Martin J. Newell was born in 1910, and received his secondary education at St. Joseph's Patrician College, Galway, before entering University College Galway (UCG). He was auditor of the college's Literary and Debating Society for the 1928-1929 session, and graduated with a B.Sc. in 1929 and an M.Sc. in 1930, both with first class honours. He then proceeded to St. John's College, Cambridge, where he spent three years, eventually engaging in research on quantum theory with Ralph Fowler. Newell returned to UCG as a lecturer in mathematics in 1935, and was appointed Professor of Mathematics in 1955. In 1960, he was appointed to succeed Monsignor Pádraig de Brún as President of the college. He held the office of president until his retirement in 1975. A lecture theatre in the Arts Millennium Building is named in his honour.
- The History of Mathematics: David R. Wilkins, Trinity College, Dublin Dr. Martin J. Newell (1910-1985) by Sean Tobin
- Atlas of Irish Mathematics & Mathematicians: Martin J. Newell
- Martin L. Newell at the Mathematics Genealogy Project