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Last Updated: Tuesday, 16 March, 2004, 10:27 GMT
IT 'guru' gives Oxford millions
The 21st Century will present humanity with unparalleled problems and opportunities
Dr James Martin
A British-born pioneer of computing has made a multi-million pound donation to Oxford University.

James Martin, a best-selling author on information technology, will have an institute named in his honour, looking at the global effect of technology.

The gift starts at 700,000 a year, rising to 1.4m in perpetuity.

Oxford's vice-chancellor, Sir Colin Lucas, said this would allow mankind to gain "maximum benefit" from technological developments.

'Increasing pace of change'

The James Martin Institute will study the social, environmental and economic effects of computers.

Researchers will hold discussions with leading business and government figures.

Among the subjects debated will be emerging technologies such as genomics and nanotechnology.

Dr Martin, a former student of Keble College, Oxford, said: "The 21st Century will present humanity with unparalleled problems and opportunities.

"The institute will teach, pursue research and influence policy in areas that are critical to these challenges and to the future of world civilization.

"This is one of the most important activities a leading university could be focusing on today."

Sir Colin added: "Oxford University is enormously grateful for this generous benefaction from Dr Martin.

"Our world and our lives are shaped by the ever-increasing pace of change that new developments in science and technology bring.

"We can all gain the maximum benefit from these changes if we understand and plan for them, rather than fear or avoid facing them."

Dr Martin is widely recognised as an authority on the social and commercial uses of computers and technology.

His book, The Wired Society: A Challenge For Tomorrow, based on his predictions and progressive views about technology, was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.

The magazine Computerworld, in its 25th anniversary issue, ranked Dr Martin fourth among the 25 individuals who had most influenced the world of computer science.




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