YEREVAN — The Sixth STARMUS festival of science, music and art kiked-off today at the Karen Demirjyan sports and concert complex in Yerevan with a great concert program -SONIC Universe- featuring famous musicians Rick Wakeman, Serj Tankian, Andrey Makarevich, Tigran Hamasyan, the Sons of Apollo as well as the National Philharmonic Orchestra of Armenia.

The opening ceremony of the festival was attended by the Prime Minister, President and Chairman of the National Assembly of Armenia.

The goals of the Starmus Festival mostly coincide with the strategic vision of the Republic of Armenia, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said in his speech.

“Starmus aims to inspire, educate, strengthen and empower a new generation of researchers. This fully aligns with our vision as we continually increase funding for science. In 2022, the funding of science from the state budget has increased by about 83 percent, we are implementing large-scale reforms in the field of education,” PM Pashinyan said

“Starmus puts art and science on one platform, wants to inspire new talents by attracting talented people, to bring science closer to people and make it a tool of happiness. This is also the vision of our government. We want more and more young people in Armenia to engage in science, research, and technology. We want to know more and create more. Starmus wants to formulate as complex and even unexpected questions as possible, and it is our vision that only by formulating unformulated questions and answering those questions directly and honestly, we will be able to make Armenia the country of our dreams. And in this sense, this is a meeting at the right time and the right place for all of us,” he added.

Ahead of the official opening ceremony, members of the Festival Board and famous scientists participating in the festival shared with the mass media their vision of how important STARMUS is for Armenia and what science and the senses have in common.

STARMUS Board member and chief editor of Astronomy magazine David Eicher said he was very impressed that the festival is taking place in Armenia.

“This nation has a great a scientific heritage and we are honored to have the science and music festival in Armenia this year,” he said.

Eicher said the festival is unprecedented because it brings together science and music, the exact disciplines and the senses.

“The co-founders of the festival, Garik Israelyan and Brian May, wanted us to celebrate this constellation of minds here, the coming together of art and science in Armenia,” he added.

For his part, astrophysicist and Nobel laureate Michel Mayor stressed that humanity is currently living in a very important period in terms of technological development and opportunities for scientific research and discovery.

“Recently, there have been many discoveries in astrophysics. We have a unique opportunity to explain to people how celestial bodies originated in space and how they are interconnected,” Mayor said, adding that he is happy that STARMUS will help popularize science in Armenia.

Emmanuelle Charpentier, a microbiologist and biochemist, Nobel laureate and STARMUS board member, said she has Armenian roots and is happy to be in Armenia, which is a crossroads of science and art.

“Why is STARMUS important? Because we rarely celebrate science, and today this fusion of science and music is very important in that context,” she said.

According to Charpentier, having scientists meet in the same venue is certainly important in terms of sharing experiences and professional conversations. However, as she noted, the importance of STARMUS isn’t just that.

“It is very important that our participation and presentation of our work attracts young people as well, since science, though requiring hard work, carries an element of joy, which we are witnessing at STARMUS festival,” she underlined.

Engineer and former NASA astronaut Garrett Reisman said the coolest thing about being an astronaut is that you always get to interact with people who are always the best in astrophysics.

“STARMUS is a festival where not only distinguished scientists can participate, but also ordinary people,” he said.

The STARMUS FESTIVAL VI this year is dedicated to the 50th anniversary of the first landing on Mars. Three to five thousand participants and visitors from different countries of the world are expected to arrive in Armenia.

STARMUS festival was founded by astrophysicist Garik Israelyan and legendary Queen guitarist Brian May and has been held in Spain, Norway and Switzerland since 2011. The festival is considered the only one in the world that brings together events and speakers of this scale.

Around 50 famous scientists, Nobel laureates, engineers and cosmonauts, world music and art stars will take part in the events in Armenia. The festival program (starmus.com/Armenia) includes scientific conferences, numerous cultural events, scientific camps that will present science, art and music to the public in a special way; also outside Yerevan.-

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