National Physical Laboratory

Defence & Security People

NPL's reputation relies on great people and exceptional scientists.

For over 100 years we have employed physicists, mathematicians, engineers, and more recently, chemists and biologists working on measurement science and the many wider areas that this leads to.

Executive Team

Short biographies of NPL's senior management team.

This includes Peter Thompson, NPL's Managing Director.

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NPL Fellows

Biographies of NPL's Senior Science Fellows, Fellows, Emeritus Senior Fellows and Senior Fellows.

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Business Leaders

Meet the business leaders of NPL.

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NPL Directors

Since its creation in 1899, NPL has been led by a number of notable individuals. You can see biographies of all 20 directors.

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Management Structure

Given the requirement to demonstrate impartiality, independence and integrity in all of its work, NPL requires the highest standards of effective governance, corporate values and ethical behaviour.

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People by science area

Some of our notable staff

  • Richard Brown has been elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) and was also the winner of the RSC's SAC Silver Medal. As part of this he delivered a lecture entitled 'Environmental analytical measurements: from the laboratory to the field' at Pfizer's European Headquarters for R&D.
  • Michael de Podesta was awarded an MBE for his outstanding commitment and passion for science communication. He was one of the first Science Ambassadors at NPL, going out to schools and the community to bring science to life. Michael is now a key Science Ambassador mentor, giving many NPL staff the confidence to go out to schools and colleges and promote science. Michael's work on the redefinition of the kelvin, through an improved determination of the Boltzmann constant using an acoustic thermometer, was featured in Nature magazine.
  • Alan Turnbull’s world-leading expertise in corrosion has been further recognised by winning the Willis Rodney Whitney Award from NACE International. Alan was key in NPL becoming one of only two suppliers to a major oil company for their Inherently Reliability Facilities flagship programme.
  • Since joining in 1991, Ian Gilmore has helped turn NPL into a world leading surface and nanoanalysis research group. Ian was recently made a Fellow of the AVS, a large society and symposium in the US, in recognition of his international leadership in surface and nanoanalysis and pioneering research in the analysis of organic molecules at surfaces.
  • Graham Machin, one of the world's top temperature measurement scientists, contributed to and co-edited a major two-volume work entitled 'Radiometric temperature measurement'. Graham has a great passion for his subject and for good measurement practice in general and was recently made a visiting professor at the University of Glamorgan in addition to his visiting professorship at the University of Valladolid, Spain.
  • John Pethica, NPL's Chief Scientific Adviser, has become Physical Secretary and Vice-President of the Royal Society, replacing Sir Martin Taylor.

Staff News

Supporting our staff

We recognise that people are the most important part of any organisation and as such we try to support our staff in the best way possible.

NPL's Continuous Professional Development Scheme

NPL’s Continuous Professional Development Scheme has been recognised by the Institute of Physics (IOP) as a scheme that demonstrates best practice in the training of physicists

Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents

We maintain a high level of health and safety on site and the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) has consistently commended our health and safety record.


NPL actively supports staff who wish to volunteer for community work. Staff who engage in work such as School Governors, Scout Leadership and St John Ambulance can request up to five days time off for volunteering per year.

Two Ticks Disability

Jobcentre Plus has approved NPL to be a user of the Two Ticks Disability Symbol. This means that NPL is committed to employing disabled people and will look to continuously support and develop the careers of any disabled members of staff.

Notable individuals

Since its establishment in 1900, NPL has been home to a stream of exceptional scientists who have made major and varied contributions to the world.

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