Tributes from across Oxford University are being paid to Sir Martin Wood, who died last week at the age of 94.

Sir Martin’s pioneering work led to the development of the world’s first superconducting magnet, a new research field of nuclear magnetic resonance, and the creation of the first fully functioning MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scanner for medical use, which has led to millions of lives being saved every year.

Sir Martin joined the university in 1955 as a senior research officer in the Department of Physics where his research on resistive high-field magnets established a technology that became highly sought after.

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This led to him founding, with his wife Lady Audrey, the university’s first successful spinout company, Oxford Instruments.

The company originally operated out of Sir Martin's garden shed but rapidly grew and is now a FTSE 250 company with an annual revenue of over £300m. It provides high technology products and services to the world’s leading industrial companies and scientific research communities.

Sir Martin was knighted in 1986 for his services to science and has received numerous awards and honorary doctorates.

Both Sir Martin and Lady Audrey generously supported many philanthropic endeavours.

The university has benefited from their support and a donation of funds to build the Sir Martin Wood Lecture Theatre and surrounding rooms, as well as from a substantial donation to the new Beecroft Building in the Department of Physics.

Professor Chas Bountra, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Innovation, said: "Sir Martin is remembered as a true pioneer of innovation at Oxford.

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"His incredible legacy will undoubtedly continue to inspire new generations of innovators at the university, many of whom I hope will go on to achieve similar success."

Sir Tim Hitchens, President of Wolfson College, said: "Sir Martin was a towering figure at Wolfson, a Fellow from our earliest days in 1967 to 2021, and a pioneer in connecting research, academia, and entrepreneurialism. He will be sorely missed by his many friends at college."

Oxford Instruments said in a statement: "Oxford Instruments was saddened to learn of the death of our founder, Sir Martin Wood, 94, on November 23 after a short illness. We offer our sincere condolences to his wife Audrey, and their extended family, during this difficult time.

"Oxford Instruments was started in Martin and Audrey’s garden shed in 1959. Together they established Oxford Instruments as the first, and still one of the most successful, spin outs from the University of Oxford. Under Martin’s guidance, Oxford Instruments developed the world’s first superconducting magnet, establishing a new research field of nuclear magnetic resonance as well as the first fully functioning MRI for medical use."

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The statement added: "After taking a step back from the daily running of Oxford Instruments a number of years ago, he maintained an active interest in the company as our Honorary Chairman and both he and Audrey engaged with many of our company-wide events and family days right up until the start of the pandemic.

"Martin’s brilliance, innovations and enthusiasm provided the foundation for ground-breaking developments that have saved millions of lives and transformed our understanding of chemistry. As a company we were fortunate to benefit from his vision and consider him as one of the great minds in scientific advancement."