Open Competition 2024


From measurement to knowledge

The Cosmic Ray Division of A. I. Alikhanyan National Laboratory, the world’s biggest high-altitude cosmic ray research station for monitoring cosmic ray fluxes, declares open competition for a project in High-energy Physics in the Atmosphere (HEPA) to be performed on Aragats, see Fig.1. Aragats is a unique place for HEPA research. Each year, in May-June and September-October, tens of intense TGEs (Thunderstorm ground enhancements) covered the particle detectors with millions of electrons and gamma rays (rarely by neutrons). However, proposals for atmospheric and environmental physics experiments will also be considered. We will approach this through a multivariate, multidisciplinary analysis of physical phenomena, measuring all relevant parameters.

The competition mirrors how researchers propose to use the built, especially for this competition laboratory's unique facilities. The laboratory (9 m2 area) is equipped with an electric field sensor, a weather station, and two all-sky cameras, see Fig. 2. The mentioned facilities will be provided to the winning projects for multivariate research of Atmospheric physics phenomena, including registration of the Thunderstorm ground enhancements (TGEs), air glows, electric fields, lightning occurrences, natural gamma radiation, and other environmental studies.  Researchers/students can add particle detectors, photometers, high-speed cameras, and other equipment for their experiments. Standard data-acquisition (DAQ) electronics and online computers are anticipated to be a part of the installed facility. Multiple particle and spectrometers, weather stations, and geomagnetic and near-surface electric field monitoring systems operated on Aragats station can be used to calibrate newly installed facilities. CRD will provide the Internet connection, database, and analysis platform for storing and accessing data.

Proposals will be judged based on motivation and creativity, and the winning team will have the chance to discuss and tune their project ideas with CRD researchers before installing their facilities on Aragats. They will be invited to spend one week at Aragats (in June-August) for their experiment, with the unique opportunity to join the CRD team. The results are supposed to be summarised in a report and presented at the upcoming TEPA conferences. Students will be invited to attend planned summer school.

Projects in free format, including all proposed facility specifications, should be provided to CRD by 1 March 2024. All correspondence should go to Asaturyan Zara,, or .  The winners will be declared on March 15, 2024.

Links to the CRD site and CRD publications:

Figure 1. All four peaks of Aragats, Kare Lake, and Aragats high altitude research station located at an altitude of 3200 m.

Figure 2. Experimental Laboratory provided to the winner projects