On 29 April 2008, the Japanese Government announced that a decoration was to be bestowed upon Sir Martin Wood OBE FRS, Founder and Honorary President of Oxford Instruments plc, in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the promotion of scientific exchange between Japan and the UK. The Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon will be presented to him by the Japanese ambassador on behalf of His Majesty, The Emperor of Japan in June.
Sir Martin established Oxford Instruments in 1959 following his invention of the world’s first superconducting magnet. Oxford Instruments was the first commercial company to be spun out from the University of Oxford and one of the most successful. Its operations now span the globe.
From the early days of Oxford Instruments, Sir Martin developed experimental equipments jointly with Japanese scientists. Japan’s highly regarded achievements in the area of condensed matter physics could not have been realized without his contribution. He has also been a consistent supporter of UK/Japan scientific exchange, and Oxford Instruments has regularly accepted young Japanese researchers and engineers as trainees.
In order to extend his Japanese links in a systematic way, Sir Martin was instrumental in the establishment of the Millennium Science Forum in 1999, with the support of Oxford Instruments. The Millennium Science Forum awards the Sir Martin Wood Prize annually to an outstanding young Japanese scientist in the field of condensed matter physics. The winner is given the opportunity to lecture at universities in the UK. It not only offers incentives to young scientists but also stimulates scientific exchange between the UK and Japan. Sir Martin plans to attend the 10th anniversary celebration of the Millennium Science Forum in November 2008.
On hearing that he was to be decorated by the Japanese Government, Sir Martin commented: “It was a great surprise, and a great honour, to hear from the Japanese Ambassador that I have been awarded the Order of the Rising Sun. I have been traveling widely in Japan since my first visit in 1970, and have made many strong friendships in the fields of scientific research and technological development. I admire, strongly, the positive culture in Japan in these fields.”
Throughout his life, Sir Martin has contributed to both Japanese academic achievement and to the nurturing of young Japanese scientists and engineers. He well deserves to be honoured for his service in the cause of scientific collaboration between Japan and the UK.
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