This site is for family, friends, and colleagues of Avner Magen to post their thoughts and memories of him. Avner died in a climbing accident on May 29, 2010, in Alaska.

Avner was a beloved and devoted father, husband and son; a terrifically warm, funny, and energetic person; a brilliant and creative researcher; and a wonderful friend and colleague.

Please share your stories, memories and words of support by sending an email to You may also post comments to any entry. Visit this Photo Site for a photo memorial of Avner and his family and friends. Instructions for adding pictures appear next to the album.

More details appear on the Avner Magen Memorial page.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Siavosh Benabbas

Four years ago when I first arrived in Toronto I stayed at a
friend's place for a week. I remember at my first meeting
with Avner he asked if I was still jet lagged and our common
friend interjected saying I was going to bed at 8. Avner, in
his usual half serious half joking tone said hey just
because he is staying at your place doesn't mean you can say
all his personal things to everyone. In a couple of days
Avner would ask me to stop calling him "Professor Magen" in
emails, just "Avner" will do, and in a week I would meet his
family for the first time in the department picnic and play
soccer with my advisor and my perception of an advisor would
completely change.

Avner was the kind of person who always had lots of things
going on but always made time for his students. Through much
of the past four years we had meetings twice a week, I have
been asked by other students if I could get anything
meaningful done for the next meeting in half a week but the
truth is the hours immediately following my meetings were
often the most productive time of my week. Not only because
he often had some great intuition, ideas or references about
what I was working on, but also because he was an extremely
energetic person and this energy was really transferred to
you. You felt refreshed, motivated, inspired.

Avner was generally very friendly and close to his students,
I remember he once came to the student cookie break and we
talked a bit about research. Some time after he left one of
the other students suddenly said "wait that was your
advisor?" the general feeling you would get around Avner was
friend not advisor. As a matter fact last year when my
father got sick Avner was one of the few people that I
talked to about it. He was the kind of person you could talk
with, be it about family, politics, or research.

To me Avner was a great teacher, a great Advisor and an even
greater friend.

He will be missed.

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