Astronomy and Data Science


The 7th Byurakan International Summer School (7BISS) for Young Astronomers will take place on 7-12 September 2020 in the Byurakan Astrophysical Observatory (BAO), Armenia. This will be the 7th school of the series of Byurakan International Summer Schools (BISS) founded in 2006 and being held once every 2 years, one of the most important and regular astronomical summer/winter schools in the world. According to the analysis of the IAU Division C (Education, Outreach and Heritage), BISS is among the top-3 astronomical schools in the world (together with IAU ISYAs and Vatican schools, VOSS), as well as the NEON/OPTICON schools are among the best ones.

This time BISS focuses on Data Science and it is entitled “Astronomy and Data Science”, as it will be followed by a Symposium “Astronomical Surveys and Big Data 2” (ASBD-2, 14-18 Sep 2020). During the school the students will have lectures and practical tutorial sessions on Astronomical Surveys, Digitization of astronomical data, Astronomical Catalogues, Databases and Archives, Astrostatistics and Astroinformatics, Big Data in Astronomy and Virtual Observatory tools. The first ASBD in 2015 was very successful with participation of representatives of large surveys, VO projects and computer scientists and we will continue with its update in 2020. Active students that will propose talks for ASBD-2 meeting, will be also invited to participate in it and stay in Byurakan for the second week as well.

In addition, on 18 Sep 2020, we expect the Official Award Ceremony of Viktor Ambartsumian International Science Prize 2020.

BAO is one of the main observational centers of the former Soviet Union and is an important observatory with modern facilities in the region. It was founded in 1946 by the outstanding Armenian scientists V. A. Ambartsumian (1908-1996) and is well known for its large spectroscopic surveys: the First and Second Byurakan Surveys (FBS and SBS), undertaken by B. E. Markarian (1913-1985) and colleagues. BAO hosts a number of medium-size optical telescopes, the most important being the 2.6m classical telescope and 1m Schmidt telescope. BAO holds the Digitized First Byurakan Survey (DFBS, or the Digitized Markarian survey), containing low-dispersion spectra of ~20,000,000 objects, which has been included in UNESCO “Memory of the World” documentary heritage list and which is the basis of the Armenian Virtual Observatory (ArVO), a member of the International Virtual Observatory Alliance (IVOA). BAO and Armenia host the IAU South West and Central Asian Regional Office of Astronomy for Development (SWCA ROAD) and support the development of astronomy in Armenia, Georgia, Iran, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Turkey.

BAO is known for important meetings and summer schools. 6 IAU Symposia and Colloquia have been organized here (1966, 1986, 1989, 1998, 2001 and 2013). The European Annual Meeting JENAM was organized by BAO in Yerevan in 2007. The first international meeting on Communication with Extraterrestrial Intelligence (CETI) was organized in Byurakan in 1971. We have organized a UNESCO Conference “Astronomical Heritage of the Middle East” in 2017. BAO-ESO Summer School was organized in 1987. Many other meetings and schools have been organized as well.

MSc and PhD students in astronomy and young astronomers are eligible for 7BISS, as well as some BSc students at their later stages may apply. The school can accommodate up to 20 foreign students. English is the working language of the school, so excellent knowledge of English is required.

All local expenses for 7BISS will be covered by the organizers. In addition, we can offer a limited number of partial travel grants for students from IAU South West and Central Asian Regional Office of Astronomy for Development (SWCA ROAD) member countries (Georgia, Iran, Turkey, Tajikistan, and Kazakhstan) and few more grants to other nationality students. If you would like to take part also in the ASBD-2 meeting, please follow the link to register. The 7BISS applicants, who will apply for a contribution during the ASBD-2 meeting and will be selected as an oral talk presenter by the decision of SOC of ASBD-2, those students will have priority to be selected for 7BISS and to be waived from the registration fee for ASBD-2 and local expenses during ASBD-2 meeting.