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In memory of Vigen Chaltykyan

April 2015 Number 103

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In memory of Vigen Chaltykyan (5 August 1942 – 21 November 2014)

photo The scientific community of Armenia recently suffered a great loss, the passing away of Vigen Chaltykyan, Doctor of Physical and Mathematical Sciences, Senior Scientist of the Institute for Physical Research (IPR) of the National Academy of Sciences of Armenia, Professor of the Base Chair of the Russian-Armenian (Slavonic) University at the IPR, and Deputy Chief Editor of the Armenian Journal of Physics.

Vigen Chaltykyan, a man of exceptional scientific professionalism and son of well-known Armenian chemist H Chaltykyan, was born in Yerevan on 5 August 1942. In 1964, after graduating from the Faculty of Physics of Yerevan State University, he began his scientific career at the Institute of Radiophysics and Electronics of the Academy of Sciences of Armenia and joined the Theoretical Department of the IPR upon its creation in 1968. He obtained his PhD in 1970 and became a senior research fellow of IPR in 1972. As a theoretician, he contributed to the development of an absorption-polarization method for the measurement of atomic constants within the group headed by Academician Melist Movsessian. Results of his research work in the 1970–80s are today widely used in experiments in new areas of modern physics, including quantum computing. He is known for his pio- neering work on the theory of adiabatic transfer of atomic population in three-level systems by a sequence of laser pulses (STIRAP), research that was published in 1975 and experimentally confirmed in the 90s by K. Bergmann’s group in Germany. His studies of the polarization states of bi-photons, carried out in 1985, underlie modern methods of generating entangled states. For his Habilitation (1996), he made a systematic study of magneto-optical effects in resonant media. Despite a weak heart, he continued his research work until his last days. Just two weeks before his death, he submitted an article on recording and retrieval of optical information.

Chaltykyan engaged enthusiastically in teaching activities and in the training of young researchers and students, helping them to describe their results clearly and accurately. Being fluent in three foreign languages, English, German and French, he never refused to translate a student’s or colleague’s article for submission to international journals, often even rewriting the article to make it “more physical”.

An erudite man, he was interesting to talk to, surprisingly modest and friendly, always ready to listen and help to find the right words in difficult moments, or to share the joy. Scientific excellence, broad worldview, honesty and integrity, and demanding standards, first of all to himself – these are all qualities that were inherent to Chaltykyan, the scientist and the man.

Vigen Chaltykyan will remain forever in the memory of his numerous colleagues and students.

Prof. Gayane Grigoryan
Institute for Physical Research, National Academy of Sciences, Ashtarak, Armenia
Russian-Armenian University, Yerevan, Armenia

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International Commission for Optics

Bureau members (2011-2014):

President: Y. Arakawa;

Past-President: D. T. MooreTreasurer: J A Harrington;

Secretary: A M Guzmán, CREOL, The College of Optics and Photonics, University of Central Florida, PO Box 162700, 4000 Central Florida Blvd,Orlando, FL 32816-2700, USA; e-mail

Associate Secretary: G von Bally

Vice-Presidents, elected: J. Harvey, F. Höller, H. Michinel, J. Niemela, R. Ramponi, S-H Park, J. Zakrzewski, M. Zghal

Vice-Presidents, appointed: Y. J. Ding, J. C. Howell, S. Morgan, E. Rosas, P. Urbach, A Wagué, M. J. Yzuel

IUPAP Council Representative: C Cisneros

Editor in chief: A M Guzmán

Editorial committee:
K Baldwin, Australian National University, Australia;
J Dudley, Université de Franche-Comté, France;
William T Rhodes, Florida Atlantic University, USA.