Magnetic Venture: The Story of Oxford Instruments

Hardcover | January 25, 2001

byAudrey Wood

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Magnetic Venture is the inside story of Oxford Instruments, the first substantial spin-off company from Oxford University, established in 1959. Written by one of its founders, it describes the ups and downs, the mistakes and successes of a growing science-based company. Over four decadesOxford Instruments grew from its small beginnings in a garden shed to an international company pioneering developments in superconductivity and medical instruments. It has been rightly celebrated as one of Britain's business successes, and became the role model for many later spin-offs. Although the environment for new technology companies has changed much since the early 1960s, many of the problems and challenges for growing science-based firms remain the same. Audrey Wood both tells an exciting story of endeavour and risk-taking, and touches on many issues of importance fortoday's entrepreneurs. Among these are: the nature of innovation, technology transfer, RandD strategies, marketing, sources of investment, entrepreneurship, university-industry relations, changes in cultural attitudes, management styles, growth cycles, and problems of acquisitions and mergers. Magnetic Venture explains how scientific novelties were developed into important products. The first was superconductivity, from which the company developed magnets for research, magnets for unravelling the structures of molecules in the design of new drugs, and, best known to the public, magnetsfor body-scanning. The final chapter looks in detail at the Oxford Trust and tells how this organization has been instrumental in promoting a better environment for the formation and incubation of new science-based companies. The story will appeal to many business academics and researchers, advisers and policy makers, the new breed of scientist/entrepreneur, and those interested in important scientific developments such as superconductivity, ultra-low temperatures, and magnetic imaging.

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From the Publisher

Magnetic Venture is the inside story of Oxford Instruments, the first substantial spin-off company from Oxford University, established in 1959. Written by one of its founders, it describes the ups and downs, the mistakes and successes of a growing science-based company. Over four decadesOxford Instruments grew from its small beginnings...

Audrey Wood was the co-founder of Oxford Instruments with her husband Martin, and remained a director until 1983 when it became a public company. Born in China, she was later educated at Cambridge University where she read both Natural Sciences and English Literature. For various periods in its early history, Audrey Wood was in charge...

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Format:HardcoverPublished:January 25, 2001Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199241082

ISBN - 13:9780199241088

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Table of Contents

Chapter 1: First StepsChapter 2: The Superconductor BreakthroughChapter 3: The Juvenile CompanyChapter 4: Triumphs and TrialsChapter 5: The Slow Climb from the MorassChapter 6: MedilogChapter 7: Magnets for Modelling MoleculesChapter 8: Where is the Company Going?Chapter 9: Making the Human Body TransparentChapter 10: What of the Rest of the Group?Chapter 11: Strategies for the FutureChapter 12: The Road to FlotationChapter 13: The New Public CompanyChapter 14: Seeds for Future GrowthChapter 15: Boom YearsChapter 16: 1987Chapter 17: The Renaissance of Oxford Magnet TechnologyChapter 18: Link Scientific and a New Japanese InitiativeChapter 19: Helios - a Product Ahead of its Time?Chapter 20: Through the Long RecessionChapter 21: Issues of the Nervous NinetiesChapter 22: Towards the End of an EraChapter 23: The Beginning of a New EraChapter 24: Bridges, Networks, and NurseriesAfterword by Richard Coopey

Editorial Reviews

`This is a book for two audiences. Those interested in start-up companies can ponder the huge technical and management challenges that a pioneering small business faced and how they were tackled. The bigger questions are for universities, not least because the book show one kind ofuniversity-linked entrepreneur exerting an influence far beyond his business.'THES