Martin and Audrey Wood founded Oxford Instruments in 1959. Oxford Instruments was the first commercial spin-off from Oxford University. The company started operations in Wood’s garden shed in Oxford, England, and moved to an abandoned slaughterhouse in North Oxford as work expanded. By the early 60s, Wood was one of a handful of experts in the fledgling science of superconducting magnets, and Oxford Instruments pioneered the development of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), providing the first superconducting magnets for this application. “When superconductors arrived, so few people in the industry knew about them,” says Martin Wood. “They all knew about electronics, but not low temperature or magnetic fields. We did not know about superconductors either, but we did know about magnetic fields. We were moving into a new technology, so there were no teachers.” Fifty years later, Oxford Instruments is still a world leader in superconducting magnet technology. Companies like Oxford Instruments form the bridge between science and the consumer, by turning smart science – such as superconducting magnets – into commercially successful products. Over the years, Oxford Instruments has been awarded thirteen Queen’s Awards for innovation, exports and technology. As mankind faces the great challenges of the 21st Century, Oxford Instruments is providing scientists with the tools to tackle issues concerned with alternative energy, climate change, environmental pollution and healthcare. The Business of Science is part of the company’s strong worldwide brand, which now extends to the business of bringing both quality and value to refurbished CT & MRI scanners and service for the healthcare industry.
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