National Physical Laboratory

Richard Brown

Current interests

Richard Brown

Dr Richard Brown is leading work in the trace chemical analysis area to provide traceability for, and improve the accuracy of, measurements of pollutants in ambient air and other environmental matrices. He is also involved in research into complex data analysis and calibration techniques.


Richard received his BSc in Chemistry (together with the Governors' Prize for Chemistry) and his PhD in Electrochemistry from Imperial College, London, in 1997 and 2000, respectively. Since then he has worked for NPL.

In 2009, Richard was awarded the 34th SAC Silver Medal by the Royal Society of Chemistry "for his excellence in the application of measurement science to a variety of analytical chemistry problems. In particular, the areas of: environmental analytical chemistry, electroanalysis and surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy." In 2008 and again in 2013, he won the CITAC Award for the Most Important Paper in Metrology in Chemistry for his work on mercury vapour measurement, and silver chloride reference electrodes, respectively.

In 2012, Richard was awarded the Doctor of Science (DSc) Degree from Imperial College London in 'The Application of Measurement Science to Environmental Analytical Chemistry for Air Quality Studies'.

Richard has published in excess of 200 peer-reviewed papers.

Richard is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry, a Chartered Scientist and holder of the European Chemist designation.

He is currently Knowledge Leader for Environmental Science at NPL, and represents NPL on the International Committee for Weights and Measures' Consultative Committees for Amount of Substance and for Units.

In 2015, Richard was made an NPL Fellow in Chemical Metrology and in 2017 he was awarded the Royal Society of Chemistry's L S Theobald Lectureship, in recognition of his significant contributions to the analytical sciences.

In March 2018, Richard was appointed as the inaugural Head of Metrology at NPL, with accountability for ensuring the quality of NPL's scientific research and measurement service work.

Selected publications

  • Predicting the frequency of extreme air quality events
    Brown, R J C; Harris, P M
    Environmental Science: Processes & Impacts, 2017, 19, 1499–1504
  • On the traceability of gaseous reference materials
    Brown, R J C; Brewer, P J; Harris, P M; Davidson, S; van der Veen, A M H; Ent, H
    Metrologia, 2017, 54, L11–L18
  • Wavelength-dependent light absorption as a cost effective, real-time surrogate for ambient concentrations of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons
    Brown, R J C; Butterfield, D M; Goddard, S L; Hussain, D; Quincey, P G; Fuller, G W
    Atmospheric Environment, 2016, 127, 125–132
  • Temperature dependence of Hg vapour mass concentration at saturation in air: new SI traceable results between 15 and 30 ºC
    Quétel, C R; Zampella, M; Brown, R J C
    Trends in Analytical Chemistry, 2016, 85B, 81–88
  • Ten years of mercury measurement at urban and industrial air quality monitoring stations in the UK
    Brown, R J C; Goddard, S L; Butterfield, D M; Brown, A S; Robins, C; Mustoe, C L; McGhee, E A
    Atmospheric Environment, 2015, 109, 1–8

Contact details

Tel: 020 8943 6409

Last Updated: 10 Apr 2018
Created: 30 Jan 2012


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