Osipyan was born in Moscow and graduated from Georgi Kurdyumov's class at Moscow Institute of Steel and Alloys in 1955. His first scientific work puLater, he summarized his interest in science: In late 1950s and 1960s Osipyan worked on the extended effects of interaction of electrons with solid matter and discovered the effect of optical excitation of plastic properties in semiconductors. Also in 1960s Osipyan released his theory of dislocations in semiconductor crystal structure.
In 1962 Osipyan became a cofounder and director of the Institute of Solid State Physics in Chernogolovka and remained at the head of the Institute until his death. Osipyan was elected full member of Russian Academy of Sciences at the age of 37, and vice-president of the Academy in 1988—2001. He chaired the Departments of Solid State physics at Moscow State University and Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology.
Throughout his lifetime Osipyan chaired numerous academic commissions, conferences and journal boards; in 2005 he was awarded Lomonosov Gold Medal of the Russian Academy. In a 2006 interview, Osipyan summarized his creed in science: "All my life I was mining for experimental data. I am an experimenter, although I was trained in theory. In the Soviet age, creative and (most important) independent work was possible only in science. May I say that my choice was based on a will for freedom and independence."