Shlomo Bentin died in a traffic accident on July 13th 2012. Shlomo was an amazing man and had a great impact not only on psychological and brain science but also directly on the lives of so many people. He had a unique passion for life and for scientific discovery. He was a strong man with a soft heart and his exuberant presence was always felt and admired.

This blog is a place where people can share their experiences and memories of Shlomo. He was an extremely lively man who cherished his family, friends, work and academic accomplishments and we hope this blog will help to celebrate his life as he always did. To contribute, please send your text to Ani Flevaris and Ayelet Landau directly or at remembering.shlomo[at]

Monday, July 30, 2012

From Noam Sagiv

15 years ago I spent a year in Shlomo's lab, as an MSC student. I didn't have any research experience in psychology or neuroscience. In fact I was just a physics/chemistry student who happened to read Oliver Sacks' 'The man who mistook his wife for a hat' and decided that the brain is probably more interesting than molecules.

In retrospect, it is a wonder how easy it was to join the lab with such limited background. But Shlomo had patience for anyone willing to learn and was committed to helping students who started in other disciplines get into cognitive neuroscience. This was also the spirit of the Interdisciplinary Center for Neural Computation (ICNC; Shlomo was of the founders).
Of course he was always busy and travelled a lot and managed to stay in touch even when he was away; we probably talked more often when he spent a couple of months in Leipzig - this was over e-mail before skype existed....

Shlomo's lab was already a little empire back then in many respects. I may not have realised until years later how privileged I was to be a part of this world-class lab. Indeed, the highly prestigious 'Israel Prize' he got earlier this year came as no surprise (the only question was the timing).

During the year I spent in the lab, Shlomo organised two international conferences (ESCoP and a smaller neuropsychology conference) where I first had a chance to meet some world leaders in cognitive neuroscience and face perception in particular (I was very excited when he led Vicky Bruce to my first poster, a study of the N170). That year was my gateway to the world stage and I'm grateful to Shlomo for this. This was indeed quite an extraordinary year with an extraordinary mentor.

At the end of the year I headed to Berkeley to pursue my PhD. By the time Shlomo started visiting Berkeley regularly, I had already left and moved to London. It's a shame I didn't get a chance to see him more often since.

Shlomo's untimely death is a great loss. My thoughts are with the family, friends and colleagues in Jerusalem, Berkeley, and around the world.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

From Boaz Sadeh

I had the great honor of meeting and knowing Shlomo back in Israel, and later on in Berkeley. The lab I did my thesis in, and Shlomo's lab, worked on similar research fields and often with similar methods. One could fear a potential rivalry in this case, but as soon as we met, Shlomo rapidly became a friend, a colleague, and that grand expert that willingly shared knowledge, smiles and homemade cookies. It was all so natural, as Shlomo used to start any conversation with a frank inquiry after your news and went on with endless adventure stories (you wouldn't want them to end) of his latest travels, research exploits and family. In his scientific making as well as in social interaction he skillfully combined an old fashioned noble character with a cheerful and playful attitude. And just when you thought you've heard it all about Shlomo, you discovered more. That he speaks French, that he's now also into Theory of Mind...  He really was full of surprises.  

When my wife an I moved to Berkeley, Miri and Shlomo knew just how to give us the warm welcome and valuable orientation we could use, and during the past months Shlomo would call me periodically just to check on me and make sure all is well. With all the differences between us in position and age, he treated me as an equal. As a friend.  

There's a lesson for us all to be learned from this man. A lesson on how profundity can go hand in hand with humor. Stature with kindness. Hobbies with work. Self confidence with tons of questions. Amusing stories about the past with serious plans for the future. Berkeley with Jerusalem. In his death, much like in his life, he leaves us full of wonder.

I am glad to have worked with you Shlomo, even if just a little. I am glad to have known you.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

From Tali Shrem

When I first met Shlomo, to say that I was intimidated by him would be an understatement: me, an undergraduate student interested in taking his seminar, and him, an important professor, elegantly dressed (not very common in Israel), in his beautiful office. He seemed strict and serious sitting at his huge desk… In fact at our first meeting I was afraid to speak. Nonetheless, following this meeting I took his seminar, deeply impressed by his research and by my first impression of his personality. Years later, when occasionally I was reminded of this first impression I had of him (mainly when he asked questions at the cognitive colloquium at the psychology department) it made me laugh.

As a graduate student at the "twin" lab I quickly realized how misleading first impressions can be, and how my image of Shlomo did not reflect who he actually was. I realized that he was so much more than a brilliant scientist, and certainly not someone to fear. By often entering our lab, sharing funny stories, asking about our lives, about our research, and always listening to the answers, Shlomo showed us daily what a wonderful caring person he was. Whenever I needed help or support he was always there, listening and offering advice.

It was a great honor for me to meet Shlomo. It was an honor to learn from him, to work with him on a research project at his lab, and most of all to know him as a human being. I know he believed in me and I wish I had the chance to cause him pride or satisfaction before he died. Tragically, he will not be there to see me as I continue working on my Ph.D.

Shlomo, thank you for everything. I miss you.


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

From Oren Shriki

In the last few years I co-supervised together with Shlomo the PhD research of Itamar Lerner. This was a very unique opportunity for me to learn from Shlomo and be inspired by him. Itamar just submitted his PhD thesis this May and might be the last PhD student of Shlomo. The work involved both experimental and theoretical aspects and my contribution was mainly in the theoretical parts. Shlomo was highly involved in all the details of the theoretical work and his guidance and help were instrumental to important decisions we had to make along the way. When we wrote the papers he paid attention to every detail, from the overall structure of the paper to the terminology and wording that were used. His comments significantly improved the papers and I was always impressed by his thoroughness and skill. His high standards will surely serve as a role model for me. Our first paper with Shlomo after his untimely death was just published in PLoS ONE. It includes a dedication to his memory at the Acknowledgements section. (Here is a link to the paper:

Besides being a great scientist, Shlomo was a great person to collaborate with and had a very warm and direct personality. They say that the principles of teaching and mentoring are love and personal example. Shlomo definitely had both and his legacy will always inspire me. 

Monday, July 23, 2012

From Maya Zuckerman

הכרתי את שלמה בשנתי הראשונה לתואר הראשון בקורס "יסודות הנוירופסיכולוגיה". מאותו רגע ליווה אותי 
.שלמה לאורך התואר הראשון והשני שלי
לשלמה, שחקר פרצופים, היו עיניים נוצצות שאמרו הכל. הן שיקפו את טוב ליבו, האכפתיות שלו והדאגה לסטודנטים, הגינותו, ההקשבה ומעל לכל אהבתו האדירה למשפחתו אשר בכל פגישה עימו ואפילו בכל 
.התכתבות במייל – מירי, ילדיו ונכדיו תמיד הוזכרו
בשנה הראשונה של התואר השני שלי השתתפתי בסמינר של שלמה. במסגרת הסמינר היה על כל תלמיד להציג את אחד מנושאי הקורס כאשר שלמה ליווה את כל התלמידים בהכנת הפרזנטציה על פי הצורך. בימים שלפני הפרזנטציה שלי הייתי חולה, וכמובן בלחץ שמא הרצאתי לא תתאים לסטנדרטים הראויים של שלמה. באחת ההתכתבויות שלנו, שלמה, שהיה רגיש לכל, כתב לי: Do not worry much, together we will be successful. משפט זה עשה את כל ההבדל. בעבודת הסיום של אותו הקורס שלמה אמר לי שהוא מאוד נהנה לקרוא את עבודתי והתגאה בחיוך כי אף העניק לעבודה ציון מעולה, למרות שהוא לא מסכים עם רוב הדברים שכתבתי. בהמשך שלמה איפשר לי להשתתף בקורס עבודה מעשית מחקרית במעבדתו על מנת שאוכל ללמוד את שיטת ה-EEG לטובת עבודת התיזה שלי. מאותו הרגע, שלמה ליווה אותי בכל צעד בעבודת התיזה שלי, כולל הצגת פוסטר בכנס בקנדה והרצאה בכנס השנתי באילת ועד לקבלתה כמאמר שהוא כבר לא יזכה לראות. דלתו תמיד הייתה פתוחה, תמיד עם חיוך רחב ותמיד תוך פרגון אדיר. רגישותו של שלמה גרמה לו מספר פעמים לאורך שנות הכרותינו לתפוס אותי במסדרונות קומת המעבדות ולהעניק לי זריקת מוטיבציה 
.מחויכת, תמיד עם הפנים קדימה, תוך שאיפה לטוב ביותר והאמונה כי עלי להאמין בעצמי וביכולותיי
בשבת, ה-14 ליולי, נסעתי עם אבי באוטו ומצאנו את עצמנו בשיחה אודות רגעיות החיים והיכולת שלהם 
.להשתנות בשבריר שנייה. נושא שאינו מאפיין את שיחותנו. כחצי שעה לאחר מכן נודע לי ששלמה נהרג

.שלמה, תודה לך על המון. אזכור תמיד ואתגעגע


From David Carmel

Shlomo introduced me to the world of research. In late 1999 I was on a year off from medical school, and felt a bit lost. I knew I wanted to try doing research (which was premature, considering how little I knew at the time about what this means), but wasn’t sure what to do or how to go about it. I’d heard from friends that there was a lab at the basement of the Mount Scopus campus, where a lot of interesting “brain stuff” went on. The professor, I was told, had his office in the actual lab (this was very unusual in the department) and might be open to having another research assistant.

Shlomo didn’t mind that I knocked on his door without making an appointment. I told him why I was there, and at the end said I’d be happy to volunteer in order to gain some experience. Shlomo’s immediate response was, “No one here works for free. If you work in this lab, you’ll be paid.” He told me about his attitude to research (which was basically that it should be fun, otherwise what’s the point?) and about the projects in the lab (there were so many, I just barely managed to keep up). I did odd jobs around the lab for a few weeks and eventually Shlomo put me onto a specific project (he gave me a choice, but I didn’t know enough at the time to make one). Once he was satisfied that I knew what I was doing, he gave me a great deal of independence. The project eventually became my first (and still most cited) publication, and more importantly, was my first exposure to how science is actually done – the gut-wrenching uncertainty, followed by the excitement of discovery; the need to attend to oh-so-many details, so that the big picture might emerge; and the long process of crafting a report, followed by the satisfaction of seeing your work in print. At the end of that year, I informed the medical school I wasn’t coming back; I’d decided to pursue science instead.

Shlomo’s lab became my second home for the next three years, and in many ways Shlomo became my academic father-figure (as he had for so many others) – with all the ups-and-downs, tensions and rewards such a relationship implies. I will always be indebted to him for giving me the chance to take my first baby-steps as a researcher. Now that I’m a faculty member myself, I hope I can someday have that sort of significance in someone else’s development.

From Thomas Van Vleet

I had the pleasure of getting to know Shlomo while working as a post-doc in Lynn Robertson's lab at Berkeley. I came to know Shlomo as an uncompromising scientist that exuded a genuine passion for his work.  He was truly a 'force of nature', as evidenced not only in the lab, but also on the ski hills of Lake Tahoe (smile). Together, we shared a fascination for hemispatial neglect and I was honored when he asked me to review a related paper. Although my time with Shlomo was limited, I will always remember his caring smile and genuine presence. My deepest condolences to Miri and family.

From Vadim Axelrod

לא התמזל לי לא להיות סטודנט של שלמה בנטין ולא לעבוד איתו באופן ישיר. אך אפילו מההכרות הלא עמוקה אפשר היה ללמוד איזה בן-אדם איכותי וטוב לב הוא היה. השיחה איתו תמיד הייתה בגובה העיניים  - שום דיסטנס, כפי שהיה אפשר לצפות מפרופסור בעל שם עולמי. הוא היה גם אדם שהשתדל לעזור, אפילו במקרים שהיה יכול להתעלם ולא לטרוח. אי אפשר היה שלא להתרשם מהיושר והגינות שלו אפילו בדברים הקטנים, דוגמת לבקש אישור להשתמש בקוד תכנותי שכתבת.

תנחומיי העמוקים למשפחה ולחברים הקרובים של שלמה.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

From Isabel Gauthier

I met Shlomo at Yale when I was a graduate student. We started with different assumptions about common questions of interest and so it was always fun talking with him, whether we ended up agreeing or not, and often even more fun when we did not agree. The Perceptual Expertise Network invited him to a workshop a few years ago, to get a chance to discuss with someone who saw things differently from many of us, but to our surprised we ended up agreeing on most everything, and being humbled by the breadth of his work, and getting to know Shlomo and Miri better made the meeting one of the most memorable for our group. Last year, I had the chance to be invited to speak in Jerusalem and Shlomo proved to be the best host one could get and an amazing guide for a city that he loved. And what an honor to be invited into Shlomo and Miri’s home and treated to a wonderful meal cooked by him! I know that Shlomo was greatly loved by his family, students and colleagues. But it is a measure of a wonderful man that he was also loved by a much larger circle of psychologists and neuroscientists for whom he could have just been the respected scientist he was, that would have been impressive enough – but no, once you met Shlomo in person, once he gave you that look and that smile, you had to love him. Thank you for everything you shared with me Shlomo.
-Isabel Gauthier

From Terry Picton

Farewell Shlomo
We have lost a great colleague

Faces are special.
Like your quizzical and friendly face
explaining to me how Shlomo’s dog illustrated
the living of the good life.

Voices are special too.
Like yours warm and reassuring voice
telling me how I perhaps
did not make perfect sense.

We shall miss you immensely.

From Giuseppe Vallar

It is very sad to learn that Schlomo has passed away, and in such an unexpected and absurd way. I remember the many discussions with him about science (spatial neglect, particularly), in Israel and in Italy, but also about science more in general, the society and politics, and his love for Miriam and his family. We not always agreed, but always the interaction was fruitful and warm. I shall miss him.
Giuseppe Vallar

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

From Joe DeGutis

Shlomo was a passionate and thoughtful scientist, a great mentor, and an admirable and wonderful man.  Shlomo helped me get through a challenging time in grad school.  While struggling to find my dissertation topic, I had become interested in trying to train a prosopagnosic to better recognize faces.  While visiting Berkeley one summer, this project piqued Shlomo's curiosity.  At first I remember being a little intimidated by Shlomo because at colloquia he asked tough questions and sometimes seemed less than fully satisfied with the answers.  It wasn't long after I started having one-on-one conversations with Shlomo that I experienced his softer side - his profound curiosity, his sense of humor and lightheartedness, and his kindness.  Shlomo dove into our face training project, adding key expertise, and really helped encourage and focus my efforts.  The results turned out even better than we had hoped and with Shlomo's help I wrote the paper and sent it to the top journals.  After proceeding to get reviewed and rejected by each journal, I became demoralized and deflated and could hardly bring myself to look at the manuscript.  When Shlomo arrived back in Berkeley, he told me to gather up all the reviews and that we were going to go over each and every comment and re-write the manuscript together.  So we sat together in his office in front of the computer for 8+ hour stretches over several days, thinking out loud, arguing, and hammering out every last detail.  It was intense and exhausting, but together we got it right.  Looking back at that experience, it is amazing to me that a professor of Shlomo's stature would take the time to help a struggling graduate student that wasn't even his own.  But that was Shlomo.  He was never afraid to fully invest in and engage with students and colleagues. Though I miss Shlomo dearly, I feel extremely grateful that I was able to spend time with and engage with such a special man.

Information about the Funeral

The funeral will take place on Monday, July 23rd at 18:00
It will take place at "MENUCHA NECHONA" funeral house

The family will hold the "SHIVA" at the Bentin residence, 26 Hayarmuch st. Tel Mond

להלן, פרטי הלוויה והשבעה:
יום שני 23.7 בשעה 18:00 בבית העלמין "מנוחה נכונה"  בכ"ס (רצ"ב לינק)
השבעה בבית משפ' בנטין ברח' הירמוך 26 תל מונד

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

From Kia Nobre

Wow. This news really shook me up.
Shlomo has always been there, from my early PhD days. He's remained an inspiring presence ever since - as scientist and friend. I greatly admired his  commitment to scholarship and his enjoyment of a good argument. I hope I caught some of his feistiness of spirit !