60 second science: Engineering measurement innovation with Sir David McMurtry and John Deer

From humble beginnings as mechanical apprentices, Sir David and John met in the library at Rolls-Royce. Together they founded Renishaw, now one of the world’s foremost manufacturers of precision measurement equipment.

Sir David McMurtry and John Deer are joint winners of the Swan Medal awarded by the Institute of Physics celebrating physics in business.

John Deer and Sir David McMurtry discussing production with employees at the Renishaw New Mills site.

John Deer and Sir David McMurtry discuss production with employees at the Renishaw New Mills site.


Sir David: I was determined I was going to go into a career in the aircraft industry.

John: I did an engineering apprenticeship.

Sir David: I applied for a job in what is now Rolls-Royce. I was deputy chief designer and that was the time we started Renishaw.

John: David’s strength is that he’s a great innovator as well as a designer.

Sir David: John’s strength is always commercial nouse.

Sir David: The areas of science which we are active in is metrology which is the science of measurement

John: We were going to be selling to big companies who had absolutely failed to solve the problem of manufacturing a sensor capable of being used on their machines. We had no problem whatsoever in introducing the product to these major companies in America, Japan, Italy and the UK.

John: This reward really is for the company and that’s what makes me really proud.

Sir David: It puts the company in the spotlight.

About the film

Filmed on location at:

  • Renishaw, New Mills, Wooton-Under-Edge, Goucestershire, UK.
  • Renishaw, Woodchester, Gloucestershire, UK. September 2012.

Director: Martyn Bull
Producer: Thomas Delfs
Camera: Mark Whatmore
Editors: Liam Angell, Mike Willbourne
Cast: Sir David McMurtry, John Deer

Production company: insitu
Client: Institute of Physics

Camera: RED Epic, Canon 550D

Further reading