John Wood was born in 1894 and took a B.Sc. in Physics at Armstrong College, although his studies were interrupted because of WWI. From 1920-22 he took his M.Sc., also at Armstrong College, before working for two years with the X-ray crystallographer Sir William Bragg at the Royal Institution in London. In 1924 John returned to Newcastle and was appointed as a lecturer in the Physics Department at the Armstrong College, where he served until his retirement in 1959; he died in 1961. In appearance John Wood was short and plump - the antithesis of his son Peter. Like his son, however, he had wide cultural interests; they collected books on many topics, but their main interest was mathematical physics. Both believed that a university should facilitate freedom for original thought.
In 1954, Peter was finishing a mathematics degree at University College, London. He then moved to Newcastle to undertake research for a Ph.D. under the supervision of Stanley Rushbrooke.
In 1957, when his Ph.D. was assured, he started as a Research Assistant for two years before becoming a lecturer in 1959 - the same year his father retired. As a lecturer, Peter had his own research students - a total of four - and they all worked on aspects of the statistical mechanics of magnetic systems producing a fine corpus of work.
In 1970 Peter became a Senior Lecturer. He was a good lecturer, who liked to keep changing to new courses. For many years he had the invidious task of sorting out lecture timetables. In 1988, when he was only 56, Peter took early retirement; Peter had long had the ambition of being a hill farmer and some years earlier Peter and his wife Anne, also a physicist, had acquired a small hill farm in Allendale, about 40 miles away, and had been living there. Sadly, after two years of part-time lecturing (part of the early retirement package) Peter fell terminally ill and he died in 1991.
Between them, the Woods - father and son - spanned as lecturers in the physics department an unbroken total of 64 years (and were involved with the department for 78 years!) their time spanned Armstrong College, Kings College and the present University. This unique association is commemorated by the Wood Memorial Lecture.
Emeritus Professor Stanley Rushbrooke (deceased) and Mrs Anne Wood