First commercial MRI whole body scanner's Blue Plaque

This bulding was the factory located in Oxford (Osney Mead), where Martin Wood was inspired to manufacture the first commercial MRI whole body scanner in 1980. The bulding has since become the King’s Centre, a community church and conference venue. Most appropriately, but quite fortuitously, it was chosen as the place for the Prime Minister’s 2006 Royal Society lecture on scientific education and enterprise.
The Oxford Instruments plc was founded by Sir Martin Wood in 1959 with help from his wife Audrey Wood to manufacture superconducting magnets for use in scientific research, starting in his garden shed in Northmoor Road, Oxford. It was the first substantial commercial spin-out company from the University of Oxford and was first listed on the London Stock Exchange in 1983. Further innovations included the development of active shielding, whereby fringe fields hazardous to pacemaker wearers, causing difficulty and expense in siting, were virtually eliminated. Oxford Instruments was not able to capitalise on these inventions itself, granting royalty-free license to Philips and General Electric whilst developing a joint venture with Siemens in 1989: this was dissolved in 2004.

  • Photos by Adrian Thomas (August 2019) and page layout by Annamaria Palese ti.liamtoh|49.eselapairamanna#| (October 2019)

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