January 12, 2021

Prof. Vasili Tsakanov passed away

It is with deep sorrow we inform that on January 11, at the age of 61, Director of CANDLE SRI, prof. Vasili Tsakanov passed away.

V. Tsakanov began his scientific career at Yerevan Physics Institute in 1981 after graduating from Rostov State University. In 1990 he defended his PhD thesis on new methods of charged particles acceleration under the supervision of prof. Eduard Laziev. In the 90’s V. Tsakanov was a visiting scientist at Technical University of Darmstadt and at the German accelerator center DESY. His research activities were dedicated to beam physics in linear accelerators for electron-positron colliders and free electron lasers. In 1998 he defended a doctoral thesis on this topic and initiated a group of Beam physics at Yerevan Physics Institute.

Under his scientific leadership, a new CANDLE third generation synchrotron light facility project in Armenia was developed and eventually a great philanthropist Mr. Jirair Hovnanian founded CANDLE Institute in 2002. From that day on V. Tsakanov was the director of the Institute.

In 2012-2015 prof. Tsakanov led the construction of AREAL laser driven RF gun based electron linear accelerator at CANDLE for experimental research in the fields of advanced accelerator concepts and ultrafast sciences. The implementation of the accelerator gave a possibility for local and foreign scientific institutions to realize contemporary research in Armenia. Starting from 2015 joint experimental projects are carried out together with the scientific groups from N. N. Semyonov Institute of Chemical Physics, DESY Accelerator Center, A.I. Burnazyan Federal Medical and Biophysical Center, Yerevan State University, National Polytechnic University of Armenia, National Agrarian University of Armenia, A. I. Alikhanyan National Science Laboratory, Institute of Molecular Biology NAS RA, M. Heratsi Yerevan State Medical University and other institutions. As a further development of AREAL facility, V. Tsakanov established a basis for the creation of free-electron laser, which is planned to be completed in 2022.

Prof. Tsakanov made every effort to establish close cooperation between Armenian and foreign research centers due to his high reputation in scientific community and exceptional merits. CANDLE was in close cooperation with German DESY national research center, Swiss Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI) and a number of international centers and laboratories. V. Tsakanov had a great contribution in the organization of the international workshop “Ultrafast Beams and Applications” which is held biennially in a close cooperation with DESY center and RA MESCS Science Committee. The aim of the workshop is to organize a forum for the scientists of the field to discuss the highlights of physics and applications of ultrafast electron and photon beams.

In 2011 V. Tsakanov was elected as a member of the International Committee for Future Accelerators (ICFA).

Along effective scientific activities, Prof. Tsakanov had a big contribution in the education and training of young specialists. In 2006-2012 he headed the Nuclear Physics Department of Yerevan State University. He initiated practical trainings for university students and regular scientific excursions for schoolchildren which are organized in “CANDLE” laboratories. Moreover, in 2019, due to his active support, the annual organization of German-Armenian Joint practical Course on Accelerator Physics, initiated by Hamburg University and CANDLE SRI, became a reality. During the course, students of Hamburg University and Yerevan State University are given the chance to perform experiments at AREAL laser driven electron accelerator and in the research laboratories of CANDLE.

Vasili Tsakanov is the author of many internationally recognized scientific works. In 2019, prof. Vasili Tsakanov was awarded the “Gold Medal” of Science Committee of Armenia for his significant contribution to the accelerator physics, international cooperation, student training and exchange.

Prof. Tsakanov was an outstanding scientist, a caring father and a husband, a devoted friend and an exceptional leader, who was highly respected by his colleagues and the Institute staff.

CANDLE team expresses sincere condolences to Vasili Tsakanov’s family, relatives and colleagues and shares with them the deep sorrow of the irreversible loss.


Vasili Tsakanov’s funeral service will take place on January 13, at 5:30pm – 7:30pm, at St. Mariam Astvatsatsin Church in Malatia-Sebastia district.

The funeral will take place on January 14, at 1pm.