A computer guru and multi-millionaire who became the biggest single donor in the 900-year history of Oxford University has been found dead in the water off his private island home.

The body of Dr James Martin – who gave $150 million to Oxford more than a decade ago  – was found by a kayaker floating in the water near his home on Agar’s Island close to Two Rock Passage in Hamilton Harbour.

English-born Dr Martin, who was 80,  became the author of more than 100 books and a globally-renowned speaker on the computer revolution after starting his career with computer giants IBM in the 1950s.

One of his books – 1978’s The Wired Society which predicted the internet revolution – was nominated for a Pullitzer Prize.

Dr Martin, who had lived in Bermuda for many years, bought Agar’s Island in 1997 with US-born third wife Lillian and turned it into his private sanctuary.

The island home features a 300-year-old temple brought from Bali and incorporated features of the former British Army barracks and gunpowder store dating from the 19th century.

Dr Martin, who amassed his fortune from his books, many of which became best sellers, associated videos and lecture tours, pledged $100 million to Oxford in 2005 to set up a school to study the problems of the 21st century.

In 2010, he offered another $50 million in matching funds, which meant that for every $1 million pledged by another donor, he would match it with the same amount.

According to an article in the influential UK newspaper The Independent in 2011, he was inspired to set up what became the Oxford Martin School in the wake of the 9/11 New York terror attack in 2001.

He told The Independent: “I was getting more and more concerned about the problems of the planet.

“The idea behind the school was to say that all of these subjects needed research of a very high quality and on all of them there would have to be multi-disciplinary research. Yet there was almost no multi-disciplinary research going on in universities.”

He wrote The Meaning of the 21st Century: A Vital Blueprint for Ensuring Our Future, which was published in 2006 and featured interviews with prominent scientists, philosophers and politicians.

The book was later made into a documentary, narrated by Bermuda neighbour and film star Michael Douglas.

While Dr Martin, despite his wealth and fame, lived quietly, he was prominent in local society and regularly delivered lectures on the island in the late 1990s and early 2000s.


IT guru James Martin – a potted biography

  • Martin is the largest individual benefactor to the University of Oxford in its 900-year history.
  • Martin has written 105 textbooks, some of which were seminal works that changed perceptions in the Information Technology (IT) industry. Computerworld, in its 25th anniversary issue, ranked Martin fourth among the 25 individuals who have most influenced the world of computer science.
  • Martin has made several hundred videotapes, most of them education tapes produced by Deltak between 1978 and 1994.
  • The Wired Society, written by Martin in 1977 was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, and contained remarkably accurate and timely descriptions of the use of computers and the Internet 25 years later. Martin is well known for the accuracy of his predictions about high technology and its impact on modern society. In his book Technology's Crucible, published in 1987, there is a scenario that depicts Arab terrorists and a major terrorist attack on New York City in 1998.
  • In addition to his Litt.D. from Oxford University, Martin has received honorary doctorates from all six continents.
  • He has commonly been referred to in the IT press as the "Father of CASE" (Computer-Aided Systems Engineering) - tools that help automate software development. The original prototypes for the Texas Instruments and KnowledgeWare CASE tools were built in Martin's home under his direction. In the late 1980s these became the two leading CASE tools.
  • In the early 1990s Martin was a member of the software Scientific Advisory Board of the U.S. Department of Defense. He was the only English person on the DoD Advisory Board.
  • Martin founded James Martin and Company, now called "Headstrong," which has a leading-edge reputation for ultra-complex systems development.
  • From 1975 to 2001 Martin gave 5-day seminars on IT. Martin was of the very few people who both a leading business "guru" and a leading technology "guru." He was constantly in demand to lecture to big audiences around the world, and meet leadership people. For three decades he was able to observe firsthand the rapidly worsening problems of the planet, and discuss practical actions that can be taken to alleviate them. These actions, he believes, eventually will lead to radical changes in civilization - the subject of his new book, "The Meaning of the 21st Century."
  • Because this subject requires much research and education, Martin founded the Institute for Science, Innovation and Society (formerly known as the Institute for Science and Civilization).
  • In 2005, Martin founded the James Martin 21st Century School at the University of Oxford, which encourages researchers to work together in innovative ways to address future challenges. Its mission is to utilize integrated scholarship across a range of disciplines to identify, research and find solutions to the biggest challenges facing humanity in the 21st Century. The School is bringing together brilliant scholars and practitioners from around the world to, pursue world-class leading-edge research, teach, and influence policy in areas that are critical to the 21st century.
  • In 2010, the 21st-Century School became the OXFORD MARTIN SCHOOL and had 30 institutes.
  • Martin is a Senior Fellow of the James Martin Center for Non-Proliferation Studies in the Monterey Institute. The nuclear situation will be the subject of his next book.
  • Martin is a Fellow of the World Academy of Art and Science.
  • Martin's book "The Meaning of the 21st Century" has been made into a gripping and extremely important1-hour film.

source: www.jamesmartin.com