On the initiative of Prof. Yervant Terzian (Cornell University, NY, USA), a Project of Astronomical
Lectures in the Armenian schools was conducted by ArAS during November 2012.
Senior schools in Yerevan and Armenian provinces together with the RA Ministry of Education and Science (Minister Mr. Armen Ashotyan and Vice-Minister for school affairs Mr. Manuk Mkrtchyan) were selected, altogether, 30 schools, including 18 senior and specialized schools in Yerevan and 12 senior schools in all 10 provinces (schools in Armavir, Ashtarak, Byurakan, Garni, Gavar, Goris, Gyumri, Hrazdan, Ijevan, Jermuk, Masis, and Vanadzor). Among the Yerevan specialized schools, there were Anania Shirakatsi and “Ayb” colleges and the Special College of the Armenian State Engineering University (ASEU), as well as the School for Young Leaders (SYL). The senior schools covered were from each Yerevan administrative district. Contacts were maintained with the directors of the schools who organized all local matters to receive the lecturers and allocate appropriate time for the meetings. On the other hand, a team of lecturers among the astronomers was selected based on their knowledge, teaching experience and willingness to participate in the project, altogether 8 people:
Since a few years ago Astronomy is not being taught in the Armenian schools and this project was a chance to partially compensate this gap. As only one lecture was planned in each school, it was decided to jointly prepare a general presentation (a Powerpoint file) on “Wonders of the Universe”, which included information on the history and modern state of astronomy, its present developments, achievements of the Byurakan Astrophysical Observatory (BAO) led by the outstanding scientist Viktor Ambartsumian and other famous astronomers, and a lot of beautiful pictures from the Universe. Dr. Elena Nikogossian, Marietta Gyulzadyan, Dr. Areg Mickaelian, and Gohar Harutyunyan contributed in the preparation of the presentation.
In addition, a number of promotional materials were prepared and produced to distribute in the schools for libraries, teachers and pupils. ArAS and BAO publications were used as well and some were published or produced in frame of this project. The following materials were distributed:
One of the goals of the project was the discovery of talented and interested in astronomy pupils to maintain further contacts with them and follow their further growth as potential future scientists. For this, special forms were prepared and distributed in schools as feedback from this project. Hundreds of pupils have filled in and returned these forms with their contact data. Some of the directors of the schools have sent to us gratitude letters and others have suggested continue such lectures and organize astronomical groups in their schools.
During the whole period of the project communication was maintained with the RA Ministry of
Education and Science and with the directors of the selected schools. The days and hours of all
the lectures were distributed. The biographies of the lecturers were made up and sent to the
directors of the corresponding schools, as well as packages with promotional materials for each of
them were prepared. The project (the lectures) lasted from November 7 to 30. As agreed
beforehand, all lectures were organized in classrooms with projectors. To the schools in provinces,
the lecturers traveled and spent typically half a day and in case of remote provinces, 1 or 2 days.
We express our deep gratitude to the sponsors of the project: Yervant Terzian (USA), Araxy Bablanian (USA) and Yeran Tchelikjian (Canada).
It is possible that this program will be continued in 2013 and in the future to visit more schools and establish more contacts with the interested pupils.