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Prof. Jim Waterhouse passed away

Dear Colleagues,

The ISC Board wishes to share our deepest feelings with the family, friends, and colleagues of Prof. Jim Waterhouse who passed away last week. We reproduce below the message from one of his collaborators and former student, Prof. Ben Edwards:


It is with great sadness that I am to inform you that Prof. Jim waterhouse has died peacefully in his sleep last week. Jim and Liz (his wife) found out just over a month ago he had lung cancer with secondary growths throughout his body – Jim, in typical Jim manner, only let me know (in Jim’s own words) “ ….to offer an explanation of what is likely to be unreliable/non-existent advice I might give in the future!”

Jim was a prolific writer and consummate scientist, always looking for a ‘beautiful yet simplistic design’ in research. In the world of chronobiology he was always a maverick as he was self-taught, taking lead on writing one of the most iconic books (with his friend David Minors) on Circadian rhythms and the human (reading the literature for 2 h a night for 2 years to complete the chapters); when his own boss (Prof. John Norton Mills) died in a mountaineering accident in North Wales in 1977.

I have always been proud and privileged to be referred to as 'one of Jim's PhD boys' (even at the age of 43), and appreciated, as did others the time and patience he showed both colleagues and students. In my last email to Jim I wrote … “I think I speak for a large number of students and colleagues to whom you have enriched their time at University and I would like to thank you for this. I think it is a British thing to not tell people the difference they have made (when they are alive), then it is too late and they are gone - I am glad to say this is a trait I do not adhere to”. So I hope Jim had an idea as to the impact he had made both locally at LJMU, and internationally in the many Universities across the world where he taught.

I will always remember Jim fondly and have based some of my teaching style on his (without the intelligent and brainy bits - but with pictures of things trying to eat me instead). Many students taught by Jim will recall complex physiology concepts with lines like 'and that's why Giraffes will never go to space'. Phrases like “Are you with me…” and, “Are we in agreement..” will forever make me smile, he will be missed and as he had a liking for aged, single malt whisky I will later raise a glass or two to him.

I’m sure our thoughts are with Liz and family.

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