practice speleotherapy has been observed to have a positive effect on children’s immune system).

Doctors say that they have had encouraging results with patients suffering from sarcoidosis, eczema and psoriasis, as well as with children with mild cerebral palsy. Speleotherapy is also said to benefit pregnant women and their unborn children.

Medical staff at “Bnabuzhutyun”, which include five doctors from Aghihank, decide which patients are suitable for speleotherapy.

A research conducted jointly with the All-Union Institute of Pulmonology still in the Soviet times showed that speliotherapy had a positive effect in particular on asthma patients. Thus, it was established on the example of 820 patients that the number of days they spent on sick lists during the year decreased eleven times on the average after they had taken a course of speleotherapy (from 66 to 6).

Now the center receives about 15 to 20 patients a month of all ages. But for technical and safety reasons speleotherapy is not allowed for children under 3 and people that have physical problems preventing them from going or staying 235 meters underground.

Therefore the center has also developed a speleotherapy simulator called a Halochamber, which is situated a few meters underground. Patients sit in a cozy chamber where the health benefits of speleotherapy are modeled using crystals agitated by a quantum beam of light.

The process takes place to audio and video effects as patients relax in easy chairs. Children can play in a sand box of rock salt, where the sand is enriched with medicinal microelements.

The course of therapy covers between 10 and 40 sessions lasting up to 90 minutes.

Speleotherapy and halochamber services are available to some patients with state funding, which means that the state covers the cost of treatment. A typical course costs up to $500.

Voskanyan says, to make it affordable to more people, the center has designed take-home products that will be available in pharmacies across Armenia from September.

They include: a solution of rock-salt enriched with microelements for baths (costing up to 1,000 drams, or $2.2 per bath), especially for children with skin problems; powders that form a wash for treating mouth cavities and infectious diseases of the nose and throat (a portion that would last a person about two weeks will cost about $2); a night-lamp – lusatu – that can be used in children’s bedrooms for chromotherapy (worth $50 or more depending on the design); and inhalers containing a special solution of rock-salt (costing about 5,000 drams).

Erebuni - October 31, 2011 01:10 AM (GMT)

YEREVAN, MAY 15, ARMENPRESS: A 34 year old conservation scientist from Armenia has won the UK's top conservation award for his fight to save Armenia's last wetlands using the charismatic White Stork as a flagship species.

Dr. Karen Aghababyan received The Whitley Award donated by The Friends of the Whitley Fund for Nature from HRH The Princess Royal and Sir David Attenborough at London's Royal Geographical Society last night. It is the first time anyone from the Armenia has won the Award, which is worth 30,000 pounds of sterling.

Dr Aghababyan's research is focused in the Ararat Valley, home to agriculture for thousands of years.

During the Soviet years the wetland areas were reduced by Government draining and although they are slowly recovering a new threat has emerged - Armenia has been granted $200 million for infrastructure development, including draining the Ararat wetlands at the base of Mount Ararat, for conversion to agriculture.

Armenia is of great importance to birds. More than 350 species have been recorded including wetland birds such as endangered White-headed Duck, Dalmatian Pelican, and Great Snipe. Of particular importance are the wetlands of the Ararat valley, only 17,000 ha of which remain, following attempts to drain them during the Soviet era.

For centuries the white stork has been regarded with great affection in Europe. Although they were once prolific, the intensification of agriculture and draining of wetlands has resulted in a decline in the populations. Traditionally storks like to keep their feet wet feeding in wetlands ditches or ponds where they catch frogs, lizards and small rodents.

Although many Armenians feel indifferently towards wetlands, white storks are seen as a cultural icon. They are seldom persecuted and when storks nest close to people, on anything from telegraph poles to roofs, it is a sign of good luck.

Dr Aghababyan has made birds popular in Armenia, teaching bird identification courses in English, Russian and Armenian. Using the White Stork as a flagship species, Dr Aghababyan has launched 'Nest neighbours', working with farmers and villagers, to increase public understanding of storks and their habitat. By becoming involved in wetland conservation, Armenians are starting to take notice of what is being decided for natural resource use at local, national and international levels. Now, 500 families are involved in 'Nest-neighbours' and regularly monitor the Stork population.

Since 1994 the Whitley Awards have been awarded annually. They are worth up to 30,000 pounds of sterling each and are one of the largest nature conservation awards available, recognizing outstanding efforts by leading local conservationists whose work is based on sound science and which fully involves local communities.

Edward Whitley, Founder and Chairman of the Whitley Fund for Nature said:

"Using an iconic species like the White Stork is a great way of drawing attention to the drainage of wetlands, too often a neglected habitat. Working under quite difficult conditions, Karen is getting local people involved in conservation and interested in protecting Armenia's remaining wetlands, which are so important for birds."

Erebuni - October 31, 2011 01:10 AM (GMT)
AZG Armenian Daily #082, 04/05/2007


I met first Armen Haghnazarian in 1972, in Aachen. Khachik Khacher-Galstanian, well-known Iranian-Armenian writer, introduced him to me. Those days Armen Hagnazarian called Shahbanu’s attention to the necessity of reconstruction of St. Thaddeus monastery. Soon the monastery was reconstructed on the interference of Iran’s Shah. Armen Haghnazarian has done a big work as architecture, founder of RAA, financing and regulating the activities in the sphere of architecture in Armenia and Diaspora. One of his last activities was attracting UNESCO and European Union special committees’ attention to the annihilation of the Armenian cemetery by Nakhijevan’s Azerbaijani authorities.

Our last meeting with him was again in Aachen, in his house. I asked him to tell us about his biography.

Armen Haghnazarian was born in Tehran, in 1941. He was a student of the Armenian Kushegh-Davitian school, his father was the inspector of all the schools of Tehran and a lecturer in the University, he was from Agulis, Goghten province (gavar), and was one of the survivors of the massacres of Agulis on December 24, 1919, when Turkish armed forces invaded Iran, Tavriz and tried to annihilate Armenians there. His father fled to Armenia with his classmate Karo Ter-Zakarian. The newly created Republic of Armenia sent Armen Haghnazarian’s father and other 18 students to study abroad, and then his father came back to Iran as a linguist, and a soldier of Garegin Njdeh. Here he began to teach and inspect in the only Armenian school. There were 29 Armenian schools in Tehran, when his father died in 1977. His father wrote his memories about Goghtn province (gavar) and the massacres of Armenians. The book was published in Beirut.

From 1961 to 1968 Armen Haghnazarian studied architecture in Germany. In 1968 he studied city building and took part in the reconstruction of St. Thaddeus monastery. In 1973 his wife and he removed to Iran. There they founded RAA, which is an officially registered company in Germany, USA and Armenia, the authorities of Iran also treat the company with respect. Iran authorities sponsor Armenian churches, but Turkey and Azerbaijan, which committed genocides, annihilate the Armenian historical monuments.

Armen Haghnazarian is already 35 years in this sphere and he does it with love. "All of these have political value. We have a long way to go, and I am happy to wake up every morning and see the sunrays"; he said at the end.

By H. Moskofian, Aachen, Germany

Erebuni - October 31, 2011 01:11 AM (GMT)
by Vitali Babenko Translated by Lemyel Amirian

user posted image

While in Armenia, at the Matenadaran, or repository of illuminated manuscripts, I stared long at the illuminated pages of some of those manuscripts within their glass cases. The pictures and titles on those pages were decorated with blues, greens, violets, and reds which never seemed to have faded. The deep reds, delicately touched with gold, virtually burned out of the pages yellowed by their age of hundreds of years, and they seemed as if they had been retouched only yesterday. "What have they used for these reds?" I asked my guide.

"Vordan karmir," was his answer.

At the museum of the Mother Church in Etchmiadzin I also came across the same reds in the miniature illuminations of several Gospels. I couldn't remove my gaze from them. "It is vordan karmir, " explained the monk accompanying me.

The laboratory of the Armenian vordan karmir, or the Araratian cochineal, is in Yerevan: two rooms, with the necessary equipment, temperature and humidity controlled by thermostats, and glass cases which contained samples of saline soils. The research assistant, Leonora Mkrtchyan, can speak for hours on vordan karmir. She begins with the phase of the development of the insects.

Towards the end of April and the beginning of May, she says, out of the eggs which have successfully wintered, there come the larvae of the Araratian cochineal, which are called "the wanderers." They fully justify that name, because they wander through the salt marshes until they come across those roots that can nourish them, which are of two kinds here: reed grass and "vordan grass" (Aeluropus littoralis). The wandering stops and the larvae go into the soil, attach themselves to the roots and begin to grow. By August, they will have grown several times their original size, like miniscule turtles, light violet in color but later on deep red.

From here on, the growth progresses in two directions simultaneously. The male and female insects differ from each other so much that one who sees them can't imagine that they can eventualty copulate. Toward the middle of August, the females, still in their condition of miniscule turtle-like insects and still feeding on the reed or "vordan" grass, come out onto the surface of the soil. So do the males, with the difference that they are much smaller and have not yet developed a full mouth. Entomologists call this the affiancing phase. The insects crawl allover the marshland, then they go back into the soil, where the males form a cocoon. In September, the males comes out of their cocoons, out of the soil, and begin flying around, with tails two or three times longer than their wingspread. In contrast, the female has not changed from her turtle-like appearance and has no wings.
Now the females are ready for fertilization. This phase lasts at most a month and a half. After being fertilized, the females reenter the soil, there to lay their eggs in cocoons formed by waxen threads, after which they die in peace.

(Here the author tells of his examination of the insect in its various stages, all preserved in solutions of formaldehyde, and his guide tells him that the insects' habitat is located only in marshy soils of 3,000 hectares, that this area is being drained and, so that the insect will still have some land for its development, the government has given 200 hectares to the institute for experimental purposes.)

This "living dye," continues the guide, was known from time immemorial. The Bible mentions this red dye derived from the red worm, used by Noah's offspring. In the third century A.D., the king of Persia presented Emperor Aurelian with a woven wool fabric dyed in red, which became a phenomenon in Rome because of the brilliance of the color, all the more remarkable because the source of that dye was a worm growing in distant Armenia.

Written records begin in the fifth century A.D., in Armenian. (ED. Note: the Armenian alphabet was invented around 401 A.D.) "It is not for nothing that reed grass grows in the Araratian Plateau," writes Lazar P'arpetzi. "That grass nourishes red worms, the dye from which greatly pleases lovers of luxurious fabrics, thereby aiding in the economy of the country." The fame of this dye comes down through the Arab occupation of Armenia (seventh to ninth century), called kirmiz by Arab travelers and historians, and its use continues for the dyeing of textiles and their export to various countries.

Unfortunately, luck turned against this dye later on. In the 16th century and thereafter, its use diminished with the appearance on the international marketplace of the Mexican cochineal. The insects brought from the New World were smaller, but they had some marked advantages. First, their color was a deeper and more brilliant red. Secondly, as many as five generations can be harvested per year in Mexico, instead of the one in Armenia; so the production of the dye is much greater. Finally, it seems that the cactus (genus Nopalea cochinellifera, or cochineal cactus) on which the insects feed has practically no fat-producing substance, a feature that interferes radically in the cultivation of the Araratian insect. The insects are harvested from the cacti, are dried, then placed into commerce. It is not difficult to get the dye from this insect at this point.

In the meantime, the Araratian cochineal was all but forgotten. Only in a few monasteries did vordan karmir retain its previous importance. That dye was being used for illuminating and decorating the manuscripts in their scriptoria. One such place was the Mother Church in Etchmiadzin, where the monk Isaac Ter-Grigorian, Sahak The Decorator, was tirelessly trying to gather the insect and rediscover the secrets of getting dye from it.

In the 19th and 20th centuries, there came the era of aniline and other dyes, and it seemed that both the Mexican and Araratian cochineal was doomed. In time the users of the new dyes toned down their enthusiasm. Cheapness was naturally attractive, but the old dyes had two irreplaceable characteristics: they could withstand light and they were harmless to human beings. So the Araratian cochineal again came to the forefront. In 1929, the Ministry of Trade of the U.S.S.R. organized the first Soviet investigation of the Araratian insect. The late war interrupted this effort. It wasn't until 1971 that the investigation on the vordan karmir resumed:from the beginning. It was then decided to research the possibilities of its production and utilization.

(The director of the laboratory enters the room where the author is.) Robert Sarkisov finally rushes in, tired and covered with dust, but with unveiled enthusiasm. And the fact that some stranger is waiting in his office to see him for some unknown reasons makes him cheerful.

"Have you ever thought," he begins at once, "of the etymology of the Slavonic work chervonniy, meaning red?"

"From the word cher', I suppose, meaning worm?"

"Exactly!" he exclaims. "The dye from our vordan karmir, meaning red worm, is the oldest such dye, and in many languages, words meaning red are connected to it. In Latin, vermiculus from vermis, meaning worm; in Greek, kokkinos meaning red is derived from kokkos which also means worm. Now note the following: Latin vermis, Armenian karmir, Sanskirt krimi, Greek kokkinos, Russian chervonniy, Spanish arbuermes; from there, through Persian into Arabic kirmez (out of which rise in many languages carmine, meaning deep red), Hebrew karmil, Turkish kurmuz, all of them from the proto-lndo-European root word krimi, meaning worm. Do you see the great knot we face? In the beginning karmir signified a dye which came from a worm. The only trouble with this is that our vordan karmir is not so red after all."

And there appeared a dozen containers on the laboratory table, each with some powder of a different hue - dark violet, lilac, blackberry, rose. Beautiful! But none of the containers had that really deep, fiery red. Suddenly, there appeared in Robert's hands a container that shook me up. The real, true apricot red, the color that flooded the illuminations in the manuscripts of Matenadaran.

Sarkisov smiled. "This is Mexican cochineal. Who knows but that one day we also may get this same color. Everything depends on the insects. The Mexican belongs to an entirely different species. Our species belongs definitely to the hues of violet and lilac."

"But the old manuscripts, those glorious colors in them, didn't they come from Araratian vordan? There is no lilac in them. Their deep red has such exceptional strength. Can it be that the old masters knew secrets which are not lost?"

"Secrets? Of course, there have been secrets." Sarkisov was thoughtfully digging through some papers. "But why have they been lost? It isn't that at all. Here, read this." He extended a printed page to me.

That was an abstract from the researches of Sahak The Decorator's efforts, dated 1830. "After keeping the insects in a solution of potassium carbonate (?) for 24 hours, clear water is run over them; then the insects are boiled in a lichen solution, add arnakhot (literally, blood grass; botanical name unknown) and alum; then they are strained and dried."

I sense something like treachery in the simplicity of this "secret." But even so, I can't restrain my surprise. "Well, what else is needed?" I ask. "It is all clear."

"What is clear, is clear," Sarkisov says. "But years are needed to solve the quantitative unknowns. How much of each part? What is the relationship of what is being boiled with the vordan? Are the flowers, or the leaves, or the roots of the plants to be used? Nothing is clear, nothing is given. It seems simple, but actually it is most complex. Our researches result in dyes in accordance with our understanding, not in the manner of our forefathers. Clear, yes; but our ancestors knew much more than we do."

And Sarkisov explains the complex process for the natural cultivation of vordan karmir: the quantitative addition of necessary items during boiling; the separation of the fat in the insect (Ah, that fat, he says, which forms from 20% to 30% of the worm!) and its removal that is so troublesome - all are mind-boggling. They throw the fat away now, he says; but the ancients used that fat for the preparation of healing ointments.

Sarkisov suddenly interrupts himself. "All these are yet not the most pressing questions," he says, while I was being drowned in the technology he was explaining. "All right, so we get the dye, and that not too bad. Now listen to what we have received from the museum in Leningrad, which has experimented with our dye. 'The dye is very close to that used in old Russian paintings. If this dye can be manufactured in appreciable quantity, without doubt it would interest many who want to restore those paintings It doesn't fade under natural light.' In short," Sarkisov goes on, "the dye is needed by restorers, and not only by them. Rug weavers, in particular, and textile people in general call for it. Also drug manufacturers and biologists and microbiologists; also soap and perfume manufacturers; also dietitians. So there is a great need for vordan karmir. It is for that need that we are struggling."

While he is telling all this, I am imagaining the thankless task of those who harvest these worms from six to seven o'clock early in September mornings,for by 10:00 the worm goes back into the soil. Some of the females have to be left behind to continue the production next season; the others have to be picked up one by one and placed in glass containers. Every hectare can produce about 40 kilograms of the worms, which eventually are reduced to one or two kilograms of the dye. There is some thought about even mechanizing the harvest to increase it.

We had been in the laboratory several hours. The workday had ended. Robert Sarkisov gathers all the containers and arranges all the papers on the table.
He concludes our discussion. "The 200 hectares of saline soil is just the beginning, and a good beginning it is. But we are already thinking of producing the natural worm by artificial methods, letting the marshland be cleared for agricultural use.

The same marshland can be created artificially. The worm needs not the marshland but the vegetation growing in it, which can be created hydroponically. Picture it: the worm can stop being endemic to the Araratian Plateau and can be produced wherever you want. And if our botanists succeed in producing enough plants, then vordan karmir may give us two harvests a year."

Before leaving I wanted to try an experiment myself. There was a piece of paper on the table with a bit of lilac dust on it. I licked one of my fingers and touched it to the dust, then I rubbed it on one of the pages of my notebook, giving it a bright hue. It has not faded to this day. Some 300 years hence, if my notebook still exists, someone will be able to determine if the 20th century vordan karmir is at all inferior to that of olden times. For example, to the fiery reds on the manuscripts in the Matenadaran.

From the Soviet Armenia Encyclopedia,
Vol. 8, 1982, pp. 642-43
Translated from the Armenian by Lemyel Armirian

(1) VORDAN KARMIR: Sub-family of insects belonging to various families of coccids, which are used for obtaining carmine dye. Most valuable are the Armenian, Mexican, and Polish insects. In the Armenian S.S.R., there are three varieties: Porphyrophora hamelii Brandt, P. monticola Borsch, and P. tritici Bod., of which only the first has been utilized, the true Araratian insect. The Armenian insect is the largest of the color-containing insects. The sexual distinctions have been well differentiated. The females are wingless, oval in shape, 4-12 mm in length and have two simple eyes; the males are 2-3 mm in length, have two wings, faceted eyes and long, fan-shaped tails. Almost the entire cycle of the development of the insect transpires within the soil, where it feeds on the roots of Aeluropus grass as well as on the roots of reeds and cane plants. In September-October, the fertilized female buries herself in the soil, 1-5 cm deep, where its egg sac takes shape and the eggs are laid. Toward the end of April to the beginning of May, the larvae emerge from the eggs and crawl up to the tender leaves of the grass for feeding; they then return to the soil and attach themselves to the roots of the grass for further feeding. During this process, the larvae become cyst-like and change their skin. From the beginning of September and for 35-40 days, both males and females emerge to the top of the soil early in the mornings (6- 11 a.m.) and the females are fertilized. The males die thereafter, while the females re-enter the soil and within a few days begin laying eggs. Eggs are also laid by unfertilized females. At all stages of growth, both males and females are red in color, but from ancient times only the females have been used for dyes. The insects are only gathered at the time when the females emerge from the soil for fertilization. According to historical sources, the insect existed in the middle regions of the Araxes River, especially in the Araratian plateau. It existed also in the salt marshes around Lake Urmia and near the city of Erzerum. In the Armenian S.S.R., the insect occurs in the regions of Hoktemberian, Etchmiadzin, Massis and Ararat; this is, in the saline marshes of those areas, ca. 4,000 hectares. Of late, the desalinization of those waters for economic and agricultural regions and the creation of lakes for fisheries have severely restricted the area for the insects and have endangered the existence of that valuable insect. To safeguard their existence, there has been created a reserve of 2,000 hectares in the Hoktemberian region where, under controlled conditions, research is being carried out for the propagation and cultivation of the insect.

(2) THE RED DYE FROM THE VORDAN KARMIR INSECT. The basic compound is carmine or its derivatives. It forms 2-5% of the live weight. This dye is noticeable for the brilliance of its color and its capacity to endure for a long time exposure to light, time, etc. It was known in very ancient times. The Assyrian king Sargon II (ca. 714 B.C.) recorded the booty of red robes when he captured the Temple of Khaldi in Mousasir. According to Greek and Roman sources, this dye received from Armenia was considered the most beautiful dye, which was used for royal and princely robes. Vordan Karmir was also used in miniature painting and as the ink for royal and Catholicossal stamps.

Preparations from Vordan Karmir were also used medicinally, as anti-inflammatory and anti-fecundity medicines and for reducing body fever. It was one of the primary exports of Armenia into the international market. Plinius Sr. (first century), Arab geographers, and others have mentioned this. Beginning in the 13th century, the production of Armenian Vordan Karmir was on the decline and was gradually removed from the international market, until the seasonal collection of the insect was gradually forgotten. At the beginning of the 19th century, a monk in the mother church of Etchmiadzin began to study the cycles of the insect and its cultivation. Later on, the Czarist government also began to study the same problem, by sending Zh. Hamel to Armenia. Hamers studies were published by the Academy of Science of St. Petersburg (Series VI, Vol. 3, part 2, pp. 9-64) and in the monthly published by the Ministry of the Interior (Zhurnal Ministerstva Vnootr.del., Ch. XVII, 1835, iyool, pp. 192-217).

During the Soviet era, B. Koozin, M. Makaryan, H. Avetyan, M. Ter Grigorian, A. Haroutunyan, K. Galfayan and A. Mooshegyan also have carried on research on Vordan Karmir. From 1971 on, the Institutes of Zoology and Organic Chemistry of the University of Yerevan have carried on research, but the secret of the production of the dye has not been found to this date (1982). Because of the growth of synthetic dye production, the cultivation of particularly Mexican dye has been severely reduced. It is used also for food and perfume and the coloration of bacteriological preparations. (There follows a list of the literature on the subject, dating from 1932 to 1975, all in Armenian.)

A grass belonging to the type that produce grains for bread. Five kinds are known, distributed in southern Europe, in Asia, and in Africa. The better-known ones are in the European parts of the U.S.S.R., in southern Siberia, Central Asia, and Transcaucasia, growing in saline soils (A. littoralis). Unti1 1940-50, it was the dominant plant in the Araratian plateau, but because of the amelioration of the saline waters and the expansion of agriculture, it exists now only in the Hoktemberian, Etchmiadzin, Massis, Ararat and Artashat regions. The grass in the Araratian plateau grows from 20-60 cm. in length, spread on the ground and with branches rising vertically. Its leaves are narrow and lineal, and flower buds number 4-5. Its roots dig as far as 2 m into the soil for underground water. It propagates both vegetatively and by seed. It grows at the end of April to beginning of May and forms seeds in June. It can grow in the most saline waters. The most important of its uses is furnishing food to the endemic dye-producing Vordan Karmir that is native to Armenia.

Erebuni - October 31, 2011 01:11 AM (GMT)

In the native land of the Armenian nation, i.e. Armenian Plateau, the first seeds of the scientific knowledge were formed at the dawn of the human society. Technical know-how was developed and passed from one generation to another, and the overall knowledge in natural sciences was gained through observation and experience. The first evidence of such know-how are the petroglyphs (Aragats, Geghama Mountains) reflecting the basic ideas of the primordial society in the 7th-2nd millennia B.C. on flora, fauna, celestial bodies, etc. The archeological excavations attest the development of agronomy and livestock production, crafts, construction (cyclopean structures, fortress construction, etc) in the Armenian Plateau. Cult buildings used for worshipping also show the level of astronomic knowledge. The Armenian Plateau was one of ancient metal-working centers. In the ancient centers of Urartu (Karmir Blur, Arin Berd, Armavir) metal tools, including weapons and articles of everyday use, were unearthed. On the basis of developed metal-working, crafts have emerged, alongside with improvements in the military and constriction technology, and agronomy. The further enrichment of knowledge was determined by the strengthening of the centralized state, development of cities, revival of trade and expansion of international relations.

An unprecedented flourishing of arts and sciences began with the invention of Armenian alphabet (by Mesrop Mashtots), which, being a major invention, had a significant impact on the spiritual life and played a radical role in the destiny of the Armenian nation, promoting the creation of independent and rich literature of original and translated works, historiography (Koriun, Agatangeghos, Pavstos Biuzand, Yeghishe, Ghazar Parpetsi, Movses Khorenatsi and others). By the joint efforts of M. Mashtots and Sahak Partev numerous schools were established, the graduates of which continued their studies in Alexandria, Athens, etc. The Movement of Translators which started in the 5th century became a vital source for the further development of science and served as a basis for the spiritual contacts with other nations. A higher level of development was achieved, particularly, in Christian theology (apologia, patrimony), along with secular philosophy, as a comprehensive system of knowledge, within the scope of which the conception of society and nature was developed and enhanced. Following the classification of knowledge in the ancient world, David Anhakht (the Invincible) in the 5th-6th cc., categorized grammar, rhetoric and logic in the preparatory stage of sciences, where the latter is the component and instrument of Philosophy. The theoretical parts of philosophy were the natural science, mathematics and theology, and the practical part, ethics, economics and politics. This classification of sciences in Medieval Armenia became the basis for teaching and development of sciences. Yeznik Koghbatsi restored the Greek philosophy traditions. Anania Shirakatsi (7th century), the founder of the Medieval Armenian philosophic natural sciences continued the ancient science traditions. He scientifically explained the solar and lunar eclipses, tides, and believed that the Earth is round. He wrote the first book on arithmetic. "Ashkharhatsoyts" is a book which contains valuable information on Armenia and many other countries.

A dramatic in the development of science took place in the 9th-13th cc., during the so-called Armenian Renaissance, determined by the recovery of political independence, the revival of economic life in the country (development of cities, trade expansion), and establishment of secular ideology. In this era, along with the development of all the branches, the natural sciences also developed, contributing to the pantheist and liberal ideas, revelation of ancient Naturphilosopie doctrines, the continuation of A. Shirakatsi's natural science traditions and establishment of trends explaining the nature by itself. Grigor Magistros Pahlavuni (11th c) translated Euclides' "Principles". Hovannes Sarkavag Imastaser (11th-12th cc.) created a number of works devoted to mathematics and astronomy; he also insisted on the necessity of experimental research. A high level of development was achieved in the medical science and biology (Mkhitar Heratsi, Amirdovlat Amasiatsi), as well as, alchemy, based on the natural scientific knowledge of the time. Mkhitar Gosh and Smbat Sparapet (Gundstable) proposed a number of progressive principles in their codes of law. The universities of Gladzor, Tatev, Ani, Sanahin and Haghpat became scientific centers, where, in addition to theology, all the knowledge of the time was enhanced.

Unfavorable external and internal conditions (loss of statehood, decline of producing forces, mass out-flow) were a major impediment to the further development of science in Armenia. In the 17th century the interrupted traditions started to recover gradually. The scientific development was promoted especially by the expansion of publishing processes and the penetration of progressive European ideas. The works of European thinkers were translated and published, new works were created. In the 18th c., the Enlightenment and wide scientific activity was expanded by the Mkhitarian congregation, which greatly contributed to the development and expansion of scientific knowledge, laying the foundations for the Armenian scientific research. For Armenian science, the unification of Eastern Armenia with Russia became highly favorable. Possibilities were created to get access to the progressive Russian scientific ideas, to study at St.Petersburg, Moscow, Kazan and other advanced educational institutions. The Lazarian academy in Moscow became a major center for oriental and Armenian studies.

The specific features of historical development in Armenian nation (the emergence of eastern and western parts, Diaspora, etc.) also left their imprint on the further process of the scientific research. Western Armenia had an orientation towards West-European civilization, while Eastern Armenia was more inclined to the progressive Russian civilization. In many Armenian communities (Constantinople, India, Nor Jugha, Tbilisi, Moscow, Nor Nakhichevan, etc.) favorable conditions were created for the development of Armenian spiritual life: publishing houses and schools were established, newspapers and magazines were published. In the last decades of 19th c. social sciences started to develop.

In the early 20th c., the natural process of the scientific development, especially, in Western Armenia was disrupted, where progressive Armenian intellectuals were the first to fall the victims of the tyrannical Turkish policy of extermination of Armenians. The gaining of statehood created favorable conditions required for the development of science as a system of knowledge on the development regularities in nature, society and thought. Immediately after the establishment of the Armenian Soviet Socialist Republic greater attention was paid to the development of science. The Yerevan State University (est. 1919) becomes the main center for the training of the scientists and research. New scientific centers continued to gradually grow on these premises, with the establishment of new educational institutions, research institutes and laboratories. In 1935 the Armenian branch of the USSR Academy of Sciences (Armfan) was opened, based on which, the Armenian Academy of Sciences of the Armenian Soviet Socialist Republic (ArmSSR) was established in 1943. This was a turning point in the development of science. A greater development rate took place in the theoretical, fundamental, as well as applied research, the results of which were applied to the national economy. Social science research and Armenian studies developed and expanded. The training of scientists was raised to a higher level. The scientific and technical potential of the ArmSSR emerged and developed as an organic component of socio-economic restructuring processes. The cultural revolution, the financial and material resources allocated for the development of science and technology created possibilities for the research to be carried out in different spheres of science and technology. Scientific centers were established not only in the urban areas, but also in the industrial and rural regions. A system of branched and interrelated scientific institutions was created, in conformity with the development needs of the republic.

The international scientific ties have expanded. The Armenian scientists participate in various international conferences. There are also conferences held in the republic, which highly contribute to the scientific progress.

Erebuni - October 31, 2011 01:11 AM (GMT)
Armenian Scientists Provide Hope for Less Expensive X-Rays

Armenian physicists with backgrounds in laser weapons are working to develop a new, less expensive resource for x-rays used in industrial, medical and materials science applications. Furthering a study begun by Armenian scientistsin the 1960's, a new generation of researchers has discovered that Resonance Transition Radiation (RTR) produced by Yerevan Synchrotron in Armenia could provide cheaper x-ray beams. Studies have shown that RTR can easily provide cheaper x-ray beams than those expected from other mechanisms of x-ray radiation production.

The project team plans to complete a short review of RTR physics as well as results obtained in various laboratories. Their goal is to then describe the system that will lead to the production of these less-expensive laser beams. The team has published an article on their work in the proceedings of a NATO workshop held in Armenia

First Solar-Powered Water Pumping System for Armenia

This past March, CRDF travel grantee Dr. Gagik Ayvazyan, Director, Transistor Plus Co. (Yerevan, Armenia) participated in the CRDF-SPG-NATO International Conference on Renewable Energy Technologies in Denver, CO. Energy industry professionals were presented with the latest renewable energy technology from Eurasia. Scientists presented market-ready wind, biomass, hydrogen and solar technology. Attendees were also given background on U.S.-Eurasian research and development partnerships and had the opportunity to meet with the scientists one-on-one to discuss future collaboration.

As a result of the conference, an agreement was reached between specialists from the Transistor Plus Co. and Ammonia Inc. (Torrance, CA) to design and install the Caucasus region's first 4.0 kip solar tracking demonstration systems for water pumping. The project objective is to evaluate technical, economic, environmental, and commercial feasibility of creation and application of renewable energy resources in Armenia as well as in the region as a whole.

The Armenian team will continue to collaborate with its U.S. partner to build upon their CRDF Next Steps to Market grant.

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Erebuni - October 31, 2011 01:12 AM (GMT)

Rapid growth of microelectronics in Armenia started in the middle of 1950s as a consequence of USSR leadership decisions on the development of precision machine building and device building in SSRA. In 1954-55 Armenian scientists (T. Ter-Michaelyan and others) participated in the development of one of the first USSR electronic computers, M-3, under the supervision of A. Iosifyan and I. Bruk in Moscow, the advanced version of which under the name of “Gohar” was later used in the National Academy of Sciences in SSRA. In those years at the Yerevan State University’s Electronics Department, scientific-research work in the field of electronics, in particular, semiconductor electronics was carried out (under the supervision of H. Anzhur, and later H. Atoyan). Simultaneously, at the SSRA NAS Physics Institute, electronic devices for recording and studying cosmic rays were developed (M. Ayvazyan and others). In future Soviet years Armenia turned into a leading center for the design and production of microelectronic devices as well as the development of equipment in the area of computer engineering, control systems and telecommunications, based on these earlier devices. After the collapse of USSR, a number of well-known foreign companies established their branches in Armenia taking advantage of the traditions as well as the specialist potential in the field of microelectronics in the country. As a result, Armenia’s microelectronics industry has been revived. Thus, the history of Armenia’s microelectronics development can be divided into two periods – Soviet and post-Soviet.

Notable years in the development of the Armenian microelectronics industry during Soviet times:

1956 - The Yerevan Computer Research and Development Institute (YCRDI) was founded on the initiative of academicians V. Hambardzumyan, A. Iosifyan and S. Mergelyan. In Soviet times the main focus of their activities was the development and introduction of computers, complexes as well as common and special-purpose automated control systems in the national economy. During its long-term activities, the Institute has developed and implemented four generations of computers, complexes and automated control systems. In 1992 the Institute had a staff of approximately 3500 engineers and more than 7000 employees together with the experimental factory and the factory for integrated circuits.

1957 - On the initiative of NAS and with the support of the Government of Armenia the Computer Center of the Academy of Sciences and Yerevan State University (currently the Institute of Informatics and Automation Problems at the National Academy of Sciences) was founded.

1958 - On the initiative of Academician A. G. Iosifyan, the Cermet and Semiconductors Factory was established in Yerevan, later renamed in 1960 the Special Engineering -Technological Bureau of Semiconductor Technology (Bureau ST). In 1960-1961 this enterprise was one of the first in the USSR to produce semiconductor amplifier diodes, transistors and thyristors. The company was later renamed “Transistor”.

1960 - Under the supervision of E. Mirzabekyan research activities in the development of supersensitive amplifiers and quantum semiconductor electronics issues were implemented.

1964 - Using the potential of the “Transistor” Enterprise, “Sirius” Plant, producing radioelements, particularly varistors was established in the city of Abovyan.

1965 - A microelectronics plant producing diodes and hybrid integrated circuits was established in Abovyan (“Posistor”)

1966 - On the initiative of the USSR military-industrial complex, the Institute of Microelectronics Scientific-Research and Technology was established in Yerevan. Since 1981, it has been incorporated into the “Ani” Scientific Production Association with the “Garni”, “Araks” and “Lalvar” Plants). The Abovyan Microelectronics Plant joined the association at a later date. SPA was engaged in the development of microelectronic circuits and was a leader in the areas of developing automated measurement devices as well as floppy disks, drivers and laser marking of microcircuits in USSR.

1973-74 - Electronic devices for “Orion-1” and “Orion-2” stations, envisaged for extra-atmospheric research in the near-earth orbit were developed (G.. Gurzadyan and others).

1975 - Self-developed pilot plant for mass production of power semiconductor devices was established.

1978 - The Yerevan Telecommunications Research Institute was founded as a branch of the Moscow Scientific Research Institute of Radio Communication. The technological base of the Yerevan institute enabled the production of high-quality equipment by thin-film technology (with an accuracy of 1 micron), as well as the implementation of mechanical and galvanic processing. Hybrid ICs were made to order.

1980 - The “Transistor” enterprise’s scientific-research laboratory, furnished with modern equipment and super-clean rooms, was established for the development of new types of electronic components.

1983 - With the participation of the employees of the Byurakan observatory, the “Astron” astrophysical satellite was constructed and launched in 1983, Under the supervision of Yu. Khojoyan, the group of innovators were awarded the USSR state prize, while the younger specialist received the All-Union Youth Lenin prize (1984).

1983 - A group of participants from the Microelectronics Scientific-Research Technological Institute were also awarded with the All-Union Youth prize (headed by L. Abrahamyan) for the development and introduction of the “Gamma” family of controlling-measuring devices.

1984 - According to USSR government decree, construction of the Ashtarak Power Semiconductor Devices Plant (Ashtarak Plant), with USD 120 million total investment was started. Planned annual production capacity -10 million semiconductor devices.

1984 - The electronics industry in the Soviet Socialistic Republic of Armenia developed in the direction of processing quantum generators (M. Ter-Michaelyan and others), photoreceivers and photoconverters (V. Harutyunyan and others), integrated circuits and microsets (S. Mkrtchyan and others).

1988 - Transistor Co. was established, amalgamating Transistor SPE, Ashtarak Plant and Transistor-Kermet branch enterprise (the former technological subdivision of Yerevan Computer Research and Development Institute ).

1970-1990 - – A number of other enterprises developing and producing electronic and microelectronic devices for the USSR military-industrial complex operated in Armenia - “AGAT” SPA, “BAZALT” factory, “HAYAVIAHAMALIR” SPA, “HRAZDANMASH” SPA, etc.
The main enterprises engaged in the sphere of microelectronics in Armenia in Soviet times were: YCRDI, “Transistor”, Microelectronics scientific-research Institute and the Yerevan Telecommunication Research Institute. The activities of these enterprises are outlined below.

Yerevan Computer Research and Development Institute

YCRDI was founded by the USSR government and its initial task was the development of computer equipment. Through all stages of computer science development, the Institute became a major center for the development of computers and automated control systems for civil and defense purposes. The Institute acted as a coordinating center for the Republic and its success and development had a crucial effect on the development of other adjacent branches of science and technology. At the beginning of 1960s the main areas of Institute activities were determined. At first, these focused on small and medium performance computers and by the end of 1960s – special purpose computers and automated control systemsThe foundation and success of YCRDI is undoubtedly due to the names of NAS RA academicians V. Hambardzumyan, A. Iosifyan, S. Mergelyan and F. Sargisyan as well as the constant attention of Armenian leaders and by the National Academy of Sciences. The profile of the Institute led to the creation of all structures necessary for the development of computer equipment starting from technical specifications and ending with their introduction and operation,. Departments for construction, computer aided design, software development and testing, laboratory for testing computer parts and units in different ambient conditions and documentation were also established.

For producing pilot samples of computers and computer equipment, an experimental factory was founded at YCRDI. The factory ensured the thorough testing of pilot samples before sending them for mass production and modified documents and technical solutions.

During its development activities the Institute closely collaborated with the Research and Development Center for Computer Techniques (NICEVT, Moscow), the Institute for Precise Mechanics and Computer technologies (ITM&VT, Moscow), the Automated Equipment R&D Institute (Moscow), R&D Institute for Computers (Moscow) and others. YCRDI designed computers were produced at Kazan Computer factory (Russian Federation), Vinnitsa Radio Technical Factory (Ukraine), Yerevan “Electron” factory (Armenia) and elsewhere.

Due to close cooperation with leading scientific research institutions and Soviet Union factories, it was possible to acquire significant experience in the development, introduction and and operation of four generations of computers, complexes and automated control systems.

One of the first projects developed by YCRDI was the first generation mainframe, ARAGATS, with electron tubes, diode-transformation gates and ferrite memory devices (1958-1960, Head of the project – B. Haikin).

Between 1958 and 1961 a second generation computer, HRAZDAN, was developed, the first to be used in the USSR, and was constructed on the basis of semiconductor devices, (Head of the project – E. Brusilovsky). In 1962 the development of the first complex of high-speed logic gates “Magni”, the first to be used in the USSR, was completed (V. Karapetyan and others). In 1964 HRAZDAN-3 was developed (V. Rousanevitch and others) using high-speed logical elements.

In the 1960s, in addition to universal electronic computers, a range of specialized machines were created at YCRDI – “Statistika” (V. Rusanevich and others), “Dvin” (R. Harutyunyan and others), “Araks” (G. Belkin and others) and “Marshrut” (A. Kuchukyan and others). In 1974, the developers of the “Marshrut-3” calculating complex were awarded with the USSR state prize.

YCRDI was the first institution in the USSR to develop the small microprogram control NAIRI 1,2,3,3-1 series of computers (1963-1971, Head of the projects – H. Hovsepyan, USSR State prize – 1971). Between 1972 and 1976 NAIRI 3-2 and NAIRI 3-3 computers were developed (Chief Designer – H. Geoletsyan, Ukraine State prize). These were the collective use and problem-oriented computers in the USSR. The computers NAIRI 4 ARM, NAIRI 4 and NAIRI 41 which were designed for automatic control and were planned for serial/mass production (1974-1981, Head of the Projects G. Ohanyan) ensured the processing of any graphical and text information and compatibility with such popular computer families as SM EVM (USSR) and PDP (USA). Between 1980 and 1981 development of NAIRI 4B and NAIRI 4B/C was completed (Heads of the projects V. Karapetyan and H. Sarkisyan, USSR State prize, 1987). They were designed for utilization in automatic control systems such as communications and back-end computers.

Between 1964 and 1990 the range of NAIRI computers were produced at the YCRDI experimental factory, the Armenian "Electron" factory and Kazan computer factories (Russian Federation), held 44 patents and were shown at 19 international exhibitions.

In 1967-1968. the BRS system, which processed telecommunication information, and ensured a flight to the moon, was upgraded and put into production (Head of the project – A. Kuchukyan).

Between 1967 and 1973 the fault-tolerant computer system, MARSHRUT-1, with three interchangeable special purpose computers, was developed and introduced by YCRDI for the first time in the USSR, to provide the automated sale of tickets at Moscow’s railway (Head of the project – A. Kuchukyan, Armenia State prize 1974).

Meanwhile, YCRDI commenced the development of medium performance mainframes for the Unified Range of Computers (ЕС-ЭВМ). They were compatible with IBM 360, 370 and 4300 families and were produced in bulk quantities at the "Electron" (Armenia) and Kazan (Russian federation) factories.

Within the scope of these activities YCRDI designed the EC-1030 (Heads of the project - M. Semerjyan, A. Kuchukyan, Armenia State prize 1976); the EC-1045 and EC-1046 mainframes (Head of the projects – A. Kuchukyan, USSR State prize 1983, collectively, Armenia State prizes in 1983 and 1988). A. Kuchukyan was one scientist to be awarded the Lenin prize.

YCRDI simultaneously developed complexes and systems. Based on the EC-1030 mainframe, the first duplex BK-1010 system was developed (1975, Head of the project V. Rusanevich). Similarly, based on the EC-1045 and EC-1046 mainframes, duplex (BK-2M-45, BK-2M-46), dual (BK-2Ï-45, BK-2Ï-46) and triple modular BK-3M-45, MBK-46 fault-tolerant systems were developed (1975-1981, Head of the projects – A. Kuchukyan).

To increase the productivity of mainframes on special tasks, the institute was the first in the USSR to develop an array processor (1980, Head of the project – A. Kuchukyan).

A thin-film memory unit technology was developed and implemented for YCRDI to develop memory units for computers. (Heads of the project – L. Grigoryan, A. Edigaryan, Armenia State prize 1974).

In the 1960s, at YCRDI as well as at other electronic industry and computer design institutions, , valuable research was carried out in the areas of developing the theory of power transistors (G. Avagyants and others), universal supply sources (Zh. Mkrtchyan and others), threshold logical elements (S. Mkrtchyan and others) and film integrated circuits (K. Yeghyan and others).

“Transistor” Scientific Production Association (SPA)

Transistor Scientific Production Association, during the years of its operation, was one of the USSR’s leading companies in the field of scientific-technical developments and the manufacture of power semiconductor devices, electrotechnical units and components.

Between 1960 and 1970, high-voltage float germanium and silicon diodes and thyristor valves (up to 100A and 2000 V) were developed.

In 1973 diffusion-epitaxial technology for the creation of a unified set of power semiconductor transistors was developed. In 1983, a bipolar 40A and 1000V transistor, meant for application in machine tool electric drives with NC control systems, won first prize in the All-Union Competition.

In 1982 technologies for the production of powerful high-voltage diodes, with no more than 0.5 microsecond reverse recovery time, were developed as well as for manufacturing silicon diffusion polished structures.

In 1985 unique planar mesa-technology for manufacturing a wide range of electronic components, using gallium diffusion, glass-passivation, defect detection and selective radiation was applied in serial production.

In 1980-1993, a set of semiconductor modules was developed, including powerful (about 500A and 1000V) transistors.

In 1988 jointly with specialists from the Angstrem plant (Russia, Zelinograd), technology for high-voltage MOSFET and IGBT transistors was developed.

In the 1980s, a set of devices for diagnostic, testing and control over power semiconductor devices, were developed, manufactured and used internally.

The Yerevan Telecommunication Research Institute

The Yerevan Telecommunication Research Institute was founded in 1978 as a branch of the Moscow Scientific Research Institute of Radio Communication.The institute is specialized in creating the microelectronical means for space communication.Since 1989 it has been involved in the development and manufacturing of units and systems of communication, radioelectronical equipment and software. The institute uses thin-film technology, which provides an accuracy of 1 micron, precise mechanical processing and galvanotechnics.
The capacity of measuring devices and systems is up to 40 GHz.

Notable years in the development of the Armenian microelectronics industry during Post Soviet times:

1999 – Virage Logic’s Yerevan office was established. Founded in 1996 in Fremont, California, Virage Logic Corporation rapidly established itself as a technology and market leader in providing advanced embedded memory intellectual property (IP) for the design of complex integrated circuits. At present, the company designs embedded memories.
Virage Logic focuses on providing its customers with a choice of leading-edge technology solutions to help meet their manufacturing requirements across a wide-range of technological processes. The activity of Virage Logic’s Yerevan office focuses on designing Embedded Test and Repair devices.

2000 - After Armenia gained independence and departments dealing with automatic control systems formed a separate scientific research institute (YerACSSRI), YCRDI started to direct its scientific-technical potential to solve the country’s problems There are many highly qualified specialists in computer systems, software and electronics in the Institute today.
In recent years the institute has developed a number of important systems such as the special purpose PAREK-VS (1994-2000), Information-Analytical INIA (1997-2006) and the URARTU system (1995-2002) for the control, calculation and checking of electricity consumption. It has upgraded radioelectronic equipment and developed cryptography equipment and systems. .
Under the leadership of A. Kuchukyan and with assistance from USAID, TACIS, WB and other international organizations, a number of information and control systems of great importance have been developed which have a hierarchical structure and are based on off-the-shelf personal computers with modern application software.
The main directions of YCRDI activities are now: the development and introduction of multi-purpose information and automated control systems, automation of control subsystems of special complexes, development and implementation of analytical information-control systems, design and delivery of automation means of stationary and mobile systems, design and delivery of special equipment, and upgrade and maintenance of special purpose radioelectronic equipment.

2000 - As a result of privatization, Viasphere Technopark CJSC (based on Transistor SPE), as well as Transistor-Kermet Co. Ltd and Sin-Crystal (based on the Ashtarak Plant) were established.
The activity of Technopark is focused on supporting its own scientific research departments, as well as the upgrading of hi-tech tenant-firms.
Technopark houses more than 20 hi-tech tenant-companies and more than 600 specialists. Priority directions for Technopark include: information technologies, microelectronics, chip design, and electronics, etc.
The main scientific-technical developments and products of “Viasphere Technopark” CJSC are: Solar cells and photovoltaic power supply systems using these cells, DC-AC hybrid inverters, superhigh frequency transistor power amplifiers and devices for the density measurement of porous materials.

2000 – A number of leading American companies in integrated circuit (IC) design opened their branches in Armenia. Mainy young specialists were included, who very quickly obtained the necessary professional knowledge and skills in the field of EDA to contribute to the success of those companies. Among such companies were LEDA SYSTEMS, VIRAGE LOGIC, EPIGY LABS, HPL, MONTEREY ARSET, etc. In particular, the accomplishments of LEDA SYSTEMS later contributed to the establishment of a world leader, SYNOPSYS, in Armenia.

2000 - LEDA SYSTEMS, Inc. founded in Plano, Texas, USA in 1995 (President –Vahram Muradyan) established its Armenian branch in Yerevan (General Director Hovik Musayelyan). In 2004 it included 83 highly qualifid specialists in the area of IC design and its separate components. A major part of the company relocated to Armenia, and in 2003, after being renamed LEDA DESIGN, the basic operations were executed in Armenia. The main focus of company activities were: the development of digital standard cells and I/O libraries, digital, analog and analog-digital, IP as well as the complete IC. The unique nature of implemented activities and high quality attracted world famous organizations. Among the list of customers are Microsoft, Trident, Zailog, Zemix, and Intel. The policy of company management to focus on personnel training contributed to this success. On the initiative of the company and with the support of the management of the State Engineering University of Armenia (rector Yu. Sargsyan), a new educational model has started to operate. In 2001, on the basis of a cooperation agreement between LEDA SYSTEMS and SEUA “Microelectronic Circuits and Systems”, an interdepartmental Chair of the University was established (headed by V. Melikyan), based at the company premises and forming an educational resource for the company. This was the first example of a “University to Enterprise” educational model in Armenia. It favored universal attention and high appraisal as the Interdepartmental Chair (the Educational Department of LEDA DESIGN) proved the capacity to execute its main task in the direction of training high-quality human resources for the company’s needs. The success of the educational model also gained the attention of RA Government; in 2002 RA President, R. Kocharyan, paid a visit to the Educational Department of LEDA DESIGN.

2000 – Epygi Technologies, headquartered in Dallas, Texas opened its office in Armenia. The company designs and manufactures all-in-one IP PBXs. It has offices in the United States, Canada, Spain, France, Italy, Germany, the United Kingdom and Japan. The company has over 200 employees.

2004 – During October and November Synopsys Inc., a world leader in EDA software for semiconductor design founded a large engineering design organization in Yerevan by hiring 45 employees of MONTEREY ARSET and 83 former employees of LEDA DESIGN. The company started the development of software and intellectual property for customers under the name SYNOPSYS ARMENIA. In 2005, SYNOPSYS acquired HPL Technologies, Inc., a leader in yield management software and test chip solutions. The current number of SYNOPSYS ARMENIA employees is over 350. SYNOPSYS ARMENIA consists of 2 groups – Solutions Group (SG) and Silicon Engineering Group (SEG). It is noteworthy that since the formation of SYNOPSYS ARMENIA the number of employees has increased rapidly , becoming the largest branch of the company outside of the United States. This provides some indication of SYNOPSYS intentions in the direction of Armenian microelectronics development. The data below highlights the importance of the establishment of SYNOPSYS in Armenia. (see link for pictures)

Erebuni - October 31, 2011 01:12 AM (GMT)
Vol. 18, No. 3, Page 16
March 2007


Optics in Armenia

Konstantin Vodopyanov

The Republic of Armenia is a landlocked mountainous country in the Southern Caucasus, between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea. It shares borders with Turkey, Georgia, Azerbaijan and Iran. Despite a population of only 3 million people and a tenuous economy, scientists in this former Soviet republic are conducting world-class optical research on a broad scale.

In October 2006, I made a trip to Armenia supported by the OSA Fellow Travel Grant Program, which is intended to encourage optical scientists to visit developing nations, promote global interaction and increase awareness of optics and photonics activities worldwide. The travel grantees accomplish this through lectures, seminars—and simply by meeting people and talking to them.

It was hard for me to accept the label of “developing nation” with regard to Armenia. After all, it is one of the oldest civilizations in the world and one with a rich cultural and scientific heritage. For example, Armenia was the first nation to adopt Christianity as its official religion in 301 A.D.

Scientific traditions in Armenia can trace their roots back more than 1,000 years. Anania Shirakatsi—the so-called Newton of early Armenia— was a 7th century scholar, mathematician and geographer, known for his works Geography Guide and Cosmography. His greatest claim to fame was his recognition that the Earth was round at a time when the prevailing view was otherwise.

In more recent times, Viktor Ambartsumian (1908-1996), another Armenian scholar, became a pioneer of theoretical astrophysics and discoverer of stellar associations. He started his career in the 1920s in Pulkovo observatory near Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) and later became the founder of Byurakan Astrophysical Observatory, which I briefly visited. (The observatory, which is located on the slopes of Mt. Aragats near Yerevan, the capital of Armenia, now houses a 2.64-m telescope.)

Ambartsumian argued that the processes involved in the origins of galaxies were connected with explosions in which the matter of new stellar systems arose from prestellar material in regions with unusual topological properties (i.e., non-Euclidean geometry). Some scholars have argued that Ambartsumian’s theory inspired John A. Wheeler to point to the possibility of “worm holes” in space-time.

As part of my program, I gave a seminar on new methods for generating terahertz (THz) waves using optical pulses to the radiophysics faculty of Yerevan State University. My host Yuri Avetisyan is a world expert in the field of microwaves and terahertz-wave generation and co-author of several original works on surface-emitting THz devices using ferroelectric crystals with periodically reverted orientation.

As an optical physicist, I found it very stimulating to talk to specialists in radiophysics, who had a slightly different perspective on THz phenomena. Among the interesting projects I learned about were Anahit Nikoghosyan’s experiments with THz waveguides, which are partially filled with a nonlinear optical medium to allow an efficient exchange of energy between optical and THz fields when their propagation velocities are matched. The department is engaged in collaborations with Japan, Germany and the United Kingdom.

Another institution I visited was the Institute for Physical Research (IPR) at the National Academy of Sciences of Armenia. It was built in 1967 on an abandoned stony lot about 30 km from Yerevan, near the small town of Ashtarak. The founder of the Institute was M.L. Ter-Mikaelyan (1923-2004), a prominent theoretical physicist who also contributed much to the development of solid-state lasers, nonlinear and quantum optics.

Indeed, his team’s work on ruby lasers resulted in the fabrication of the first commercial laser (“optical quantumgenerator”) in the former U.S.S.R. in 1965. The laser was nicknamed “Arzni” because it was manufactured at the factory for precise technical stones in the Armenian town by that name.

In collaboration with A.L. Mikaelyan and Yu.S. Turkov, M.L. Ter-Mikaelyan wrote the 1967 monograph Solid-State Optical Generators, which enjoyed great popularity in the U.S.S.R. as a textbook on solid-state lasers. (I used it for my own studies when I was a student.)

Through his work, Ter-Mikaelyan laid the foundation to make IPR one of the leading research institutions in Armenia. The Institute’s research topics include laser physics, laser spectroscopy, nonlinear and quantum optics, interaction of radiation with matter, crystal growth and characterization, solid state physics, high-temperature superconductivity and scientific instrumentation.

Many of the research groups from IPR have collaborated with European and U.S. research organizations and foundations. At the time of my visit, IPR hosted an International Conference “Laser Physics 2006” with roughly 80 participants—one-third of which were from other countries. During my talk, I looked out the window of my conference room to see a magnificent view of the snowy twin caps of biblical Mount Ararat. At the Conference, I was fortunate enough to meet with the members of the newly created (2004) Armenian Student Chapter of the OSA.

Next, I visited the Institute of Radio Physics & Electronics, which was only a five-minute walk from IPR. I had a very useful discussion on microwave and THz generators and detectors with Arsen Hakhoumian, who recently became director of the Institute. The Institute of Radio Physics & Electronics develops and manufactures low-noise microwave and millimeter-wave receivers for remote sensing, radar, communication and earthquake forecasting purposes. Researchers there also do work in solid-state and plasma physics. In addition, the facility has several telescopes for radio astronomy and is involved in a number of international programs.

Armenia is a remarkable country with a rich past and bright future. After recovering from severe economic hardships in the 1990s, the country is poised to renew its world-class scientific standards and restore its intellectual glory.

[ Konstantin Vodopyanov is an OSA Fellow. He works at the Ginzton Lab at Stanford University in Stanford, Calif. ]


Optics in Armenia

I enjoyed the recent article about optics in Armenia (March 2007) by Konstantin Vodopyanov. But I would like to point out that Armenia’s scientific traditions go back even further than the 1,000 years mentioned in the article.

According to Paris Herouni, an Armenian radio astronomer, there is an ancient stone observatory, called Karahunj, which is about 30 km from the town of Goris in Armenia. Herouni states that Karahunj is 7,500 years old, and consists of 80 telescope tools, which are still functional today.

Herouni has written a book titled Armenians and Old Armenia, published in 2004, in which he discusses the Karahunj observatory.

Peter Goorjian

Women in Physics in Armenia

The development and traditions of physics in Armenia are connected with the name of A.A.Alikhanian, famous Soviet physicist and one of the founders of experimental nuclear physics in USSR. In 1942, Alikhanian began his well known cosmic ray research in Armenia. The high altitude cosmic ray laboratory, founded in 1942 and still in operation on the Mount Aragats near Yerevan, as well as Yerevan Physics Institute were headed by him for more than 30 years. By Alikhanian's initiative and under his leadership in the fifties the construction one of the greatest in the world electron accelerator started in Yerevan. Beginning with 1962 Alikhanian was organizer and leader of International Schools of Physics in Armenia, which played great role in development of elementary particle physics both in Armenia and in Soviet Union.

Many women started their life in physics under leadership and with assistance of Alikhanian.

Tina L. Asatiani began to work under leadership of Alikhanian in 1942 at Cosmic Ray Investigation Aragats Station. Now she is a distinguished scientist and public figure well known both in Armenia and internationally. Professor Emeritus of the Yerevan State University and member of the National Academy of Sciences of Armenia, Tina L. Asatiani has been awarded the title of honorable scientist of Armenia. With her scientific activities of broad horizon, with more than two hundred publications in international journals of considerable impact in particle and cosmic ray physics, Tina L. Asatiani is holder of many honorable awards and prizes and has distinctly influenced the development of the field, in Armenia, in particular.

Tina L. Asatiani was happily married, has two daughters, four grandchildren and grand-granddaughter.

In the pictures Tina L. Asatiani with her husband physicist A.T.Dadayan and A.A.Alikhanian on the Mount Aragats in 1943, with President of Georgian Academy of Sciences N.N.Muskhelishvili on the Mount Aragats in 1945 and with Prof. G.Songen (DESY) and his wife in 1998.

More than 40 years Aida B. Akopova is the Head of the Yerevan Physics Institute's Laboratory on treating of nuclear emulsion, which was founded by Alikhanian's initiative. Last 25 years this Laboratory carry out experiments on investigation of radiation conditions inside and outside of airplanes, as well as of Soviet cosmic apparatuses and American "Space-Shuttle". The unique information is obtained on the influence of radiation on astronauts and crew and passengers of airplanes. The results of these investigations are summarized in more than 20 publications in international journals and presented in numerous international conferences.

Aida B. Akopova is happily married, has daughter and son and three grandchildren.

In the picture Aida B. Akopova is on her 60th anniversary in her office.

Zemphira A. Kirakosyan was working in Yerevan Physics Institute since 1952. Beginning with 1974 till 1998 when she died of cancer she was Head of Laboratory on investigation of film information. The Laboratory has broad relations with World Physics Centers, in particular, with JINR (Dubna, Russia) and CERN (Switzerland).

laboratory In the picture Zemphira A. Kirakosyan (second from right) on the weekend with her at ancient church Odzun on Armenian mountains in 1984.

On the example of these three women we would like to show that in traditions of physics in Armenia there is no discrimination of women-physicists.

Now in Armenia there are five scientific research institutes and the Yerevan State University's physics facility, where researches are carried out in almost every field of physics. A large number of women physicists are involved in the work at these institutions, among them two members of National Academy of Sciences, six doctors of science and 43 doctors of philosophy. (In 1996, the population of Armenia was 3.8 million.)

The women physicists of Armenia pursue theoretical and experimental research in the following fields:

High-energy and elementary particle physics

Cosmic-ray physics

Nuclear physics




Nonlinear optics

Laser physics


Physics of crystals

At present the flow of young women into physics remains steady; however, they, as well as the young men and older physicists, are experiencing difficult times because of the dissolution of the Soviet Union, which has created a general worsening of the situation in the former Soviet republics and meager funding.

Erebuni - October 31, 2011 01:13 AM (GMT)
Sos Isaakovich Alikhanian

Dr. S.I. Alikhanian, was the founder of the Soviet school of genetics and selection of microorganisms. He was awarded the title of Honorable Scientist of the USSR.

Dr. S.I. Alikhanian's research activity started in 1932 at the Chair of Genetics and Selection headed by Prof. A.S.Serebrovsky, Moscow State University. After the genetic science was forbidden and destructed in the USSR in 1948, Dr. S.I. Alikhanian came to work at the Institute of Penicillin, later on renamed to the All-Union Research Institute of Antibiotics, where he directed a series of world-wide renowned studies devoted to the regulations of the induced variation of microorganisms.

In 1958, Dr. S.I. Alikhanian was appointed Head of the Laboratory of Genetics and Selection of Microorganisms at the newly set up Radiobiological Department, Kurchatov Institute of Atomic Energy.

The Department's research team accomplished fundamental studies of the molecular genetics of bacteria and T-even bacteriophages involving the analysis of the genetic control of DNA synthesis and of the gene's fine structure. During the same period, studies on the selection of amino acid producents, which underlay the organization of industrial amino acid production in the USSR, were undertaken.

Based on the Laboratory of Genetics and Selection of Microorganisms, the All-Union Research Institute of Genetics and Selection of Microorganisms (VNII Genetika) was set up and headed by Dr. S.I. Alikhanian in 1958. This Institute is at present a well-known centre of both applied microbiological science and the modern molecular genetics of microorganisms.

The talanted orginizer and scientist Dr. S.I. Alikhanian spent much of his effort and energy for the development of Soviet genetics; he was one of the founders of the All-Union Society of Genetists and Selectionists Named after N.I.Vavilov; one of the founders and a Vice-Chief Editor of the "Genetika" Journal; and he was over twenty years the Director of the All-Union Schools of Microorganisms Genetics.

Erebuni - October 31, 2011 01:13 AM (GMT)

The Yerevan Physics Institute ( initially it was just called the Physics Institute ) was founded in 1942 as a branch of Yerevan State University. A year later it was turned over to the Armenian Academy of Sciences. The Institute was founded because of the scientific missions of two brothers, academicians Abraham Alikhanov and Artem Alikhanian to Mt. Aragats, the highest peak in Armenia. The aim of these expeditions was to study cosmic rays.

Later on two high-altitude cosmic ray stations were founded on the slope of the mountain: Aragats (3250m) and Nor Amberd (2000m). A good number of fundamental results were obtained here. Proton and neutron components as well as narrow air showers were discovered. A method of measuring extensive air showers was developed here for the first time. This technique later became classical. The Alikhanov - Alikhanian mass spectrometer became the prototype for hodoscopic devices that have played a major role in nuclear physics research.The study of cosmic ray composition using the mass spectrometer stimulated the search for new particles. The results obtained at Aragats showed the existence of rather energetic particles as a component of cosmic rays. This finding was later recognized as a discovery ( USSR license No. 384). In 1963 the Institute was transferred to the USSR State Committee on Atomic Energy and became the Yerevan Physics Institute (YerPhI). The construction of an electron accelerator at 6GeV accomplished in 1967 became an important landmark in the history of the Institute. The Yerevan synchrotron was at that time one of the largest in the world and remains the largest in CIS countries to date. The accelerator served the physicists of YerPhI as a powerful tool for solving the mysteries of the microworld. A number of unique scientific results were obtained during the years of accelerator operation. The study of pion photoproduction; eta-meson generation using the unique source of polarized gamma-quanta obtained at YerPhI; investigation of the nature and properties of transition radiation and channeling radiation in single crystals as well as some other results are well-known to the international scientific community.

In 1980, a group at YerPhI was awarded the Armenian State Prize for work on the basic properties of particles and nuclei studied in meson photoproduction processes on nuclei. Traditionally the development of new experimental methods has had an important place in the Institute's scientific program. In 1970 a group from YerPhi was awarded the Lenin Prize, the highest tribute in the USSR, for the development of track spark chambers.

Synchrotron radiation and other radiation technologies were applied to problems in solid state physics, biology, space research, agriculture and some other fields. In the middle of the 80's, in collaboration with physicists and engineers from Moscow, YerPhI started the realization of the ANI project which was aimed at the study of cosmic radiation particles and nuclei interactions at superaccelerator energies using the world largest installations. The disintegration of the Soviet Union and further economic problems halted the completion of the project. There is a keen Theoretical Department at the Institute, where a number of successful results were obtained on QCD, nuclear interactions, quantum field theory, superstrings and the interaction of radiation with matter. A powerful Computer Centre (CC) is equipped with a satellite communication unit. CC serves the local network (more than 50 ports with access to the Internet in 5 buildings ) as well as radio-modem connection (together with the National Academy of Sciences) with 4 more ports (Inst. of Radiophysical Measurements, National Academy of Sciences, Inst. of Informatics and Automation, Byurakan Astrophysical Observatory) which are in turn connected to other institutes via telephone lines. In the near future it is intended to connect YerPhI with some other centres (Yerevan State University, American University of Armenia, Yerevan Medical Institute et al). YerPhI has developed workshops for pilot production, where the details of scientific devices and industrial production are produced. For its more than half a century history, the Institute has accumulated a rich experience of contacts with international and national laboratories abroad in almost all the fields of its scientific activity. Presently, the Institute is involved in collaboration with the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility (former CEBAF), Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron (DESY), the European Laboratory for Particle Physics (CERN), Joint Institute for Nuclear Research (JINR) as well as with colleagues from France, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Ireland, Bulgaria, Denmark and Israel. All these joint works are of mutual interest. From 1992 YerPhI was turned over to the Armenian Ministry of Industry.

Erebuni - October 31, 2011 01:13 AM (GMT)

Academician Alikhanov could have replaced Kurchatov. The scientist’s story
by Sergei Leskov

The place had been code-named Laboratory No 3 in the notoriously secretive Soviet era.
Today’s public is largely unaware of the above name. Back in the 1940s, he was of the two candidates along with Kurchatov to be handpicked by Josef Stalin for the position of a top scientific coordinator of the Soviet nuclear program.

There’re a few thousand research institutes in our country, though just a handful are named after the scientists who founded them. Lately the institute of theoretical and experimental physics in Moscow has been named after academician Avram Alikhanov.

The place had been code-named Laboratory No 3 in the notoriously secretive Soviet era.
Today’s public is largely unaware of the above name. Back in the 1940s, he was of the two candidates along with Kurchatov to be handpicked by Josef Stalin as a top scientific coordinator of the Soviet nuclear program. A scary legend has it that if Kurchatov had botched up the project, he would have been replaced by Alikhanov.

Now it’s impossible to say why Stalin preferred Kurchatov to Alikhanov. There’re a few versions to choose from. According to some sources, Alikhanov acted far too independently during the interview. Perhaps part of his problem had to do with the fact that he never was a party member. Maybe his non-Russian origin was a stumbling block. He might have shown his lack of enthusiasm for the Soviet power in one way or another. Incidentally, Yuri Orlov, Doctor of Physics and Mathematics, one of the well-known Soviet dissidents, would work in Alikhanov’s institute years later. It was a research institution marked by a higher degree of democracy and a lack of chain of command.

It was Alikhanov who was elected a member of the Soviet Academy of Sciences in 1943. He’d had been a scientist with world-wide recognition by the time. Kurchatov was made a member of the Academy at the request of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. The election would have been considered null and void had that request been disregarded. Whatever the twists and turns of the story, Kurchatov and Alikhanov were reportedly close friends. Alikhanov had a number of enemies among the top party apparatchiks who subjected his institute to a number of “purges”.

Avram Alikhanov was born to the family of a Transcaucasion railroad engine driver. The engine drivers were a sort of the blue blood among the proletariat in Russia before 1917. All four offspring of the engine driver attended universities. Artem Alikhanyan, one of the brothers, became a corresponding member of the Soviet Academy of Sciences, a founder of an institute of physics and technology in Armenia.

Avram Alikhanov was a connoisseur of arts. Slava Roshal, his wife, was a winner of an international competition of violinists. He was a close friend of Oborin, Yudina, Kabalevski, Khachaturyan, and Saryan, who painted his portrait. His apartment in Cheremushki, on the edge of Moscow, was one of the few places where Dmitry Shostakovich, a very uptight person, would spend long hours at ease. The composer is reported to have said to his host: “Avram Isaakovich, you’ve got a wonderful apartment but it’s too faraway from the conservatoire. How can you live in it?” Moscow’s village Cheremushki seemed to be a place at the back of beyond at the time. It was located at the outskirts of Moscow where the authorities decided to build an institute of theoretical and experimental physics. By the way, it was Alikhanov who first tried to put an end to a ludicrous debate about the priority of science over arts launched in the Soviet media in the 1960s and 1970s. He loved to cite a quotation by academician Ambartsumyan about man being different from pig because the former would occasionally look at the stars.

Kurchatov, Alikhanov, Alexandrov, and Vinagradov, the men behind the Soviet nuclear program, sent a letter to the Communist party bosses following a successful testing of the Soviet hydrogen bomb in 1955. The letter said a new world war had become impossible after the H-bomb for it would annihilate humankind therefore the top players should embrace on a fresh course in the international politics. Malenkov showed his support for that pacifist letter whereas Khruschev reportedly used a political short-sightedness of his party crony for delivering a deadly blow which ruined Malenkov’s career. A few years later, Alikhanov took every step possible to get himself removed from working on a more powerful bomb, the one that was being built in Arzamas by Zeldovich’s team. Having realized the futility of his intentions, he approved a negative assessment of the work.

His scientific achievements are huge. Academician Alikhanov, hero of socialist labor, three-time winner of the state prize, took part in the building of reactors run on heavy water with a negative reactivity. This type of reactors is virtually Chernobyl-proof. He launched projects for the study of space radiation that today have became a priority area of research of the world science. Alikhanov was also involved in the building of the first proton accelerator and the first synchrophasotron. The research he conducted on roentgen optics, artificial radioactivity, beta decay, positron and other elementary particles specters has become a classic. It’s not an accident that Alikhanov was made a scientific secretary of the technical committee of the Special council charged with creation of the Soviet atomic bomb.

His career wasn’t one long stroke of luck, though. The Institute of theoretical and experimental physics was ordered to develop a thorium reactor. The objective was never completed. For the record, foreign scientists failed to do the job either. Alikhanov went through a lot of pain due to the lack of success and the tyranny of the Soviet administrative system. He broke down at the end of the 1960s when a proton accelerator, his pet project, was transferred to another team of scientists.

Avram Alikhanov belongs to a generation of scientists who brought fame to our science.
He was one of those stars who all of a sudden went up and shot brightly across the sky in Rutherford’s time. Old and gray, they’d get together at Alikahnov’s dacha for dinner. Kapitsa, with a smile on his face, once gave comfort to Alikhanov after learning that relatives of the latter kept the scientist away from home electrical appliances. He said: “Don’t you get upset. Rutherford’s wife didn’t allow him to fix the door locks either.” Landau couldn’t stand any kind of music and bantered with Alikhanov by asking him “why should we sing if we can talk?”

Shortly before the car crash that nearly killed him, Landau said to Alikhanov: “My screaming will be heard all over Moscow if they put me through surgery. I’m so afraid of the physical pain.” Alikahnov couldn’t get no relief when his friend was badly injured and put into hospital. His eyes were bloodshot after the hospital visits. He mind was racing as he was restlessly cruising around the town looking for help at every office.
He didn’t last long after the death of Landau. His grave is close to Landau’s at the Novodevichie cemetery in Moscow.

Erebuni - October 31, 2011 01:14 AM (GMT)
03 September 2007

The future in seeds of the past
Simon Grose

The farmer's tanned, furrowed, face is thoughtful. "You should ask the old women," he says after a pause. He smiles, dull veins of gold in his teeth. From village to village, farm to farm, others agree. "Ask the old women." They are helpful and nostalgic, and after an obligatory vodka or two, melancholic.

We are high in the mountains of southern Armenia on a mission they understand. They are farmers in the land where farming began.

So we start calling out the old women, who emerge from lightless kitchens and farm buildings reliable electricity also just a memory in these remote pockets of the old Soviet empire and we explain our quest. They hurry away and with extraordinary generosity re-emerge with tins, jars and knotted cloth containing biological treasures the seeds of bygone crops.

Grains of wheat, barley, beans and peas disappear into small yellow envelopes, marked with the name of the village, the name of the family, and the GPS position the hand held satellite positioning device an object of wonder to scores of children.

The old women wish us well. Some cry, because these visiting scientists seem to understand what they have known intuitively all along: that the traditional varieties were special.

There is a surrealism to these meetings, underscored by the dissonant chatter of Australian, Russian and Armenian accents as the team probes for knowledge of yesteryear crops, and asks for a little of the seed that might be hoarded. As we travel over rutted mountain roads we are also looking for places where ancestral plants might still grow on high plains.

We are on a hunt for genes; for lost genetic resources that agricultural scientists say will be crucial for the world to keep feeding itself despite climate change and deteriorating agricultural landscapes.

And so this small band of genetic detectives is scouring the birthplace of agriculture, the Caucuses Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan and parts of Russia for remnant on-farm storages, and for ancestral wild grasses from which modern crops like wheat and barley were first bred some 5000 years ago.

The mission is led by a Syria-based Australian, Dr Ken Street, an agricultural ecologist with the International Centre for Agricultural Research in Dry Areas (ICARDA), and comprises Russian and Armenian plant researchers, as well as another Australian, Perth-based Dr Clive Francis from the Centre for Legumes in Mediterranean Agriculture.

Their work is partly funded by Australia through the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research and the Grains Research and Development Corporation.

While a two- or three-degree increase in average temperatures may be perceived by people as merely a comfort issue, a fraction of a degree change can be enough to stop many food plants from flowering and delivering grains and fruits.

So the genes that allow the old relatives of modern crops to flourish in frozen or arid landscapes need to be found and reintroduced.

"We are going back through time, backwards through man-made evolution," explains Dr Ken Street, who has been leading seed collecting expeditions into Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Tajikistan over the past six years.

"We are looking for the grasses that were used for bread-making thousands of years ago at the start of civilisation when people first saw that keeping and sowing seeds from the best plants gradually improved what they were harvesting. We are searching for what our far distant ancestors were using; not because they are better but because they have a wider genetic base. A modern wheat plant might have a few hundred parents from a breeding program, but the ancient wild varieties had hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of parents."

The genetic diversity of the Caucuses, and the lure of discovery, is also what keeps pulling Clive Francis back, long after he had intended retiring.

Gazing across a meadow brimming with plant life, he explains that in Armenia alone there are 125 species of Astragalus, part of the legume family. Legumes are his passion.

"The legumes we grow in Australia are annuals, but there are perennial crop plants here that could help us manage our wheatbelt water table and limit the build-up of salinity," he says.

Collected seed is planted and assessed at ICARDA in Syria and the most promising lines sent to plant breeders in Perth, Adelaide, Horsham and Tamworth for introducing to local crop improvement programs.

Legumes are increasingly important in Australian agriculture as rotation crops between wheat and barley plantings, as they break potential disease cycles, and increase soil nitrogen. Their deep roots improve soil structure and closely mimic native plants in the way they help prevent rising water tables that cause most of the wheatbelt's salinity.

Aside from benefiting Australian farmers, improved generations will be sent back to ICARDA to help agricultural development in developing countries. Legumes' ability to transfer nitrogen from the atmosphere to the soil, and research being done to adapt them to sub-tropical environments, is seen as a low-cost, practical way to restore impoverished soils in hunger-ravaged areas of Africa.

But in contrast to the almost ready-to-use legumes, harnessing genes from wheat's ancestral grasses is a 10 to 15 year proposition, a process that could be accelerated by using genetic engineering. Wheat's ancestors are too far removed to be able to be crossed with modern plants, given that wheat is essentially a man-made crop. However, while the use of GM technologies would allow researchers to retrieve from ancestral grasses the gene sets capable of delivering traits such as drought and frost tolerance comparatively quickly, this cannot be contemplated until the moratoriums on growing GM crops in NSW, Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia expire in 2008.

The frustration for Australian researchers is that their counterparts in North and South America have no such restrictions and are enjoying a handy head-start.

In recent years, Street's seed collecting missions have become part of an international program developed under the auspices of the Global Crop Diversity Trust, set up as an instrument of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture. This was established two years ago to try and arrest the erosion of the world's plant genetic resources.

"It's a survival issue," says Street. "For most people around the world that means avoiding starvation, while for farmers in countries like Australia it is economic survival."

Late-season frosts destroy millions of dollars worth of cereal crops in Australia because the European origins of Australian varieties do not have the ideal genetic lineage for the Australian environment. "There are wheat varieties in central Asia and the Caucuses that comfortably tolerate frost and low rainfall," Street says.

The work by Street and Francis also involves trying to save, or rebuild, the once pre-eminent plant collections housed in the neglected botanical institutes of the former Soviet republics in central Asia and the Caucuses.

"The world is losing irreplaceable seed from these collections simply because the local people can't afford to replace water pumps, or stored seed is being eaten by mice," says Street.

"This is frightening, because the genetic origins for a very large proportion of the world's food crops, including the crops we grow in Australia, do not exist anywhere else."

He says it's all about making sure that despite the environmental pressures facing global agriculture, the world's farmers can still keep bread on the table figuratively and literally.

Dr Ken Street is profiled in FutureCrop, published by the GRDC. (see link for pictures)

Erebuni - October 31, 2011 01:14 AM (GMT)
Fundamental Scientific Library of NAS, Republic of Armenia

About the Library

The Fundamental Scientific Library (FSL) of the National Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Armenia is the second one for capacity of its funds and is the main and largest repository of scientific publications. It is a powerful information and bibliographical services center for the whole National Academy of Sciences of Armenia with all of its 40 subordinate scientific research institutions, as well as scientists and specialists in all fields of physical, mathematical, natural sciences and the humanities.

The rich and diverse collection of the Library includes over 3 million publications on natural and exact sciences and humanities. This wealth of knowledge is available to over 16 thousand regular visitors of the library through subscription and 5 specialized reading halls.

The Library also provides methodological management and coordination of specialized libraries of research institutions of the National Academy, a system that presently includes thirty academic libraries with over 1.2 million publications and serves about 5 thousand readers.

Fundamental Scientific Library is paying special attention to have its funds complete with Armenian and Armenological publications. The library is one of the largest depositories of literature in Armenian, and keeps a lot of antique and rare Armenian books in its repositories. Among these there are numerous valuable publications of 16-18th centuries in Armenian, Russian and foreign languages.

The library also maintains 26 individual funds, which were created due to donations of honored scientists and art professionals: H. Hambartsumyan, A. Hovhannisyan, A. Takhtajyan, Hovsep and Karapet Kusikyans, Calouste Gulbenkian, A. Alboyajyan, B. Zhamgotchian, A. Gharibyan, K. Merdinian, P. Bostanjyan, H. Pambookian, H. Edgarian, M. Terzian, L. Nalbandian, L. Zekiyan and others. Here you can find numerous rare dictionaries, encyclopaedias, rare books and Elsevier publications of antique world and medieval culture, literature and history.

All these riches are being widely served approximately to 16 thousand readers by means of circulation and 5 specialized reading halls. To provide readers with information about newly received publications, the library periodically organizes thematic exhibitions in the various fields of science, as well as publishes quarterly information bulletin "New Books in Foreign Languages" and "Summary index of the foreign language periodicals available in the libraries of the Republic of Armenia".

The library performs extensive cooperation activity with the foreign libraries and institutions to create and maintain scientific and cultural relationships. In this area the library has profitable book-exchange relationship with 300 institutions, among those are libraries, museums, publishing houses, scientific institutions, etc. in 60 foreign countries. To mention only a few of our partner libraries: New York Public Library, Library of Congress, British Library, Bibliotheque Nationale de Paris, Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, greatest Russian libraries in Moscow and Saint-Petersburg.

The library maintains publishing activity in the field of current and thematic bibliographies and biobibliographic publications. It has already issued the bibliography of the publications of the National Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Armenia between 1936-1986. Personal bibliographies of Armenian scientists are published periodically devoted to famous scientists and contain information about their life, scientific activity and publications as well as references to the literature devoted to them. By the moment 59 such volumes were issued, devoted to the academicians of the National Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Armenia: Victor Ambartsumyan, Hrachya Adjaryan, Hovsep Orbeli, Hagop Manandyan, Manuk Abeghyan, Grigor Ghapantsyan, Armenak Mnjoyan, Hovhannes Maghakyan, Sahak Karapetyan, Hrachya Buniatyan, Suren Yeremyan, Bardughimeos Fanarjyan, Abraham Alikhanov, Artem Alikhanyan, Stepan Lisitsyan, Aram Nalbandyan, Vache Nalbandyan, Levon Khachikyan and others.

The bibliographical publications and the biobibliographies of the Armenian famous scientists fully reverberate the scientific achievements in the country. Some of such thematic bibliographies, which are favoured by the public and professionals are: "Bibliography of Armenian critical thought 1794-1920", "Bibiliography on Studies of Armenian literature 1920-1975", "Bibliography of Turkish books in Armenian letter 1727-1968". "The Fauna of Armenia 1900-1980", "The Flora, vegetation and vegetative raw 1900-1985", "Environment protection and the use of natural resources in Armenia 1930-1984", "Sphere of millimetrical and submillimetrical spectroscopy 1960-1985", "Oligomers 1953-1980".

The directors of the Fundamental Library of the National Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Armenia were: famous bibliographist Vache Karmenyan; specialist in literature Prof. Gourgen Hovnan; famous scientists-academicians of the National Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Armenia: Ararat Gharibyan; Vache Nalbandyan. Now, the director of the Fundamental Library is the academician of the National Academy of Sciences Anry Nersessian.

Current development of computer science and information technologies led to the creation of powerful media, to collect, distribute and govern the information contained in the library. Understanding the importance of these developments our library began to make first steps even in 1997 in the field of library automation and electronic document delivery.

For this purpose new subdivision was created in the library - Library Automation and Electronic Services Department. Due to collaboration with international foundations, such as Soros Foundation (Open Society Institute Assistance Foundation) our library is performing an ongoing process of building its electronic catalog.


The Library of the National Academy of Sciences was founded in 1935, under the auspices of Armenian branch of the then National Academy of the Soviet Union.

* With the establishment of Armenian National Academy in 1943, the Library gained a status of a Main Library, an independent academic unit within the Academy system.

* In 1944, the Presidium of ArmSSR Academy of Sciences appointed the first Board of the Library that included such prominent scientists as V. H. Hambartsumyan (President), K. N. Paffenholz, K. V. Trever, Kh. S. Sargsyan, A. G. Araratyan and R. K. Karakhan, as well as professional librarians E. I. Kochubina (the Librarian), A. S. Babayan, L. B. Melkumyan and V. N. Karmenyan.

* On November 10, 1944, the Central Library was restructured into the Fundamental Library of the Academy of Sciences of the ArmSSR.

* In 1944, the USSR Council of Ministers awarded the Library the status of a 2nd category national academic library.

* In 1957, the Library became a 3rd category academic institution and named the Fundamental Scientific Library.

* Until 1959, the Library was located at 15 Abovyan Street in Yerevan, in the building of the Presidium of the National Academy.

* In 1959, the Library moved to a new building located at 24 Bagramyan Avenue in Yerevan.

* The first private collection of the Library was established in 1965, with a donation by Prof. Hamazasp Hambardzumyan.

* In January 1980 the Library moved to a new building located behind the National Academy, at 24D Bagramyan Avenue.

* In 1986 the Library was awarded the rank of a 1st category academic repository.

* In 1999, the Library started using IT tools.

* In 2001, the Library became one of the founders of Armenian Library Consortium.

* On September 12, 2002, the Library gained a formal status of a state non-commercial organization, the Fundamental Scientific Library of the National Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Armenia.

* In 2002, the Library joined several other national libraries in the framework of a national project on creation of the Armenian Library Network.

* Digitization of the Library collection started in 2003 with digitization of books. As of October 2005, the Library database includes over 105 thousand entries, with 61 thousand publication titles. In the future, the Library will provide online subscription and other services.

* In 2003, the Library initiated the creation of Electronic Library Consortium of Armenia ( Due to access to the electronic resources provided by eLCA, the document delivery service of the Library obtains electronic copies of articles from international academic and scholarly journals for institutions of the National Academy of Sciences and other research institutions across the country. Using resources of SUBITO document delivery network of European libraries (available with INTAS support), the document delivery service of the Library executes over 2.5 thousand article orders from international research publications annually.

Erebuni - October 31, 2011 01:14 AM (GMT)
Plant detectives struggle against time
130 | APR–MAY | 2006

In a crumbling Armenian institute, priceless botanical records of crop lineages and unique floral biodiversity are being lost to the blanket of time.Australian agricultural scientists, who know the archives hold vital information about the world’s food plants and their adaptability, are pitching in to safeguard what they can. Brad Collis reports.

Dr Izabella Arevshatian carefully folds a new plant specimen inside the pages of an old Soviet newspaper; the photograph of a heroic astronaut fleetingly exposed
before the page is creased and flattened against the fresh green leaves. It’s her collection–mission ritual, repeated twice a day to start the drying and pressing of plants for archiving in Armenia’s Institute of Botany.

The Institute houses more than 150 000 specimen sheets, diligently compiled by generations of botanists. It forms a globally significant archive of plant biodiversity,
especially of food crops – and it is in serious trouble. The yellowing pages of propagandised space-age triumph now wrap the last vestiges of a time when Soviet
botanists and plant breeders also held the world stage.

Dr Arevshatian and her colleagues have had almost no source of official support since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Their Armenian government salaries are
US$24 a month, from which they not only have to feed and clothe themselves, but also keep the Institute running.

‘It’s like it was in the war … no water or electricity, but we saved the collection … and that’s what we are doing again,’ says Dr Arevshatian.
But that was almost 60 years ago when they were robust young students. Dr Arevshatian and her colleagues, Professor Eleonora Gabrielian, the Institute’s
Director, and Dr Estella Nazarora, are now elderly women. The determination that has kept them and their work alive through freezing winters and the crushing
sense of apathy from outside can’t last.

Yet they are driven, still, by the vision of the Institute’s founder Alexander Shelkovnikov and their student-days mentor, Professor Armen Takhtajian.
These are famous names in international botany, but their once-glorious institute is now a worn-out building disappearing into an abandoned jungle that used to be
the adjoining botanic gardens. That it functions at all is due solely to the extraordinary faith being kept by this small group of former students.
‘Professor Takhtajian inspired in us the beauty of plants,’ says Dr Arevshatian simply.

The inside is spartan and dusty, rooms overflowing with head-high piles of pressed plant specimens, brittle inside the pages of newspapers dating back to Stalin’s
regime. There is not a single computer. The records of generations of scientists remain on paper cards in wooden filing cabinets. It is a treasure-trove of fragile,
rare, botanical history.

‘I am optimistic,’ says Dr Arevshatian, ‘because we have come through hard times before. Sometimes politics tries to ignore, or destroy, science. But science
always wins because science serves the people.’

In her upstairs office, Professor Gabrielian proudly displays a colour photograph of a rare flower, Ornithogalum gabrielianae, a new species discovered on Mount Aragatz, Armenia, in 1997 and named after her – the eleventh plant species to be named in her honour.

Professor Gabrielian is renowned in world botany, yet she sits in a small room stacked high with fading hope and memories, surrounded by her lifelong collection
and the 11 weighty monographs she has authored and published. It is a priceless repository but has no clear future or home when she and her septuagenarian
colleagues can no longer work.

She opens her arms indicating the piles of newspapers that hide tens of thousands of dried, pressed specimens. ‘Some of the most beautiful and rare wild plants
on the planet are here,’ she says. ‘And like all plants they hold crucial places in delicately balanced ecosystems. Some of these plants come from landscapes that swing from plus 40 to minus 40 degrees Celsius between summer and winter. It is vitally important to find out what plants like this can teach us.’

Eleonora Gabrielian has been collecting since she was a student in 1946. That same year she met her husband, who then worked alongside her for the next
four decades. He died in 1994, after a bitter winter when there was no heating at all.

‘Perhaps we are crazy,’ says Professor Gabrielian solemnly. ‘We are paid 74 000 drams [US$24] a month and we each have to put in 20 000 drams for electricity.
But botany is our life. It is the science of life and it keeps us going. Future generations will need this knowledge if they are to sustain the planet’s biodiversity … but I am 76 years old and I need to be able to put what’s in my head into the heads of future generations.’

The lament is heartfelt, and for younger scientists like Australian agricultural ecologist Dr Ken Street, who has been leading recent international efforts to try to
save the region’s vital genetic resources, it is a critical, global, issue. ‘Ten years from now we will be facing the prospect of this region having no trained agricultural
scientists in germplasm conservation,’ he says.

‘This is frightening, because the genetic origins for a very large proportion of the world’s food crops, including the crops we grow in Australia, do not exist anywhere else.’

‘What’s even more frustrating is it would only take about A$20 000 to get the Institute back on its feet and safeguard its collections,’ he says.

Dr Street, who is based at the International Centre for Agricultural Research in Dry Areas (ICARDA) in Syria, has been managing germplasm preservation projects in the Caucasus and Central Asia for several years.

The projects, funded by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR), have been seeking to preserve the genes of ancient crop races or wild progenitors for use by modern plant breeders faced with keeping agriculture abreast of changing environmental conditions.

In recent years Dr Street has undertaken a number of collection missions to capture as much genetic variation as possible in the plant species that are important to world agriculture.

His most recent mission in Armenia was in collaboration with Dr Arevshatian, Dr Tamara Smekalova, head of Agrobotany at the Vavilov Institute in St Petersburg,
and Dr Clive Francis from the Centre for Legumes in Mediterranean Agriculture (CLIMA) in Perth.

Australian support for the work stems from the fact that Australian farmers are as desperate as any for crops that can withstand the tightening grip of droughts,
frosts, saline soils, fungal diseases such as rust, and the spectre of global warming.

While a two- or three-degree increase in average temperatures may be perceived by people as merely a comfort issue, the chilling fact not widely appreciated is
that a fraction-of-a-degree change can be enough to stop many food plants from flowering and delivering grains and fruits – our food.

Added to this, modern crops have been pampered by aeons of farming and breeding for higher and higher yields, or for traits like whiter bread dough.

Consequently a lot of the ‘toughness’ of earlier crop types has been whittled back as the genetic base has narrowed.

So it’s those genes that allow the old relatives of modern crops to still flourish in frozen or arid landscapes that need to be found and reintroduced.

‘We are going back through time, backwards through man-made evolution,’ explains Dr Street.

‘We are looking for the grasses that were used for bread-making thousands of years ago – at the start of civilisation when people first saw that keeping and
sowing seeds from the best plants gradually improved what they were harvesting.

‘We are searching for what our far distant ancestors were using, not because they are better but because they have a wider genetic base. A modern wheat plant might have a few hundred parents, but the ancient varieties had hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of parents.’

The genetic diversity of the Caucasus, and the lure of discovery, is also what keeps pulling Dr Clive Francis back to the region, long after he had intended retiring.

‘This area is the birthplace of wheat, numerous fruits, vegetables like onions, and a lot of the world’s legumes … not to mention scores of flowering plants
such as tulips and gladioli,’ he says.

Gazing across a meadow brimming with plant life, a wind-ruffled soup of botanic diversity, Dr Francis explains that there are 125 species of Astragalus alone in
Armenia. Astragalus is part of the legume family – what most people know as peas, beans or lentils. Legumes are his passion and Armenia is Xanadu, a paradise of agricultural opportunity.

‘The legumes we grow in Australia are annuals, but there are perennials here … crop plants that could help us manage our wheatbelt water table and limit the
build-up of salinity,’ he says.

‘And a lot of these legumes are readily usable by plant breeders.’

However, he says the old wheats are a longer-term proposition. ‘We only want specific genes, like the drought or frost-tolerance genes.We don’t want genes
that might undo the highly developed agronomic traits of modern varieties. But this is difficult to control using normal cross-pollination techniques, and in Australia
we’re not allowed to use gene transfer technologies in food crops.’

Collecting missions like these, in countries such as Armenia, are now part of an international program developed under the auspices of the new Global Crop Diversity Trust, set up as an instrument of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture.

‘It’s a survival issue,’ says Dr Street.

‘For most people around the world that means avoiding starvation, while for farmers in countries like Australia it’s economic survival. For example, lateseason
frosts destroy millions of dollars worth of cereal crops in Australia every year. This is because the genetic origin of Australian varieties mirrors our political and
cultural origins – Western Europe – which is not the ideal genetic lineage for the Australian environment. By comparison, there are wheat varieties in Central Asia
and the Caucasus that comfortably tolerate frost and low rainfall. These varieties need to be re-identified, catalogued and made available to Australian plant breeders.’

Dr Street concedes that there is a frustrating element of the abstract in the goal because these ‘horrible old weeds’ are too far removed from their modern descendants to be able to be crossed by conventional breeding. It is possible using gene modification (GM) technology which can precisely locate and reincorporate specific genes, but politics has, for the moment, put the technology beyond the reach of Australian food-crop scientists.

The work by Drs Street and Francis also involves trying to save, or rebuild, the once pre-eminent plant collections housed in the crumbling, neglected, botanical
institutes of the former Soviet republics in Central Asia and the Caucasus.

‘The world is losing irreplaceable seed from these collections simply because the local people can’t afford to replace water pumps, or stored seed is being eaten by
mice. This is an absolute tragedy; doubly so because it is avoidable,’ says Dr Street.

‘The rate of deterioration is very advanced so we are desperately trying to collect, store, document and manage as much diversity from old varieties and wild
relatives before they are gone forever.We don’t know what challenges future farmers will face, but we do know the answers to those challenges are held in the
genes of the plants we are collecting.’

Erebuni - October 31, 2011 01:17 AM (GMT)
Academician Sergei Mergelian Dies

Noyan Tapan
Aug 22, 2008

YEREVAN, AUGUST 22, NOYAN TAPAN. The RA National Academy of Sciences
and the RA State Science Committee inform that the prominent scientist and citizen, a classic of the Armenian science, Academician Sergei Mergelian passed away at the age of 81.

Taking an external degree of Yerevan State University's Physico-Mathematical Department, the talented youth became actively engaged in creative work at the age of 19 and soon occupied his place in the constellation of distinguished modern mathematicians. Aged 21, he became a Doctor of Sciences, at 25 he was elected a corresponding member of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR and the Academy of Sciences of the Armenian SSR, while at 28 he was elected an academician
of the Academy of Sciences of the Armenian SSR. In that period he received a Stalin Award.

In the mid 1950s S. Mergelian performed a real feat by creating a new scientific and technical direction in applied mathematics and computer engineering of Armenia, which later brought great fame to our country. Under his direction, the Yerevan Research Institute of Mathematical Machines was founded, and later some production enterprises were set up and the production of computers launched. Thanks to the scientific and organizational talent of Academician Mergelian, Armenia became one of the USSR's major centers in this field.

S. Mergelian's services to the Academy of Sciences and Yerevan State University (YSU) are of great value. He was the vice president of the Academy of Sciences, the founder and first director of the Data Center of the Academy of Sciences and YSU, and the head of a YSU chair.

S. Mergelian was also the founder and head of the Complex Analysis Unit of the Institute of Mathematics after Steklov of the USSR Academy of Sciences.

His contribution to the training of qualified personnel is invaluable.

His services were appreciated by the government of independent Armenia as well: in 2008 he was awarded a Mesrop Mashtots order, the highest award of the Republic of Armenia.

The death of Academician Sergei Mergelian is an irrecoverable loss for the Armenian people, first of all, Armenia's scientific community and intellectuals.

Academic Mergelyan died
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After long illness famous scientist, academic Sergey Mergelyan died in Los Angeles in August 20.

The RA National Academy of Science and the State Committee of Science expressed their condolence connected with the death of the famous academic. His death was a great loss for the whole Armenian nation.

At the age of 19 the academic extern graduated the physics-mathematics faculty of the Yerevan State University. Soon he found his place near the famous mathematics.

At 21 Mergelyan became a doctor of sciences, at 25 he was chosen the member of USSR and SSRA, at 28 he was academic of the Academy of Sciences.

Thanked to the academic Armenia became the science-organizing centre of the USSR.

The nation still remembers the name of the famous scientist and he is one of the well know persons.

The services of academic to the Academy of Sciences and the Yerevan State University are very valuable.

He had been the vice president of the Academy of Sciences, director of the department in the University. His students will always remember his excellent lectures and seminars.

The RA Government also appreciated the great work of the scientist. In 2008 he was awarded by the medal of Mesrop Mashtots.

The death of academic Mergelyan is a great loss for the whole Armenia and Armenian nation.

Erebuni - October 31, 2011 01:17 AM (GMT)
This “Horse Doctor” is the Real Deal

Hasmik Hovhannisyan
October 13, 2008

Hippotherapy is a rehabilitation method for mentally and physically disabled people that utilizes equine movement and the psychological impact of the horse on human beings. “Khouzhan” is our ‘head doctor’ in hippotherapy.

Several children come to him for hippotherapy sessions several times per week. Some of them are from the Kharberd Orphanage for children with special needs and some come with their mothers. By the time the children arrive Khouzhan is grazing on the lawn.

Hippotherapy: Treatment with Pleasure

Hasmik Hovhannisyan
October 13, 2008

It was a hot September day when my life divided into “before” and “after”. Before that day I was an ordinary horse, like other horses living in the village. All the day I would graze in the fields and from time to time village guys would saddle me. After that day I became a doctor. And not an ordinary doctor whom children fear to see but a doctor whom children go to with smiles on their faces.

My name is Khouzhan. I, along with hippotherapist Hasmik and horse trainer Boris practice a kind of rehabilitation for mentally and physically disabled children called hippotherapy (from the Greek word “hippos” meaning horse).

Four times per week children with mental and physical disabilities such as cerebral palsy, autism and encephalopathy come to me. Six of them are from the Kharberd orphanage for children with special needs, and a girl and a boy come with their moms. Hasmik and Boris speak about hippotherapy so much that I can tell you about it just as much as they can.

Hippotherapy literally means treatment with the help of us, horses. Hippocrates who wrote a lot about us said, “If you want to be healthy, walk a lot, eat healthy food and sit on horse.”
People often call us a “living training apparatus.” When we walk our spine makes three-dimensional movements and all the muscles of the rider’s body repeat those movements. Through that movement spastic muscles relax and at the same time weak muscles strengthen which is extremely important, especially with cerebral palsy.

The psychological aspect is also important. When a child comes for a session he/she does not take it as a treatment but as a horse riding learning process. Besides, here it is the child who is important, who is “over” and not “under,” as usual. He has always been told, “you are not able, you are weak” and now he is sitting on a big, strong animal who obeys the commands emanating from his sick, incapable hands. It is a totally new feeling for them and raises their self-confidence and self-estimation.

The range of illnesses which can partly or fully be treated through hippotherapy is large and includes cerebral palsy, autism, schizophrenia, spinal problems, scoliosis, Down’s syndrome, problems with nerve system, osteochondrosis, prostatitis, post heart attack and stroke rehabilitation, and others.

What about contra-indications they are present with a very few illnesses such as hemophilia, some kidney illnesses and exacerbation of any illness.

Specialists put children on my back in different positions, with and without saddle and give them different exercises depending on the individual problems of each.

“Will you behave well, my piglet, so that I will not fall down?”

Little Veronica is my lightest patient. She sits in the saddle like a jockey: knees up and bending forward. She does not do it on purpose. Veronica suffers from quadriplegic cerebral palsy in which all four extremities are affected. Her muscles are extremely spastic and she is not capable to relax and let her feet down. But then I start walking. Trainer Boris directs my rhythm and speed through the reins. Veronica’s back straightens eventually; she raises her head and looks at the children awaiting their turn. Everybody is admiring her. The therapists at the orphanage say she is never as happy as when she comes to me.

Arzouman calls me piglet. Every time he sits on my back and asks “Will you behave well my piglet so that I will not fall down?” I nod vigorously. To be honest this way I frighten flies away but Arzouman take that movement as a sign of agreement and feels more confident.

Gor is epileptic. When he sat on my back first time his legs and hands were trembling from fear. He could not keep his balance and was almost falling down on the hippotherapist. The hippotherapist always walks on my left side insuring the child’s safety and watching that they do the exercises correctly. She tells Gor, “Now I will let your leg go and you will try to keep balance.” If he loses that confidence he will mobilize all abilities of his sick body not to fall down, and all his muscles will start working intensively. Gor screams, “No, don’t let me go.” This was during the second session. At fourth session he would push Hasmik’s hand away from his leg with indignation. And at fifth session he asked to hold the reins himself. His movements, of course, are not yet soft and give me some discomfort but when he manages he laughs so contagiously that I am not angry with him at all. After getting off my back Gor leads me to the next child. He moves much more confidently and he often does not hold the hand of hippotherapist.

Arman is autistic. His educator Gohar says that before starting the hippotherapy sessions he had problems with communicating with people. Now he is much better at that. Arman understands everything but he is not interested in socializing with people. But we understand each other very well. Educators say that Arman is surprised that my ears move while walking and human beings’ ears do not. So he keeps flipping the ears of the other kids to make them move.

Hamlet is always the last to sit on my back. He started riding alone from the very first day. Several years ago he was not able to walk at all. He was operated on and then tried hard to learn walking. He is already learning trotting slowly. His therapist Lusine says that nothing has ever excited Hamlet as much as horse riding.

David is my noisiest patient. He has smiles to the ears and his mouth never shuts up. Concentrating on something is very hard for him so he has difficulties with learning the simplest exercises. So the hippotherapist and trainer stop me frequently to repeat them over and over again.

Angelina is the youngest one. She is only four. She was crying non-stop at the first session. She was scared of me. But now she is Ok. Angelina has a weak back and it is hard for her to keep her back straight. The hippotherapist has to be a bit cunning. Angelina adores lying on her belly across my back. It is done to relax her muscles after the exercises. Hasmik says, “Now I will count till ten. If you keep your back straight while I am counting you will lie down on the horse’s belly, Ok?” Angelina accepts the new game with great joy and starts counting with her. Very soon even I will learn counting with them.

Angelina’s mom Marina says that after three sessions Angelina could sit on the chair herself and started to move her affected right hand and leg slightly.

Hovik is my newest patient. But for Hasmik and Boris he is their “eldest” one. Before they were practicing hippotherapy in a Yerevan riding club. Hovik, who used to move only in a wheelchair or hanging from the hands of the guides, started walking leaning against walls. Then he got operated on and now is back. He has very good voice and knows Armenian hit songs by heart. He always gives me sugar.

Great Seven

Let me also tell you a bit about us horses. There are 7 us here in the riding club “Zatik”, located in the village Ushi near the town of Ashtarak. The youngest one is Sorbonne, a mixed Arabian and English breed. She is only 4 months old, too young both for hippotherapy and riding. Her mom is over 20, which is like 80 years old for a human being, so she is not ridden.

Sorbonne’s sister Sabina and one year old Strasburg 2 began being trained for hippotherapy. Golden, a 9 year old pure breed has already joined us. Children adore him for the golden color and are a bit scared of his height; he is the tallest among us. My sister Jeffa is going to be involved in hippotherapy soon. But I will sure remain the main doctor.

By the way, not all horses are good for hippotherapy. Horse needs to be calm, kind and friendly and, of course, predictable because we deal with children with problems.

Hippotherapy is widely known in the world. In Armenia it was started by equestrian sports trainer Boris and former journalist Hasmik. They created the “Association of Hippotherapy and Equestrian Sports “Centaur” NGO to practice hippotherapy. Hasmik and Boris keep talking about the many children who need hippotherapy but cannot afford the transportation cost to the village. Before, when they were practicing in a riding club in Yerevan, getting there was much easier. But the director of the club decided to stop hippotherapy sessions in his club saying that the children disturb clients who come to learn horse riding. The other two clubs in Yerevan also refused for reasons such as, “we do not want to create a hospital atmosphere here” and “those children produce negative energy that affects the horse”. These human beings sometimes can create such silly prejudices.

Fortunately, there are people like Aghasi Zatikyan, the owner of our riding club “Zatik”, who kindly agreed to provide them the use of his arena and we horses only in exchange for providing us with care and fodder.

If Boris and Hasmik manage to find the necessary means many more children will benefit from hippotherapy. Kharberd orphanage’s children, for instance, join the sessions because of kind support of a British couple Haniel and Martin Riviere-Allen and their friends who collected money for the children.

Hasmik and Boris also decided to offer riding lessons to non-disabled people for a donation to the NGO to offset the costs of hippotherapy and fodder for us.

I hope that they will succeed and more and more children will have the opportunity to join the sessions. Although it is not easy for me, it is a great thing to see happy smiles on their faces and to realize that I am a part of what gives them that happiness.

In expressing his thoughts, Khouzhan was kindly assisted by Hasmik Hovhannisyan (see link for pictures)

This “Horse Doctor” is the Real Deal Photostory:

Erebuni - October 31, 2011 01:44 AM (GMT)
Andranik Iosifyan (1905-1993)

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Erebuni - November 2, 2011 08:50 PM (GMT)
Paris Herouni

user posted image (work and achievements)


ARMENPRESS: The 70-th anniversary birthday of Paris Heruni, a world famous Armenian astrophysicist, a professor and doctor of engineering sciences, was marked today at the National Academy of Sciences by awarding him the title of honored worker of science, as well as Academy's Science Medal.
He is famous for creating the best solar panels in the world, that have the highest rate of converting sun-light into energy. After graduating the Moscow Energy Institute in 1960 he returned to Armenia, establishing and leading since then Armenian Radio-Physics and Electronics Research Institute. He also was one of the founders of another research institute of radio -physics measurements and an affiliated center for antennae standards.

He is also known for his studies at Kar-Hunge, in south Armenia, a location where pre-Christian Armenian priests are believed to have succeeded in calculating the number of days in a year. This enabled them to establish the solar calendar widely practiced in Armenia and other ancient cultures of later periods. They also measured the approximate distance around the earth and came to the realization that the Earth was round.

Erebuni - November 19, 2013 12:37 AM (GMT)

by Tatevik Sargsyan

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Over her nearly 60-year career, 11 types of plants have been named for the botanist, including Sorbus Hajastana Gabrieljan tree, which she planted in 1952.

In her white lab coat, tiny Eleonora Gabrielian is dwarfed by the large Sorbus Hajastana Gabrieljan next to her office in the Botanical Garden, a rare white mountain ash tree indigenous to the Sevan region. But she looks upon the tree affectionately, patting it, as if it were a small child.

"I planted it in 1952," she says. "In the autumn, it will get scarlet and white flowers, and then red fruits you can eat. It's a beautiful tree."

Sorbus Hajastana Gabrieljan, in a way, is her child.

Dr. Gabrielian, one of the Caucasus's foremost and leading botanists, discovered this tree, which is why it bears both the names Hajastana (which means Armenia) and her own name. Over the span of her nearly 60-year career, 11 plant species have been named after her, either because she discovered them, or created the classification/taxonomy system that helps botanists differentiate the species in the Sorbus family by comparing various features of the trees, such as the bark and the seeds. A scientific monograph she wrote on the Sorbus was awarded the Komarovian Prize, the highest award from the All Union Academy of Sciences, in 1984.

Currently, she holds the substantive moniker Head of the Department of Plant Taxonomy and Geography of the Institute of Botany at the National Academy of Sciences in Armenia. Her office, tucked away in Yerevan's Botanical Garden, contains an extensive library and cataloguing system for all Armenia's flora, as well as samples from her travels around the globe.

Much of this physical evidence Dr. Gabrielian has gathered herself, plant by plant, finding, recording and photographing the 3,600 plant species in Armenia. Though she is 80 years old, she still spends the spring and summer in the field, collecting and documenting plants, trees and grasses.

"There are 6,500 plant species in the Caucasus," she says. "And more than half are in Armenia. It's really an amazing place for flora."

And an amazing dedication of recording it has been Eleonora Gabrielian's life ambition.

By the age of four, the future professor had already made a book with flowers pressed between the pages and the names written as best she could, but mostly wrong. Her earliest memories are of her grandfather's garden, where she spent much of her childhood nurturing an interest that would become her lifelong pursuit.

Many members of her family are botanists (as was her husband, who died in 1994). One daughter is a botanist working in France, who also does work for the Armenia Tree Project. Another daughter in Israel is a paleontologist.

Eleonora studied botany in Moscow, followed by post-graduate work in St. Petersburg, Russia. In independent Armenia, she founded the National Botanists of Armenia, a Non Governmental Organization that encourages protection of the environment.

"We have many good scientists and academicians among us," she says. "So when we raise an issue, the authorities usually take our opinion into account."

Armenia's variety of plant life is due to its geography, surrounded on all sides by gorges, each creating its own micro-climate with different conditions, she says. It allows for an amazing range of species, despite the country's small size.

"You can go from semi-desert to alpine forest in half an hour," she explains.

Rick Ney, an American who has lived and worked in Armenia since the early 1990s, has escorted the botanist on some of her treks "from semi-desert to alpine." Ney says one of the challenges of traveling with "Nora" is being prepared to make sudden stops.

"Often, a plant will catch her eye from the car window and she immediately says 'stop, stop!', as if the plant will run away before she gets a chance to study it up close," Ney says in admiration of his friend. "I've seen Nora slow down a bit over the recent years, but it seems that her love of Armenian nature is a sustaining source of youth for her."

One of the botanist's latest projects was helping Ney and his organization, Armenian Monuments Awareness Project (AMAP), create a nature trail for hikers that leads trekkers to Amberd Castle in the foothills of Mount Aragats. Dr. Gabrielian identified plants along the trail and used the data on information panels erected by AMAP.

Her work has been published in several books in Russian, and in many English journals. But for the first time, English speakers will be able to view the world through Eleonora Gabrielian's eyes with her latest book, Flowers of the Transcaucasus and Adjacent Areas, co-authored with Israeli botanist Ori Fragman-Sapir in 2008. The glossy hard-cover book contains detailed descriptions and photographs of much of Armenia's flora—a helpful guide for hikers, walkers and flower lovers who want to know what they are looking at as Armenia's spring, summer and autumn blooms unfurl.

"Did you know, for example, that there are 16 species of wild iris growing here?" she muses, pointing at the book cover, which sports a purple, pin-striped Iris. "There is so much to see here, and I want people to see Armenia's beauty."

It's impossible to be uncaring about the environment when talking to Dr. Gabrielian.

"I have worked all my life for the sake of my country and its environment. My heart sinks every time a tree is cut," she says.

The Institute of Botany, where she works, houses many devoted professionals like Dr. Gabrielian. Due to her and her staff's efforts, the institute has finished the last, eleventh volume of Armenian Flora, which is believed to be the hardest one of all. But while devoted, Dr. Gabrielian is frustrated and angry that their achievements have not been recognized and supported by the state. Her last efforts have been funded by the Acopian Center and the Armenian Tree Project, but the funds that used to be plentiful during Soviet times are no longer available.

"In some ways, it was better then, for our research, at least," she said. "I was sent many places to discover new plant species."

However, she is still full of plans; she is currently working on making one combined volume of Armenian flora with key descriptions of all 3,600 species derived from the 11 volumes of Armenian flora editions, the first volumes of which date back to the 1950s and need a lot of revision.

"I need to finish that before I stop working. There are two botanists in Armenia who are able to do this and we are both old; we need to put what's in our heads into the heads of future generations."

She stopped, then added dreamily:

"Armenia is a fairyland; you can always find species of flowers and plants new not only to Armenia but to science in general."

Erebuni - December 9, 2013 01:02 PM (GMT)
Satellite department to be set up in Armenia’s national telecommunication center

YEREVAN, November 15. /ARKA/. Armenia’s government made a decision at its meeting Thursday to create a satellite communication department in the national center for telecommunications

The department will deal with satellite communication issues until space agency is set up in the country.

According to the premier’s decision of April 29 a space agency will be created to operate and prepare Armenian ARMSAT satellite for launching.

Armenia is planning to launch its own satellite called ARMSAT. A special Armcosmos company created for this purpose is currently dealing with registration of Armenia’s rights for a slot in the space.

According to expert estimates, the project will cost about 250 million dollars. The government is planning to involve private investors in the project. –0—

17:00 15.11.2013

Armenia and Russia advancing space cooperation

YEREVAN, June 25. / ARKA /. Armenia and Russia are building up their cooperation in the space, the Secretary of National Security Council of Armenia, Arthur Baghdasaryan, said today.

"Armenia has set up Armcosmos company, which at first glance may seem extraordinary, but we will implement a very serious program with Russia ," he said after meeting with Secretary of the Russian Security Council Nikolai Patrushev in Yerevan.

He also said that the Russian delegation visited the Garni observatory, which has modern infrastructure.

According to him, the sides reached agreements to modernize the Garni and Byurakan observatories in Armenia for a long-term cooperation.

"Observatories are our national wealth and we are not going to make them Russian facilities. We will work together to implement modernization programs to be financed by Russia. This cooperation involves joint use of space and space security projects," Bagdasaryans said.

Gagik Grigorian, the chief of staff at the Ministry of Transport and Communications, said earlier that Armcosmos will be overseeing plans to launch Armenia’s first commercial satellite. He said the total cost of the satellite project is around $250 million. He said the government hopes to attract much of the money from private investors. -0-

19:20 25.06.2013

Canadian MDA ready to help Armenia launch its first communication satellite

YEREVAN, August 9. / ARKA /. Canadian MDA will help Armenia launch its first communications satellite, company CEO, Mag Iskander, told the visiting Armenian transport and communications minister Gagik Beglaryan, the Armenian ministry reported today.

Beglaryan was quoted as saying in a ministry press release that Armenia had submitted to the International Telecommunications Union a bid to secure an orbital position. Iskander in turn, said MDA had examined the bid and is interested in participating in the relating project.

During his visit to Canada on July 29-August 2 Beglaryan also met with the president of the Canadian Space Agency Leclerc and a senior official from Canadian Export Development Agency John Miller to discuss the possibility of Canadian participation in Armenia’s space program.

The Armenian transport and communications ministry began last October the process of reconciling a feasibility study with Russian company Geyser-Telecom for manufacturing a broadcasting satellite. Currently 71.4 E positions is free from satellites.

According to some estimates, the Armenian government will have to attract private investment in the project worth an estimated $250 million. The Armenian government first announced plans to launch a satellite in 2012 spring after senior officials from Russia’s Federal Space Agency, also known as Roscosmos, visited Yerevan and met with Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan. -0-

Armenian MES intends activating deformograph in Garni observatory

YEREVAN, February 16. /ARKA/. The Armenian Ministry of Emergency Situations (MES) intends to activate the unique deformograph in Garni observatory which displays even the most minor alterations in the Earth’s crust, Armen Yeritsyan, the Emergency Minister, said Thursday.

On the Thursday session Yeritsyan turned to the Prime-minister Tigran Sargsyan asking for the support in restarting the unique equipment.

Sargsyan, in his turn, instructed the relevant structures to discuss this issue with the interested sides, particularly with the National Academy of Sciences and the American company, currently exploiting the Garni observatory.

Yeritsyan said that the deformograph hasn’t been used for more than 20 years, however today the recent and frequent earthquakes happening in the region underscored the necessity of its moderation and re-using.

“It is an equipment which is unique for the entire region. It monitored the alterations in the Earth’s crust two days prior to the Spitak earthquake in 1988. However, due to it being new, the specialists thought it was defective”, the Minister said.

Yeritsyan reported that the Garni observatory is located at the 60 meters depth, and the deformograph itself- 360 meters. According to him, this is the only observatory located on the Garni fault in the region.

The minister also said that in 2011 about 15 earthquakes of 3.0 points happened in Armenia, and in 2012 the seismologists already monitored 3 analogical earthquakes.

Yeritsyan also said that there are about 4,5 thousand high-rise buildings in Armenia, the seismic resistance of which is calculated up to 7.0 points. -0-

16:32 16.02.2012

Erebuni - December 9, 2013 01:49 PM (GMT)
Smartphones, tablets production to launch in Armenia
December 6, 2013 - 19:18 AMT

PanARMENIAN.Net - Armenia will launch production of locally made smartphones and tablets.

The new Android-based devices - Armphone and Armtab - were developed by an Armenian-American joint venture, Technology and Science Dynamics Inc/Armtab Technologies Company.

As the venture chief Vahan Shakaryan stated at a Prime Minister-chaired industrial council meeting, trial versions of the 3D WiFi tablets with 7,85; 9, 97 and 10,1inch displays have been assembled in line with international standards, yet to be offered at much lower prices.

The design and software for the devices will be managed in Armenia while the assembly will be implemented in the U.S. and Hong Kong.

The meeting participants further focused on the prospects of the devices at the Armenian market as well as export possibilities, with mass production planned for early 2014.

In conclusion, a gift of the first Armenian-made tablet was given to Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan.

Chip manufacturing plant to be opened in Armenia

YEREVAN, December 12. /ARKA/. Armenia’s Economy Minister Tigran Davtyan and the head of Argentina’s Corporación América company Eduardo Eurnekian signed the Memorandum on opening a chip manufacturing plant in Armenia, the executive body reported to ARKA on Tuesday.

According to the source, the sides agreed on the Memorandum within the framework of ArmTech Congress being held in the Silicon Valley, California.
Argentina’s Corporación América conducts a concession management of Yerevan’s Zvartnots International Airport.

ArmTech Congress 2012 was kicked off in the Silicon Valley on Monday. The venue place is the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at Stanford University. Armenia’s delegation is headed by PM Tigran Sargsyan.

According to the government of Armenia, PM Sargsyan declared yesterday in front of the Congress guests and participants that IT is one of the key and strategic sectors of the Armenian economy.
“We have some definite privileges in the region, and we will use them. First and foremost, the privilege is the high rate of literacy among our population, good traditions of teaching Mathematics and Sciences linked to the Soviet times, and a huge academic potential in this sphere,” Mr. Sargsyan said adding the republic has all the necessary infrastructure and professional potential for technological industry development.

PM also highlighted the special role of the Armenian Diaspora in IT development through promoting partnership between Armenia and the world largest IT companies.

There are over 350 IT companies in Armenia, of them 107 are the affiliates of foreign companies, according to him. The total turnover of the sphere is $205 million, of them export accounts for $120 million. Currently, 6760 people are working in the sphere, and this figure is constantly growing.
The head of Armenia’s government also highlighted the important role of education for IT development welcoming Luys foundation’s support to the young Armenians in pursuing their academic degrees in the world’s top 10 universities.

During his visit, Mr. Sargsyan met with young Armenian specialists from the Silicon Valley, who presented their collective initiative on establishing the single network for IT specialists.

ArmTech is alternately held in the Silicon Valley, California, and Armenia. San Francisco hosted the fist Congress on 4-7 July, 2007. —0--

15:06 12.12.2012

Involvement of females in it sector unprecedentedly high in Armenia-EIF

YEREVAN, October 23. /ARKA/. The level of involvement of females into information technologies sphere is unprecedentedly high in Armenia compared to the world’s other technologically developed countries, Bagrat Yengibaryan, director of Enterprises Incubator Foundation, EIF, said Tuesday.

“No country has such indicator. In average, the level of involvement of females into IT sector in developed states is up to 10%; Armenia reported 35%,” Yengibaryan said at the meeting of Council for IT development under the supervision of Armenia’s Prime Minister.

The number of IT workers is growing year by year in Armenia, according to him.
“If some 6,780 people worked in IT sector last year, the number of workers rose to 7,800 (15% up) in 2012,” he said.

Yengibaryan also highlighted that if 3-4 years ago over 70% of IT specialists in Armenia worked in organizations with international capital, today the number of workers in companies with domestic and foreign capitals is approximately equal.

In 2000 Armenia’s government announced IT sphere an economic priority. Nowadays, there are nearly 350 ICT enterprises in Armenia.

According to UITE, Armenia saw a 30% year-on-year growth in IT sector in 2011 totaling in $205 million. EIF expects to see 25% growth in 2012. —0-

16:19 23.10.2012

ICANN may register Armenian-lettered domain

YEREVAN, September 12. / ARKA /. Armenian public organization "Internet Society" will ask the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) to register domains by Armenian letters հայ (hay). Speaking at a news conference Internet Society deputy head Giorgy Saghyan said he expects a broad public debate on this topic to find out whether the move is correct.

According to him, the idea to obtain a domain name in Armenian letters is good on the one hand, but on the other hand there is a recognition problem of such addresses by foreign users because in many countries Armenian fonts are not activated. Also, according to Saghyan, this idea needs serious work of programmers.

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN is non-profit private organization headquartered in the California, USA It was created in 1998 to oversee a number of Internet-related tasks previously performed directly on behalf of the US government by other organizations, notably the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA), which ICANN now operates. ICANN is responsible for the coordination of the global Internet's systems of unique identifiers and, in particular, ensuring its stable and secure operation. -0-

15:51 12.09.2013

Erebuni - December 9, 2013 01:59 PM (GMT)
Armenia to export drones to Denmark

YEREVAN, October 2. /ARKA/. Armenia will be exporting drone aircrafts to Denmark, Executive Director of Union of Information Technology Enterprises Karen Vardanyan told Novosti international press center Wednesday.

Armenia held its first ArmRobotics competition of drones in June. Five teams participated in the competition and presented their aircrafts that investigate territory, recognize signs, transfer images online, throw out loads of up to 300 grams and return them to the initial point.

One of the winners has already registered a company and produced the first commercial drone, Vardanyan said.

According to a preliminary agreement, about 10 drones will be manufactured monthly and the aircraft will be used for agro explorations in Denmark and aerial survey of sown areas.

“It is a big step forward for Armenia, which will allow us entering the global drone market and it is the first step to seek international partners to further develop the field”, Vardanyan said.

Vardanyan also said drones produced in Armenia may be used for defence, for panorama video of highways and detection of traffic jams and violations in particular.

Some 55 robotics study groups have been organized by the Union in secondary schools throughout Armenia to boost technology development in the country.

The Union of Information Technology Enterprises of Armenia was established in 2000 for securing IT companies’ economic interests, boosting business and promoting studies in the area. The Union currently unites several dozens of Armenian high and information technology companies. –0—

14:44 02.10.2013

Drone contest to be held in Armenia on Sunday

YEREVAN, June 1./ARKA/. The training airport in Armenian Arzni town will be hosting a drone contest as a part of ArmRobotics championship on June 2, the Union of Information Technology Enterprises (UITE) reported to ARKA on Saturday.

Five teams are said to participate in the contest. The participants have created unmanned aerial vehicles which survey territories, identify markings, transmit the images in an online mode, jettison freight of up to 300 grams and return to the starting point.

The take-off and landing of the drones can be managed by remote control, or the self-control function can be activated.

The organizer of ArmRobotics are UITE, general sponsor is VivaCell-MTS, technical sponsor-Artin Varuzhan company. The contest is being assisted also by the ministry of defense and Armenian State Engineering University.

ArmRobotics has been held in Armenia since 2008. Its first project was “Line tracking robot.”

The Union of Information Technology Enterprises was established in 2000 to protect IT companies’ interests, promote business development and encourage studies in IT industry. Now dozens of IT companies are the union members. -0—

14:47 01.06.2013

55 heads of Robotic Engineering Groups from Armenia’s provinces to be trained in Yerevan

YEREVAN, July 23. /ARKA/. A one-month retraining course was launched today at Mkhitar Sebastatsi education center in Yerevan for heads of robotic engineering groups.

This course will provide 55 heads of robotic engineering groups from Armenia’s provinces with skills necessary for teaching robotic engineering in schools.

They will be trained by leading specialists at National Instruments, Simotech and Instigate education center as part of the program “Robotics Starts from School”.

At the course-launching ceremony, an understanding memorandum was signed by VivaCell-MTS, the Union of Information Technology Enterprises (UITE), the Armenian office of the World Vision International benevolent organization, Cronimet Charity Foundation, Counterpart International USAID Project, National Instruments companies, Simotech company and Instigate education center.
All the organizations wanting to join the program can sign the memorandum.

Karen Vardanyan, executive director of the Union of Information Technology Enterprises (UITE) said that the aim of this memorandum is to attract children’s interest to high technologies, particularly to robotics as well as to develop engineering way of thinking in their minds and to send already high-quality motivated students to universities.

VivaCell-MTS CEO Ralph Yirikian, on his side, said that this cooperation will lay favorable groundwork for taking important steps to transform robotic engineering from hobby into profession.
“Robotics Starts from School” program, which is being implemented in cooperation with VivaCell-MTS, Cronimet Charity Foundation as well as World Vision Armenia and Counterpart International Armenia organizations, implies creation of 55 robotic engineering groups in Armenian schools.
The groups are expected to start their activities in September 2013. ---0----

18:55 23.07.2013

Robotics courses to be taught in 50 Armenian schools

YEREVAN, February 27. /ARKA/. The Union of Information Technology Enterprises, in cooperation with VivaCell-MTS, Cronimet Charity Foundation, World Vision Armenia and Counterpart International Armenia, plan to set up robotics groups in 50 Armenian schools, Karen Vardanyan, the Executive Director of the Union of Information Technology Enterprises (UITE), told reporters on Wednesday.

The aim of this initiative is to raise interest among pupils towards robotics, develop their engineering thinking, as well as to prepare potential students for studying in technical universities.
“Year by year the number of students interested in robotics and eager to participate in robotics competitions increases, and they, by the way, have great success during the competitions.”
“In order to promote developments the Union has designed a robot set for the study groups. Currently, it is planned to carry out pilot project within the frames of which 50 Armenian schools will be provided relevant sets of educational robots”, said the UITE Executive Director Karen Vardanyan.

“The development of robotics is one of the prospects of strengthening competitiveness in our country. VivaCell-MTS supports by all possible means the initiatives meant for the development of the field. The enthusiasm, interest, students’ own demand to learn new things make schools an ideal environment for establishing a sound basis for robotics field in Armenia. Certainly, many students would wish to be specialized particularly in the robotics filed as an essential area, thus becoming carriers of advantages for competitiveness in the word”, said VivaCell-MTS General Manager Ralph Yirikian.
He added that the development of robotics will distinctly reduce the “brain outflow.”

The courses for school groups will start in September 2013. Within the frames of this project it is envisaged to train the teaching staff from respective schools in June – July.
The programming of educational robots will be implemented through Labview, Microsoft robotics studio programmes.

Today there are robotics groups in the following schools of Yerevan-“AYB” high school,Polytechnic basic college and Quantum College, as for the regions, in Lori (Akhtala), Syunik (Sisian, Kapan), Shirak (Gyumri) and Aragatsotn (Talin).
The estimated cost of the project is 60 million drams. ($1-409.13). —0-

16:13 27.02.2013

Armenian schoolchildren to start building robots on their own soon

YEREVAN, May 23. /ARKA/. Armenia’s Union of IT Enterprises (UITE) will start robotics hobby groups in some 55 schools across the country, UITE executive director Karen Vardanyan said Wednesday.

The idea was given by parents who suggested the UITE creating conditions to involve children in robotics, he said.

According to Vardanyan, three years of studying in such a hobby group will give high schoolers an opportunity to earn a monthly of $240-360, even without higher education.
“And within several years they will be able to get a job with a salary of 400-500,000 drams (over $1,000)”, Vardanyan said.

Under the project, these 55 schools will get robotics sets with assembly instructions for three models. But the capabilities of the sets are much wider, and children can assembly much more models if they want, Vardanyan said.

One set will cost 500,000 drams ($1,200) and a training of a specialist to head such a school hobby group some 300,000 drams ($720).

Still, these groups will help reveal at least six gifted children in the country every year to become the IT future of Armenia, Vardanyan said.
The project director also said the ministry of education agreed to pay salaries to heads of the hobby groups.

This year such hobby groups will open in Yerevan, various regions of Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh Republic. If the project is a success, then all schools of Armenia will be included in it in two years’ time.

UITE director said younger schoolchildren have the opportunity to try Scretch, an open source programming language for kids. –0--

12:30 23.05.2013

Robotics clubs to open in all Armenian schools in 2-3 years

YEREVAN, February 15. /ARKA/. Robotics clubs will appear in all Armenian schools in two-three years, said Karen Vardanyan, Executive Director of Union of IT Enterprises (UITE).

“Actually it is quite expensive to open robotics clubs in all 1500 schools of Armenia, as the cost for each club is approximately $1500. But it will be possible to solve this problem during 2-3 years,” Vardanyan said.

He noted that the clubs’ activity will be aimed at producing an Armenian-made robot as currently educational robots are purchased in the USA.

“We are planning to involve 10-15 pupils instead of the present 4-5 for producing our own educational robot in 4-5 months because it will be kitted with a set of parts”, Vardanyan said.

He also underscored that robotics can change the entire system of education in Armenia from the very low level. In this term not only teachers but the entire educational system will have to meet the demands of prepared and smart pupils for improving the quality of education.

In his turn, VivaCell-MTS General Manager Ralph Yirikian stressed the importance of opening robotics clubs not only in Yerevan but also Armenian regions as it will give the opportunity for schoolchildren from regions to participate in the process of innovation development in Armenia.

Since 2008 UITE has been organizing ArmRobotics Open Championships.

The goal of the Championships is to restore and develop robotics in Armenia. In particular, it is aimed at finding young people interested in robotics, as well as assisting in using new technologies in business. The first contest assembled 11 teams (each containing 4 students and one advisor) from Armenia, Karabakh and Iran.

The Championship includes 5 different contests for various age groups: “Computer simulation” (for students), Line Tracking (for students), “Contest of robots that identify subjects through color and smell” (no age restriction), “Marble crossing” (for schoolchildren) and “Robot-Sapper” (no age restriction). –0—

13:02 15.02.2012

Training robots given to five education establishments in Yerevan
YEREVAN, February 15. /ARKA/. Five education establishments in Yerevan have received training robots from the Union of Information Technology Enterprises (UITE) and VIvaCell-MTS telecommunication company for robotics classes.

These robots have been given to Gymnasium Kvant, Polytechnic Gymnasium, Mkhitar Sebastatsi education center as well as high schools N131 and Ayb.

“We noticed last year that Armenian schoolchildren are actively involved in robotics, and this already produces certain results thanks to robotics classes in schools,” said Karen Vardanyan, the UITE executive director.

He also said that contests would be held this year to find talented young persons and involve them in new technology business.

The competition of creation of drone aircrafts will be among these contests. Along with Armenian teams, foreign groups from the United States, Spain, Belarus and Russia will compete here.

VivaCell-MTS CEO Ralph Yirikian, on his side, said that robotics is a very promising area having high prospects for development.

“Revival of interest in robotics among teenagers and robotics classes in schools will propel progress in this area,” he said.

UITE held its first ArmRobotics Open in 2008. Eleven teams from Armenia, Nagorno-Karabakh Republic and Iran competed in it. ArmRobotics Open consists of five competitions - Computer Simulation (for university students), Line Tracking (for university students), the competition of robots identifying objects by color and size (without age restrictions),
Marble Crossing (for school students) and Field Engineer Robot (without age restrictions). -0-

18:38 15.02.2012

Erebuni - April 21, 2014 07:06 AM (GMT)
Tablet made in Armenia – the next big thing? [updated]
Jan 20, 2014 4:52pm by Monica Ellena

It sounds improbable. Dogged by closed borders with Turkey and Azerbaijan, a narrow export base, pervasive monopolies and an over-reliance on remittances from abroad, Armenia’s economic future poses plenty of questions. Could one answer come in the shape of a tablet?

In December, Technology and Science Dynamics Inc/ArmtabTechnologies Company, an American-Armenian joint-venture, announced the first tablet and smartphone made-in-Armenia. Both Android-run, the ArmTab and the ArmPhone were designed in Yerevan. The joint-venture initially said assembly would take place in Hong Kong and the US but it subsequently received approval from Armenia’s authorities and the products will both be assembled at the free economic zone in Yerevan. The producer said the devices would be available to wholesalers and retailers in the second or third quarter of 2014, and were aimed mainly at markets in the region.

The idea may not, in fact, be as improbable as it sounds. Dubbed the Soviet Silicon Valley, pre-independence Armenia had more scientists and specialists per capita than any other Soviet republic. Nearly 30 per cent of hi-tech computer and electronic equipment used for Soviet defence and space systems were developed and produced in and around the capital, Yerevan.

The government now hopes a re-energised Information and Technology industry will turn this small, landlocked Caucasus nation into an e-society. The government’s 10-year industry development strategy, adopted in 2008, focuses on building infrastructure, improving the quality of IT graduates and creating venture capital and other financial mechanisms to support start-ups.

In 2012 there were about 360 IT companies in Armenia, with average annual growth of 23 per cent, according to the Enterprise Incubator Foundation, the country’s leading IT consulting firm. Revenues accounted for 3.3 per cent of national GDP, with the industry contributing 8 per cent of total exports. About one in 10 of the companies has a turnover of $1m and over. The number of small outfits with less than $100,000 in revenues increased significantly during the last five years and, although they don’t have a visible impact on the industry’s aggregate numbers, their rise is a signal of the dynamism in the market.

“The industry is thriving,” says Bagrat Yengibaryan, EIF’s director. “Of eight start-ups in 2012, six were local businesses and we registered a 10 per cent growth in start-ups last year. For 2013, we are talking about $300m in revenues. Most companies focus on software development. Major firms like Pixar are starting to use Armenian products. Partnerships with heavyweights like Microsoft and Singapore Tech Kinetics are still essential but a new wave of specialized professionals are exploring new fields.”

Web entrepreneurs cram small offices around Yerevan, looking for the next PicsArt, the world’s leading mobile photo editor app for android and iOS which has more than 90m users and is a fully made-in-Armenia app.

Although Armenia’s figures are tiny compared with the likes of India, they are significant enough to grab the attention of international corporations. In 2011, Microsoft established an Innovation Center in the capital and the same year Armenia and India set up a joint Center for Excellence in Information Communication Technologies at Yerevan State University.

Through events like ArmTech, an Armenian global high-tech congress organised every year in the US, the government aims to build the international profile of Armenia’s IT industry. Unusually in Armenia, the sector is also high competitive. A recent report by the World Bank highlights that about 20 per cent of the economy is monopolized, the highest rate among former Eastern bloc countries. Oligopolies control nearly two thirds of the economy.

Still, Yerevan will not turn into the next Hyderabad just yet.

“We are still talking of a niche market,” says Yengibaryan. “The main challenge local companies face is entering international markets, as many international partners either don’t know Armenia or simply don’t trust low or middle income country representatives.”

In 2012, Armenia exported $120m’s worth of IT software and services, mostly to the US, Canada and the European Union. The decision to join Moscow’s customs union in September 2013 scuppered progress towards an Association Agreement with the European Union, including a free trade deal. But it may also provide an opportunity for the IT sector to boost its exports to Russia and other former Soviet republics.

“The custom union can represent an interesting option to expand the industry’s potential markets, ranging from engineering to fully-integrated products that the sector is strengthening,” says Yengibaryan. “ArmTab is a good quality tablet with interesting hardware and innovative design. I can see it well placed in markets from Belarus to Kazakhstan.”

[This post has been updated to show that the products will be assembled in Armenia.]

Erebuni - April 25, 2016 07:24 AM (GMT)
Former CEO of Hitachi to Publish Book on Armenian Innovation
April 20, 2015

user posted image
Former Hitachi CEO Tsugio Makimoto (right) receives the Global IT Award from Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian

YEREVAN (Arka)—The former CEO of Japan’s Hitachi Company, Tsugio Makimoto, is set to publish a book titled “Armenia As An Innovative Country,”* the Director of Viasphere International, Tony Moroyan, reported to a news conference Monday.

Moroyan said that after the publication of the book in Japan, it will be translated into Armenian and English.

He said Makimoto is determined to help as many people in Japan as possible learn about the Armenian people.

Tsugio Makimoto is one of five foreign recipients of the Global IT Award, awarded by the Armenian President in recognition of foreign specialists’ outstanding contributions to the development of IT in Armenia.

Moroyan also announced that Mario Mazzola, Development Director at Cisco Systems, will donate $1 million to the American University of Armenia (AUA) to serve as a scholarship fund for needy students.

Mario Mazzola is also a recipient of the Global IT Award.

AUA rector Armen Ter-Kyureghyan said some 20 students will be receiving annual scholarships.

*The book was published in 2015 and is called:
IT立国アルメニア = Armenia as IT Country : 中東・コーカサスに輝くシリコンバレー /
Aiti rikkoku arumenia : Chuto kokasasu ni kagayaku shirikonbare.

Japan may use Armenia-developed alternative energy technology

user posted image

YEREVAN, June 17. / ARKA /. Japan is ready to use alternative energy technologies, developed by Armenian researchers, Junichi Nakazawa, the executive director of the Armenian-Japanese Association, said today in Yerevan.

He said in Armenia he was shown a technology developed by Barva innovative research center for processing of biomass. He said it could be used in his country.

Aram Vardanyan, head of Barva innovative research center, said the technology can produce gas, identical to natural gas, imported from Russia, from any biomass, but its cost is 10-15 times cheaper.
He said this technology could be used to build small power plants able to produce up to 1.5 billion cubic meters of gas per year, as much as consumed by Armenia annually.

According to him, Armenia may build 2-3 thousand small power plants, each costing about $3,000. He said the cost of one cubic meter of such gas will be $20-30, and the cost of a kWh electricity -5 drams. He said this technology is expected to be introduced in Armenia in a year.

Barva research center’s focus is on production of anti-hail systems, photovoltage power plants, as well as development and production of equipment to combat early spring frosts. -0-

18:48 17.06.2014

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