David G. Hawksworth
Passing of David G. Hawksworth
August 1, 2017 (PO56). It is with great regret that we report that Dr. David G. Hawksworth, former Managing Director of Oxford Magnet Technology Ltd., passed away on March 15th at the age of 63 after a short struggle with cancer.
Having completed an intern as a summer student in Martin Wilson’s Group at Rutherford, David became David Larbalestier’s first PhD student at the University of Wisconsin in 1976, carrying out pioneering work in increasing the upper critical field of NbTi and NbTiTa alloys, work still referred to today. Joining Oxford Instruments in 1981 as Project Engineer for the newly formed NMRI group, David became the Engineering Manager and later Director of Oxford Magnet Technology Ltd., (OMT) where he was instrumental in leading the team which developed the first high field whole body 1.0T, 1.5T and 4.0T active shield MRI magnets. Promoting a culture of quality and best practice, David lead his team to be the innovative world leaders in the production of cost and performance optimized MRI systems. After a two-year stay at Siemens Healthcare in Erlangen, Germany, David became Managing Director of OMT Ltd in 1995 until it became a wholly owned Siemens subsidiary in 2003.
During David’s technical leadership of OMT Ltd., the business received Queen’s Awards for Technology (UK) in 1985, 1991 and 1996, Export in 1985 and 1991 and Enterprise in 2001. David’s personal contributions to the superconducting industry were recognized by the conferring of the Max Swerdlow Award of the IEEE Council on Superconductivity at the 24th International Conference on Magnet Technology (MT24) in Seoul, Korea in 2015. Having been Managing Director of Oxford Biosensors followed by UK and Ireland Managing Director of Quest Diagnostics, in recent times he was enjoying being back in the world of superconductivity in an advisory capacity with Tokomak Energy.
David was very much a people’s person whose passion, dedication and friendship will be a great loss to his colleagues and our community. David’s professional legacy should be thought of not just in business terms, but also in human terms. He developed younger generations of business leaders, within and beyond superconductivity, by providing an inspirational role model of how to build and manage complex teams working on the most demanding problems in a very cost-competitive market. He leaves us with many memories of an utterly positive and ethical engineer and manager who had an unusual empathy for all who worked with him. For this, he will be missed but never forgotten, with so many happy memories and experiences shared. He is survived by his wife Judith, and children Matthew, Rebecca, and Elizabeth. A Special Memorial session dedicated to David is to be held at MT-25 in Amsterdam.