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.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Magen Family, together with the Departments of
Computer Science and Mathematical and Computational
Sciences Mississauga invite friends and colleagues to a
reception in memory of Professor Avner Magen.

When: Friday, May 27, 4:00 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.
Remembrances begin at 4:15pm
Where: Massey College, Common Room,
University of Toronto, 4 Devonshire Place, Toronto.

In addition to the reception the Computer Science Theory
Group will be hosting the inaugural lecture of an annual
series in memory of Professor Magen.

When: Friday, May 27, 11am.
Where: Rm 1190, Bahen Centre, 40 St. George Street.
Speaker: Professor Nathan Linial of the School of Computer
Science and Engineering, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Title: "What is high dimensional combinatorics?"

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Yotam Eviatar

If you hear me up there, in heaven, I love you.
There is no great uncle in the world like you.
And if I'm wrong, you are the greatest uncle in
outer space.
Unfortunately I can not tell you how much I've
changed and how much I miss you.

I didn't see you lot of times since you left to Toronto,
and now I don't have a chance to ask what about you
and Roy, Noa and Ofri.

But do not worry about it, I saw all your children which
are also my cousins and I saw Ayelet and all her family.
I miss you and I hope no matter what I am going to meet

Miss you and also miss Ayelet, Roy, Noa, and Ofri.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Anton Piatigorsky

Dear Ayelet, Ro'ee, No'a and Ofri,

Although we first met years ago, only recently did I have
the opportunity to get to know Avner a bit better. During
two recent play dates with Ofri and my son Reuben, I had the
chance to speak at length with him about his work and mine,
our lives, Toronto's old shore line, travel, etc. I liked
him immensely. In the second play date, at your house, just
a couple of weeks before he died, we spoke of Etgar Keret's
stories, among other things, and I was greatly touched when
Avner brought out a collection and proceeded to read me the
story "Second Chance", translating as he read. So rarely
does one adult read to another, especially for such a simple
reason – because he loved a piece of writing and thought I
would enjoy it. I thought it was such a simple and heartfelt
act of generosity on his part.

That story has particular resonance - as clear from the
title. I doubt I'll ever forget it, or his reading. Nor will
I forget him. I was excited by the prospect of my new
friendship with Avner. I'm sick with grief at your loss.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Allison Doerr

I met Avner when my husband Iannis was a postdoc at the University of Toronto. Whenever I would work from Iannis's office, Avner would often stop by to chat about their research. There was always a lot of laughter and references to Curb Your Enthusiasm. Avner was always friendly and smiling; it was clear that he was very well liked by all of the graduate students and postdocs in the computer science department.

One memorable day, Avner and Iannis were working on a proof on the whiteboard. The proof was so complex that they ran out of Greek letters to use as variables, so Avner, with a glint in his eye, decided they needed to invent a new symbol which he called "xona". Much laughter ensued; Avner was so pleased and amused by his invention. Several months later he recounted the story in an impromptu speech at our wedding; remembering it even now still makes me laugh.

My best wishes to Avner's family who have suffered an unthinkable loss; I hope you find the strength to heal. We will miss Avner very much.

Shimi Tagner and family


כך באמצע שנות חייך

שהחיים היפים עוד לפניך

קשה לעמוד ולהספיד אדם

שבנסיבות טראגיות ליבו נדם.

אבנר,היית לכולנו נר

נר שדולק ומאיר את הדרך

אדם עם אישיות ובעל ערך

הקמת משפחה לתפארת

אתה ורעייתך איילת.

הקדשת מזמנך הפנוי לחינוך ומשחק

ולא התלוננת על עייפות וכוחך נשחק

את כישוריך העריכו מאוד ילדיך

וכעת יהיה להם קשה בלעדיך

את אהבתך לילדים ולאיילת

הקדשת למסעדה,טיול בהרים,או בטיילת

אדם צנוע וישר

ומעל הכל גם יקר

אהבתך לטיולים בחגים ובשבתות

סחפה את כל המשפחה בחוויות

אך בליבך עמוק,היה נטוע תחביב

ולא חשוב אם זה בחורף או באביב

והוא אתגר בטיפוס על כל הר

שבסופו הביא את מותך המר.

ולכם עופרי,נועה,רועי ואיילת מגן

אלוהים ישמור עליכם,ויגן

הכאב עם הסתלקותך הוא חד

וזיכרונך יישאר עימנו לעד.

יהיה זכרך ברוך

איתכם תמיד משפחת טגנר:אתי וזאב,שלומית,אורן ועדי,רומי ושי,שימי קרן וגל.


In The middle life
Beautiful life ahead of you
It is Difficult to eulogize a man
That In Tragic circumstances is Heart had stopped.

Avner, you have been a candle for all of us
A Candle that was lighting the way
A person with valuable personal
You have Establish a wonderful family
You and your wife Ayelet.

You have dedicate your spare time to education and play

And did not complained of fatigue
Your children appreciated Your skills very much

And Now It will be hard without you
Your love for your children and Ayelet
Dedicate to the restaurant, a trip to the mountains, or stroll
Modest and honest person
Above all beloved.

Your love for travel during holidays and on Saturdays
Swept the whole family experiences
But deep in your heart, was planted the Hobby
No matter if it's winter or spring
This is the challenge to climb any mountain
Eventually led to the bitter death.

And To you Ofri, Noa, Roee Ayelet Magen
God protect you
The pain with your death is sharp

Your memory will remain with us forever.

Blessed be your memory

Always with you Tagner's Family: Eti & Zeev ,Shlomit, Oren & Adi, Romi & Shay , Shimi Keren & Gal.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Jeremy Cho

For me, one of Avner's greatest strengths as an adviser was
his sharp attention to detail and desire to understand every
step of an argument that was presented to him. At first I
found this to be intimidating and often spent late nights
before meetings refining my proofs and even attempting to
predict the clarifying questions he would ask. As a result,
I gradually began crystalizing my thoughts in the same way
that Avner did - with an intuitive geometric picture instead
of the rambling narrative I was so accustomed to. The fact
that he treated my ideas with a level of respect and
interest normally reserved for seasoned researchers also
provided a vital boost to my self-confidence at a time when
I was unsure about my place in graduate school.

There are many Avner moments that will be forever etched in
my memory - our multi-part conversations on the merits of
the phrase "it is what it is", the day I walked into his
combinatorial optimization final with an arsenal of Red
Bulls and the good-natured ribbing I received in the many
months to follow, and the endless amusement he derived from
my dependency on goose-down jackets on days when he would be
wearing shorts. In one of our last conversations, I shared
with him my dilemna of what I should do following my
Master's degree and the response I got was typical Avner -
honest, thoughtful, encouraging, and of course peppered with
his irreplaceable sense of humor. For all these reasons and
more, I will never forget him.

Cathy Indig

I will remember Avner fondly for a man who truly adored his
family. I was able to witness his relationship with Ofri on
a daily basis as the two of them came in each morning,
usually with rosy cheeks from the bike ride they has just
taken. Rain, sun or snow, they pedaled their way to the
MNjcc. Avner always had a smile on his face and it was quite
evident that he adored his son. They would both come in
happy and singing.

Avner, we will miss you dearly.