Jim McWhir, Rival34 "Rona"

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Telo
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Jim McWhir, Rival34 "Rona"

Postby Telo » Sat Aug 26, 2017 10:47 pm

From The Scotsman, http://announcements.johnstonpress.co.u ... =186413276.

"On August 4, 2017, James McWhir died suddenly on his boat, Rona, moored in Loch Harport, Carbost, Isle of Skye, Scotland. He had spent many happy years sailing Rona around the coast of Scotland and as far away as the Azores, the Faroe Islands, Greenland, and Norway.

"Jim's greatest joys were sailing and music. Living on Rona, he sailed from port to port mainly along the west coast of Scotland, visiting islands along the way. Self-taught on the fiddle, he was a regular to Rathlin Island, as well as to both the Orkney and Shetland folk festivals, where he played as a member of the Shetland Fiddlers. He met old friends and made new ones wherever he went. Always modest about his abilities, James loved and respected the people he met and the rich culture he experienced through traditional music, with a particular fondness for Shetland tunes. He was thrilled to find himself playing the fiddle alongside singer-songwriter Dougie Maclean in the local pub. He regularly played with 'The Critters' (traditional musicians) in the The Criterion pub in Stornoway and visited the The Old Inn at Carbost on Skye for the music sessions there. He was also generous with his time and volunteered with the traditional boat scene in Stornoway, doing repairs, maintenance and skippering."

Read more at: http://announcements.johnstonpress.co.u ... =186413276

Jim will be sadly missed. His friends will wish to extend their sincere condolences to his family and also to Mavanier of this forum who was a good friend of Jim's and who sailed "Rona" back to Stornoway.

Here's Jim in Stromness in May, as many of us will remember him;

Image
- Outside the Ferry Inn, Stromness during the Orkney Folk Festival. Jim McWhir on fiddle, centre.

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Mavanier
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Re: Jim McWhir, Rival34 "Rona"

Postby Mavanier » Sun Aug 27, 2017 9:42 pm

Thanks for that Donald.

We had a wonderful wake/celebration/session for Jim in Stornoway last weekend- a great turnout by sailors, musicians, and everyone else who knew him.


A very interesting obituary detailing his role in the Dolly the Sheep project was published in The Times:

Obituary: Jim McWhir
Principal investigator on the team that created Dolly the Sheep who was cautious about cloning — and didn’t fear getting pregnant
August 25 2017, 12:01am, The Times
Jim McWhir was the principal investigator on the team that created Dolly the Sheep
Dolly the Sheep’s first bleat on July 5, 1996, started a media storm. She was one of the only cloned mammals in the world and had been created by taking a cell from an adult sheep that was then used to make a genetic copy of that adult animal. Jim McWhir was the principal investigator on the team — led by Sir Ian Wilmut at the Roslin Institute at the University of Edinburgh — that created her.
The cells had been cloned earlier that year in a small room and she had been incubated in the bra of one of the female embryologists. Having come from a mammary cell, she was named after Dolly Parton, a risqué joke by an animal technician that stuck — much more memorable than “lamb number 6LL3”, her experimental name.
Dolly’s very existence raised a host of ethical questions, including the suggestion that one day it might be possible to clone humans. Critics feared a terrifying world of Frankenstein’s monster; supporters said the technology would herald a radical opportunity to tackle disease and further our understanding of human development.
The paper describing her cloning appeared in the journal Nature on February 27, 1997, and while the Roslin Institute had anticipated some publicity, it was unprepared for the worldwide interest. “There were several satellite vans in the car park,” McWhir recalled. “It was just pandemonium. Going down to the large-animal unit, it was just a forest of flashbulbs and reporters. It was quite amazing. I just turned around and went back to work.” Yet as he later said: “A result like Dolly stops people in their tracks, and they say, “Well, hang on. If I’d have said that is impossible, what else am I saying is impossible?’.”
James McWhir was born in Haddington, East Lothian, in September 1952. He was three when his family moved to Canada, settling first in Toronto and later in King City, Ontario. He studied at the University of Guelph, also in Ontario, and for his PhD in experimental embryology studied the production of embryo-derived cell lines. Moving to the University of Edinburgh, he was involved in research into mouse embryonic stem cells, including gene targeting, and in 1994 was appointed principal investigator at the Roslin Institute.
Despite the media attention, Dolly was not actually the first sheep to be cloned. Megan and Morag had been born in 1995 after the transfer of nuclei from differentiated cells derived from embryos by McWhir. Although the technique used in their case was slightly different, their arrival signified the technical breakthrough that made Dolly possible. Megan was the longest surviving of the early cloned animals, and when she celebrated her tenth birthday in 2005 McWhir, Wilmut and their colleagues flocked with the media to her pen at the Roslin Institute to sing Happy Birthday to Ewe.
McWhir and his fellow scientists were soon turning their attention to other uses for embryonic stem cells. While colleagues studied how to make liver cells for drug testing and brain cells to treat Parkinson’s disease, he was interested in creating bone cells for helping people with brittle bone disease, although he was naturally cautious about how his techniques might be applied. “There is a long way to go. We need to prove that the use of embryonic stems cells in this way is safe,” he told The Sunday Times in 2003.
On one occasion at a Spanish press conference to discuss Dolly and cloning, McWhir was asked about a US news report of an American scientist who had claimed that soon men would be able to get pregnant. “After being grilled about lots of serious issues, all that appeared on the Spanish news that evening was ten seconds of me saying that I wasn’t worried about getting pregnant,” he said with exasperation.
Dolly, who gave birth to six lambs, died in 2003 and her remains are on display at the National Museum of Scotland. Her first fleece was gathered by a champion shearer at a public event and was used to make a jumper promoting cystic fibrosis research. Meanwhile, according to Live Science, scientists around the world have since used the technology to clone pigs, cats, deer, horses, dogs, mice, wild goats and grey wolves — but not yet humans.
McWhir, who during his working life lived in Penicuik and is survived by a son, William, retired in 2002. He continued to give lectures about his work but his greatest joys were sailing and music. In retirement he lived on board his yacht Rona, sailing from port to port mainly along the west coast of Scotland, visiting islands along the way. Self-taught on the fiddle, he was a regular visitor to folk festivals, and played as a member of the Shetland Fiddlers.
McWhir loved and respected the people he met and the rich culture he experienced through traditional music. He was thrilled once to find himself playing the fiddle alongside the singer-songwriter Dougie MacLean in the local pub. He played regularly in the Criterion pub in Stornoway and visited the Old Inn at Carbost on Skye for the music sessions there.
He also volunteered in Stornoway, doing repairs, maintenance and skippering. He spent many happy years sailing around Scotland and as far away as the Azores, the Faroe Islands, Greenland and Norway. He died on board Rona while she was moored in Loch Harport, at Carbost.
Dr Jim McWhir, scientist, was born on September 3, 1952. He died from undisclosed causes on August 4, 2017, aged 64

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Re: Jim McWhir, Rival34 "Rona"

Postby Telo » Sun Aug 27, 2017 11:20 pm

Thanks Rob. Jim was just one these very exceptional people. I'm sorry that we couldn't be with you all in Stornoway, but we'd only just got home after a long absence.

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Re: Jim McWhir, Rival34 "Rona"

Postby Fingal » Thu Aug 31, 2017 3:27 pm

I wish I'd met him. My cousin , who is a vet, used to drink with him in the Alan Ramsay at Carlops, a recently deceased neighbour of mine will have worked with him at Roslin, and Rona of Melfort was the boat I used for my yachtmaster exam in 1994, before Jim had her. What a tiny, densely connected place this is, to be sure.
Ken
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