The Fourth Byurakan International Summer School (4BISS) for young astronomers will take place on September 15-23, 2012 in Byurakan (Armenia). It is being organized jointly by the Byurakan Astrophysical Observatory (BAO) and the Armenian Astronomical Society (ArAS). The School is also devoted to the great medieval scientist Anania Shirakatsi’s 1400th anniversary and will be linked to Anania Shirakatsi – 1400 International Archaeoastronomical Meeting on “Astronomical heritage in the national culture” on Sep 25-28, so that the interested students may also participate in this event after the school. On September 18, the Award Ceremony of Viktor Ambartsumian International Prize 2012, one of the major prizes in astronomy/astrophysics will take place in the Armenian National Academy of Sciences, and the School participants will take part in it.

The Byurakan Observatory is one of the main observational centers of the former Soviet Union and is an important observatory with modern facilities in the Middle East region. It was founded in 1946 by V.A. Ambartsumian and is well known for its large spectroscopic surveys: the First and Second Byurakan Surveys, undertaken by B.E. Markarian and colleagues. The Byurakan Observatory hosts a number of medium-size optical telescopes, the most important being the 2.6m classical telescope and 1m Schmidt telescope. There are various modern astronomical instruments, including the multi-pupil spectrograph (VAGR). The Byurakan Observatory holds the Digitized First Byurakan Survey (DFBS, or the Markarian survey), containing low-dispersion spectra for ~20,000,000 objects, which is the basis of the Armenian Virtual Observatory (ArVO), a member of the International Virtual Observatory Alliance (IVOA). Many qualified specialists work presently in Byurakan, who are prepared to teach modern astrophysics to young people. In addition, a number of well-known scientists are invited to lecture during the school on various interesting topics.

Anania Shirakatsi (612-685) was the greatest Armenian scientist and one of the world greatest scientists of the Middle Ages. He was a philosopher, mathematician, cosmologist, chronologist, the founder of exact and natural sciences in Armenia. Having advanced astronomical views for his epoch and having left rich astronomical heritage, Shirakatsi is by right considered to be the founder of astronomy in Armenia.

The previous Byurakan International Summer Schools were held in 2006, 2008 and 2010 (the last one combined with the IAU ISYA-2010) and attracted each time several dozens of students from Albania, Czech Republic, Egypt, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, India, Iran, Italy, Jordan, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Spain, Turkey, Ukraine, and Armenia. Famous scientists from the USA (Daniel Weedman, Robert Williams, Lev Titarchuk, Kam-Ching Leung, Leslie Sage, Don Barry), Germany (Dieter Engels, Lutz Wisotzki, Tigran Arshakian), France (Daniel Kunth, Michel Dennefeld, Gary Mamon, Georges Alecian, Philippe Prugniel, Alain Sarkissian, Mustapha Meftah), Italy (Massimo Turatto, Corinne Rossi, Riccardo Claudi), Spain (Garik Israelian), Belgium (Jean-Pierre De Greve), Russia (Gennady Bisnovatyi-Kogan, Sergei Dodonov, Igor Chilingarian, Aleksei Moiseev), Australia (John (Hovhannes) Sarkissian), as well as Byurakan and Yerevan State University (YSU) scientists Areg Mickaelian, Tigran Magakian, Tigran Movsessian, Elena Nikogossian, Artashes Petrosian, Haik Harutyunian, Lusine Sargsyan, and Avetis Sadoyan have been the lecturers.