Martin Wood (engineer)

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Wood in July 1996

Sir Martin Francis Wood, CBE, FRS, HonFREng[1] (born 19 April 1927) is a British engineer and entrepreneur. He co-founded Oxford Instruments, one of the first spin-out companies from the University of Oxford and still one of the most successful.

He was educated at Gresham's School, Holt and Trinity College, Cambridge University, where he read engineering, and Imperial College, London. In 1945 he joined the Coal Board as a Bevin Boy for his National Service, working underground at the coal face first in South Wales and later in the Midlands. From 1955 to 1969, he was a Senior Research Officer at the Clarendon Laboratory at the University of Oxford. He used the knowledge he acquired on high field magnets to form Oxford Instruments in 1959. Two years later new superconductors were developed in the USA, and he soon acquired some material and made the first superconducting magnet outside the USA in 1962. Oxford Instruments has since developed these magnets for research and NMR analysis and eventually developed the whole-body superconducting magnets which made possible the development of magnetic resonance imaging.

Sir Martin and his wife, Audrey, have many philanthropic achievements, including donating £2m for the building of the Sir Martin Wood Lecture Theatre at the Clarendon Laboratory. He also founded the Earth Trust to promote nature conservation at Little Wittenham and the Wittenham Clumps, The Oxford Trust for the promotion of scientific education and science-based enterprise, and the Sylva Foundation to support sustainable forest management. In 2005, Oxford Innovation, a company which came out of the Oxford Trust, launched the Martin and Audrey Wood Enterprise Awards for entrepreneurship.

Martin Wood was knighted by the Queen at Buckingham Palace in 1986.[2] He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1987, is a recipient of the Order of the Rising Sun, and has received honorary degrees from eight British universities.



  1. ^ a b "List of Fellows".
  2. ^ "Honours and Awards". The London Gazette (50759). 13 December 1986. p. 16784.
  3. ^ "President's medal recipients". Institute of Physics.

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