Haimi – The Person


Haim Nessyau was born in Tel Aviv, on June 21st, 1964, an only son to Judith and Mordechay. His long journey of studying began at home, where his intellectual and almost antipodal mother and father created a very fertile ground for learning and nourished his zest for learning, questioning and thinking.

His formal education began in 1970 in “Hakarmel” school. Then, in 1973, Haim joined a newly formed class of gifted children, the first of its kind in Israel. Haim stayed with this class throughout the years in Gretz primary school and high-school Dalet. In that class, Haim met most of his lifetime friends that accompanied him and his family until his last day and beyond.

In 1982, Haim joined the military academic reserve, in the framework of which he studied towards a B.Sc. in mathematics and computer science in the Tel Aviv University. He graduated in 1984, Summa Cum Laude. During the following five-year military service in the Intelligence Force, Haim completed his Masters in applied mathematics under the supervision of Professor Eitan Tadmor and began working on his doctoral thesis.

After resigning from the army, in 1989, he joined Professor Tadmor at NASA Langley Research Center, in Hampton, Virginia, as a graduate fellow, where he continued his mathematical research. From there, Haim went on a six-month trip to South America, after which he returned to Tel Aviv University as an Instructor. He completed his doctoral dissertation in 1994 and was accepted for a post-doctoral position as an Assistant Professor of Computational and Applied Mathematics at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Before departing to Los Angeles, Haim and Dafna, his partner, went on a trip to the far east.

At dawn of April 26th, on their way down from the Annapurna Mountain in Nepal, Haim suffered a heart failure and passed away.

 Haim’s parents decided to commemorate their son’s memory by establishing The Nessyahu Award. The award is given for outstanding achievements in a mathematical Ph.D. dissertation.

 Haim was a truly unique and outstanding person. Some of the characteristics that made him so special in the eyes of the people closest to him are outlined hereinafter:

Haim was first and foremost a very dear son to his parents. The relations between the threesome were based on love, friendship and deep mutual respect, which bridged the vast differences that divided them. This rare combination of love and respect on one hand, and profound differences in thoughts, beliefs and viewpoints on the other hand, enabled Haim to get the best from his parents and give back the best from himself.

Haim was an amazingly gifted friend. More than few people viewed him as their best friend. He (as well as his house) was the center of a group of 30-40 friends that go back to primary school. Years after his departure, his house still remains a focal point for that group of friends, very much thanks to Judith.

Haim was a man of high intelligence, deep understanding of the world around him and a never-satiable appetite for more. His understanding of the world encompassed diverse areas such as physics, philosophy, history, politics, sociology, sports and films.

Haim was a well-defined man who knew exactly who he was. He grew in a house where the mother was religious and a nationalist, while the father was secular (a la Spinoza) and a socialist. Haim, influenced by both and witnessing their dialog, went through his own self-crystallization process until he defined to himself who he is and what are his beliefs and stands in all avenues of life.

“He didn’t have one bad bone in his body”, Haim was once described by one of his friends. Indeed, Haim was a truly kind and generous man. This benevolence, combined with his wisdom and the interest that he arose, fascinated so many people to him.

Haim loved life and was loved by life. He took the best of it and, despite his apparent earnestness, had a great joie de vivre. One of the things he liked most was travelling. Like a comet, he covered half of the globe during his short life. His trips took him to most all countries of Europe, North and South America, Iceland, the Galapagos islands India and Nepal, were he died. 

Tamir Tassa

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