MEMORIES from the

2003 European School of High Energy Physics

Tsakhkadzor, Armenia 24 August - 6 September, 2003

Mt. Aragats
Chippendale Competition
Links to student photos

The eleventh in the new series of the European School of High-Energy Physics, which took place in Tsakhkadzor, Armenia, from 24 August to 6 September, was attended by sixty-nine students coming from eighteen different countries (plus four Armenian students invited as listeners). The School was hosted in the “House of the Writers” a somewhat old-fashioned hotel located in Tsakhkadzor, a small town about 50 km north of Yerevan.  The origin of this place goes back to the 11th century when the magister Grigor Pahlavuny had founded a church named as Kecharis (later it was renamed Tsakhkadzor which means “canyon of the flowers “ in Armenian.  Nowadays this complex of four beautiful churches with patterned cross-stones is the pride of Armenian architecture. The little town - a well-known ski resort in the 60’s - is located in a valley surrounded by very nice mountains.
According to the tradition of the School, the students were sharing twin rooms, mixing nationalities and in particular Eastern with Western participants. Doctor George Pogosyan from the Yerevan State University was acting as local director of the School.
The meals were served on a buffet style. The food was typically Armenian with a lot of vegetables stuffed with meat. Three different soups were invariably served at lunch.

The lectures were held in the large, beautiful conference room with wooden walls.  The students displayed their work in the form of posters on a special evening session the first week.  The poster session was a grat success, and the posters, which were put up on the walls of the large reception hall of the Hotel, were taken down only the last day of the School.

During their free time the students had the possibility of making nice walks in the forests or in the mountains surrounding Tsakhkadzor. Nice trails starting right at the back of the hotel were leading to places with beautiful views over the landscape and the mountains and were Lake Sevan could be seen in the distance. Along the same paths a former “Soviet Winter Olympic village” could be found. This sport complex was built in 1960 and was especially used by the Soviet teams training for the Olympic Games in Mexico (1968) as Tsakhkadzor is located at the same elevation (more or less 2000 meters above sea level). The most courageous students were using an old ski lift leading up into the mountains.
Also the Hotel’s swimming pool was frequently used (i.e. day and night!).
After dinner the participants were happily gathering in the bar for drinking Armenian Cognac or in the reception hall for softer beverages and a lot of fun with music, dancing and singing.
Unfortunately a large fraction of the participants went down with atomach pain and high fever. But due to efficient care by the Hotel Manager, who happened to be a nurce, and a doctor, who happened to be staying at the hotel, most of the "patients" were up and going after only a day or two. We are very greatful to doctor Avagyan who prolonged his stay at the hotel, and who helped stopping the epidemic and made it possible for nearly everybody to conntinue their participation both in the lectures and the social activities.

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Several memorable excursions were organized: The first Wednesday was a visit to the Matanaderan, the Institute of old manuscripts, with fragments from 5th/6th century, medieval manuscripts and  with the only existing version of Ibn Batuta’s (Avicenna’s) book on geometry and which demonstrates that gravity was discussed from early medieval times.  This was followed by the Opening of the CERN traveling exhibition “Science bringing nations together” at the Yerevan State University.
The last part of the excursion was a visit to Garni and Gerard, two famous places not far from Yerevan.
Garni is a nice little city, with vineyards and fruit orchards where the main attraction is the pagan Greek Mithras temple dating back to 1st Century AD.  It was destroyed by an earthquake in 1670 and reconstructed in 1975. The temple is erected on a basalt base on top of the river Asat. There is magnificent view over the canyon and the surrounding mountains. The ruins around are those of the Garni Citadel, which was the summer residence of the Armenian kings in the third and fourth century. A beautiful concert by a little choir was also highly appreciated.

Geghart, situated  close to the gorge of the river Asat, consists of a Monastery and two chapels carved deep into the rock and is a fantastic example of medieval Armenian architecture. “Wishing trees” close the Monastery were “decorated” with strips of cloth each one representing a wish or a prayer. Inside the church after a dark corridor is the oldest chapel cut in the rocks. This chapel is about 8 square meters and has 4 columns supporting a cupola, which is nearly 9 m high. This room is breathtaking, and its quiet and spiritual atmosphere touches every visitor.  The sun illuminates the room through a decorated opening in the roof.  The choir gave another little concert in the chapel which tuned out to have a most fantastic accustics.

Leaving Geghart the school had got an additional participant. In fact Tuan was nearly upside down when he discovered a white pigeon, which could not fly.  He decided to take the bird back to the hotel where he took care of it during the remaining part of the school.
See also

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Sunday 30 August an excursion was organized to visit the cosmic ray high altitude station on Mt. Aragats.  We made a first stop at the Nor-Ambert station, at 2000 meters where Professor Ashot Chilingarian, head of the Cosmic Ray Division, gave a lecture about the scientific activities. The station was built in 1943 by the Alikhanian Brothers.  After the lecture and a nice picnic the excursion continued to the Aragats station at  3200 meters.

New science with old electronics at high altitude.

It was possible to visit some of the facilities, to walk on the shore of Lake Kari - just below South Peak of Mt Aragats, which formerly was a volcano - or to do some gentle climbing on a close mountain. Despite warnings and menacing clouds five students went off the track and got lost. Needless to say that both students and organizers were worried when night came with a terrible thunderstorm and without news from the lost students. Fortunately late at night we learned with great relief that they had finally found a safe way down and helped by mountain shepherds further down to a village. The lost time prevented us from a visit to the famous Amberd Fortress (10th-13th centuries) situated close to the road down from the station.
See also
On Wednesday 3 September an excursion was organized to Lake Sevan.  The first stop was at a nice beach where there was a children playground.  A merry-go-round was tested by some of the students with the result that Amber’s seat broke off. An injured hand and emergency transport to a nearby hospital followed, but she was fortunataely quickly back to the shore. Lake Sevan is the second largest high altitude lake in the world.  Even though many students are used to higher temperatures it did not stop them from a swim in the beautiful weather.

After the swim a visit was made to the two remaining ancient stone churches founded in 874 and sitting on top of a hill with a magnificent view. It was now time for another emergency drive to the hospital as Roberto suddenly fainted. But also he was able to rejoin the party after a short treatment.  With everybody in more or less good shape we could finally concentrate on a copious and delicious BBQ.  Pork and the lamb in large quantities went down accompanied by beer and wine before returning to the hotel during a colorful sunset over the Armenian mountains.
See also

Special Event
Meta assisted by the other female students one day organized a "mini Chippendales event" in order to elect “Mister Summer School 2003”. A good fraction of the male participants accepted the challenge and put a serious effort to present themselves as the sexiest man in the summerschool. The photo gallery demonstrate their capacity of improvisation and their ability to walk down the "pasarella". A female jury, quite impressed by their performance, marked all of them and two winners were found and given the title "the sexiest man of Summer School Armenia 2003" accompanied by a certificate proving the title. Their prize was an exclusive privilege of sharing the next dinner  with their female mates.

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The students, who had come together exceptionally quickly, created a very good atmosphere at the School, and led by the active and sympathetic Charles Pattison had also made a lot of effort to create a memorable final.
On the last evening the traditional Farewell Banquet was celebrated in the dining room especially prepared for the event.  Various delicious dishes were served at the tables accompanied by large quantities of good red wine. An orchestra played nice melodies and famous songs, and the participants took a very active part both in the singing and dancing. It was particularly pleasant to watch the Armenian guests and participants performing some of their national dances
After dinner people were "ordered by the students to go to the Lecture hall for the “happy ending ceremony.”. George and Egil both gave short pleasant farewell talks. Anecdotes collected during the two weeks of the School were turned into reasons to congratulate some "deserving" students, and small prizes were offered by JINR and CERN.

Some students had prepared sketches and Robindra, in a very fancy dress performed an African dance called the "Gumboot Dance". The story about the dance can be found at
"Gumboot Dancing originated in the Gold mines in South Africa during the oppressive Apartheid Pass Laws. Black labourers worked in total darkness for three months at a time in appalling conditions. They were chained to their work stations and were forbidden to talk to each other. They stood up to their knees in infected water causing skin diseases and ulcers resulting in lost time from work. The bosses discovered that it was cheaper to provide them with Gumboots (Wellington Boots) than to drain the mines. The miners used the Gumboots as a method of communication by slapping their boots and stamping their feet and rattling their ankle chains. Thus the miners uniform was created of Gumboots, jeans, bare-chest and bandanas to absorb eye-stinging sweat. During their free time, the  miners would sing and dance and drink together and remember their familes a thousand miles away. The tradition of Gumboot dancing was born."

The song goes like this:
lead singer:      Shosholoza...
crowd:            ...Shosholoza
lead singer:      Kulezontaba..
crowd:            ...Stimela Sphume Africa
lead singer:      Weniyabalela...
crowd:            ...Weniyabalela
lead singer:      Kulezontaba...
crowd:            ...Stimela Sphume Africa!

Students continued to perform with nice songs, some particularly "composed" for the occation. In particular we enjoyed the duo Ingo-Melissa singing a text to the music of Gershwin’s Summer Time accompanied by Sebastien playing the piano.
The Italian Student Choir interpreted “Bella Ciao”, and the text is reproducied below together with Luca Scotto Lavina's translation.

Bella Ciao

Una mattina mi sono svegliato...
This morning I awakened
Oh Bella Ciao Bella Ciao Bella Ciao Ciao Ciao...
Good-bye beautiful
Una mattina mi sono svegliato..
This morning I awakened
Ed ho trovato l'invasor..
And I found the invader
O partigiano portami via...
Oh partisan carry me away
Oh Bella Ciao Bella Ciao Bella Ciao Ciao Ciao.
Good-bye beautiful
O partigiano portami via...
Oh partisan carry me away
Che' mi sento di morir...
'Cause I feel death approaching
E se io muoio da partigiano...
And if I die as a partisan
Oh Bella Ciao Bella Ciao Bella Ciao Ciao Ciao...
Good-bye beautiful
E se io muoio da partigiano.....................
And if I die as a partisan
Tu mi devi seppellir................................
Then you must bury me
Seppellire lassu' in montagna...................
Bury me up in the mountain
Oh Bella Ciao Bella Ciao Bella Ciao Ciao Ciao.
Good-bye beautiful
Seppellire lassu' in montagna...................
Bury me up in the mountain
Sotto l'ombra di un bel fior......................
Under the shade of a beautiful flower
E tutti quelli che passeranno..
And all those who shall pass
Oh Bella Ciao Bella Ciao Bella Ciao Ciao Ciao..
Good-bye beautiful
E tutti quelli che passeranno..
And all those who shall pass
Ti diranno che bel fior..
Will tell you what a beautiful flower it is
E questo e' il fiore del partigiano..
And this is the flower of the partisan
Oh Bella Ciao Bella Ciao Bella Ciao Ciao Ciao..
Good-bye beautiful
E questo e' il fiore del partigiano..
And this is the flower of the partisan
Morto per la liberta’............
Dead for the Liberty 

Based on Telephone music a song composed for the occasion by Antoine Cazes, Charles Pattison and Sébastien Viret is reproduced below :

Small SUSY

Small SUSY, when she’s twenty,
Is a pretty good theory.
The Tevatron, and LEP
haven’t touch her virginity.
She forgets the time.
for her, life is just fine.
For not seeing the new results coming,
she closes her eyes, and in her dream...

She’s far....

Far beyond the standard...

Small SUSY, when she’s thirty,
Is a very sad theory.
The LHC discovery
has thrown her out ofthe story.
She finds some dirty tricks,
predict some new physics.
She can’t accept the evidence
that we can’t prove her existence.

She’s far....
Far beyond the standard...

Only three year of LHC,
And that's the end of small SUSY.
No sleptons found, no squarks at all !
Just another brick in the wall.
It doesn’t matter.
No one believed in her.
Too many free parameter !
But never mind game is over...

She’s far....
Far beyond the standard...

Our Father, You, the elder
Perhaps you should have done better
Because in each new collider
is hiding a SUSY killer…

The Famous SUSY Poster


The links listed below will help you to keep active memories from both working hours and free time.  Thanks to those who sent them!

Piotr Traczyk
Peter Cwetanski
Roberto Versaci
Andrew Lowe
Josef Juran
(there is also a link to download JJ's photos:, 6MB)

Our special thanks go to Andy for his initiative to create a mailing list for everyone who wants to stay in touch with the friends they made at the summer school in Armenia. Welcome to the "Club Tsakhkadzorians"!

At this point we want to thank the hotel staff and everybody else, who contributed to making the school such a success. Special thanks to the Armenian students, who helped organising and participated actively in a variety of events, and the doctor, who made it possible for the participants to take part in all these activities, in particular in the second week.

And so it remains to wait for the DVD produced by the School's own reporter and film maker engaged by George for the entire duration of the school. We assume there must be a lot of fun fixed to the disk, and we hope it will arrive soon.

This was a GREAT School.