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Another facet of Prof. Eshel Ben Yaakov's activity: collaboration in research with gifted high school students in the Alpha program who write an academic research paper for matriculation

The student Dana Venkert who conducted research under his guidance: "I always got from him the feeling that I am significant: that my research is significant, that my work is significant. He was just as interested as I was and encouraged me with contagious enthusiasm to keep moving forward"

The late Prof. Eshel Ben-Yaakov and student Dana Vankert from the Alpha Project of the Tel Aviv University's science-seeking youth program.
The late Prof. Eshel Ben-Yaakov and student Dana Vankert from the Alpha Project of the Tel Aviv University's science-seeking youth program.

The unit for science-seeking youth Dov Lautman at Tel Aviv University opened an innovative program last summer called "Alpha" whose goal is to accompany gifted and outstanding students from all over the country in writing academic-level research papers in the scope of five units for matriculation. The students are accompanied by senior researchers from Tel Aviv University. The late Prof. Eshel Ben-Yaakov, a dear person, during the past year accompanied two students from the "Alpha" program in research, lectured many times in the past to science-seeking youth students and was a mentor and role model for many of our students. We will miss him very much.
Of blessed memory.

"Eshel was one of the people I can honestly say that really changed my life. Almost a year of communication on a weekly basis and sometimes even daily, by email, Skype and phone and it was one of the most significant years of my life. "Professor Ben-Yaakov peace be upon you" soon became "Hi Eshel, how are you?" Every conversation, meeting or correspondence, he taught me something new. Both on a professional level when he shared with me his vast knowledge, research insights or another breakthrough discovery and on a personal level.

Working with him was and still is a very significant part of my life. Not long after it started, Eshel became a mentor for me. Not only a guide for work and research, but also a guide for life. The conversations never amounted to just work and you never knew where they would lead. More than once, what was supposed to be a conversation lasting a few minutes to clarify a concept would turn into a half-hour discussion. In my summary pages from the summer lectures, Eshel's lecture takes up at least five pages in which I did not summarize, but wrote almost word for word what he said, because the lecture amazed me. Added to this are at least two pages of questions that occurred to me during the process. Even students who did not have the opportunity to meet Eshel said that this was the lecture they were most impressed by or remembered from the summer, in which we heard dozens of lectures. That same evening I sent him an email and so began an amazing period that ended abruptly and prematurely.

I always got the feeling from him that I was significant: that my research was significant, that my work was significant. He was just as interested as I was and encouraged me with infectious enthusiasm to keep moving forward. He had the amazing ability to make me feel that I was doing beyond what was expected but at the same time that I was capable and could do more than that. He taught me to come up with ideas and think about what else can be improved or researched, the tools or ability will come with the love for research. Everything is always done with enthusiasm and at eye level.

He is a model for inspiration and imitation: in his vast knowledge, in his drive to explore and discover and in his approach to life. Eshel was one of the most lively people I have ever met. Even when he was very busy, he always found time to devote to me and help me, occasionally sending an email "Here is an interesting article that I saw and thought would interest you" and all while treating me not as a high school student but as a research partner.
He was truly a life teacher for me. He taught me to deal with frustration when things don't go so easily or take longer than expected. Knowing how to find a balance between the urge to work and to take a break. To know how to appreciate the little lights that suddenly fall on him and to dedicate himself to what interests and loves. Who like him, a physicist who was exceptionally successful in carrying out groundbreaking research in the fields of medicine and biology, is better suited to teach how to combine the worlds? Much of the current worldview I have is influenced by these things he taught me. I wouldn't be the person I am today if it weren't for working with him and the things he taught me during it.

I will not continue it without him, because he is still a part of it. Every part of my current research and every future research I have I owe to him and will be influenced by him. Last February, Eshel invited me to speak at the opening ceremony of the hyperbaric department at Asaf Harofeh hospital - another example of how significant and important he always made me feel for research and what places he allowed me to go. In this ceremony he said that today's research continues to develop and that the great discoveries may not be made in his generation, but will be preserved for the next generation. I think there is no better way to share this honor with an amazing person than to continue working, researching and discovering in the field. This will not be the last honor I will give him, because as I said, he has long since infected me with the germ of enthusiasm for research. I intend to continue in the field and every achievement deserves to be credited because without it I would not have reached it. What he taught me will continue to influence me and accompany me throughout my life and I can only hope that if I work hard enough, one day I can try and be for someone else what Eshel was for me."

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