Paul Quincey

Paul Quincey

Principal Research Scientist

Paul Quincey is a Principal Research Scientist at NPL, and he leads airborne particle measurement research within the Gas and Particle Metrology Group. He is also interested in the historical development of measurements and systems of measurement units such as the SI. In addition to his roles at NPL, Paul is a Visiting Professor at King’s College London, and an ex officio member of Defra's Air Quality Expert Group (AQEG).

Current interests

Paul leads the science on airborne particle measurements within the Energy and Environment Science Theme, including the regulated metrics for mass concentration PM10 and PM2.5, particle number concentration and size distribution, elemental carbon/organic carbon, and 'soot' type measurements such as black carbon and black smoke. Linked to this work, he is involved in many national and international collaborative measurement activities through, for example, Defra, CCQM, EURAMET and EU projects.

He has also published many papers and given talks relating to the development of the science of measurement, for example on the recent redefinition of some of the SI base units, explaining how the number of base units is linked to the number of conservation laws, and why quantum physics, widely presented as weird and incomprehensible, in fact brings stability and precision to the world, as well as providing us with our best “natural” measurement units.


Paul has a BA in Physics and a DPhil in superconducting materials, both from Oxford University. He has over twenty years' experience in gas and particle metrology and standardisation. He works with Defra and the Environment Agency and is currently responsible for the scientific aspects of two major contracts for Defra: the UK Particle Network, and the UK Black Carbon Network. He has previously worked on the UK Hydrocarbon Network and the Automatic Urban and Rural Network, which monitors most regulated gas pollutants and also PM10 and PM2.5.

He is a member of the CEN working groups for ambient air measurements of PM2.5 and PM10, elemental carbon/organic carbon, and particle number concentration, and of the ISO group addressing particle size distribution and number concentration for general applications, including vehicle emissions.

Paul is a Member of Institute of Physics and a Chartered Physicist.


Selected Recent Publications

Natural units in physics, and the curious case of the radian
Paul Quincey
Phys. Educ. 51 (6), 065012 (2016)

An investigation into the effects of off-shore shipping emissions on coastal black carbon concentrations.       David Butterfield and Paul Quincey
Aerosol and Air Quality Research, 17: 218–229 (2017)

A clearer approach for defining unit systems
Paul Quincey and Richard J. C. Brown
Metrologia 54 454-460 (2017)

Light attenuation versus evolved carbon (AVEC) – a new way to look at elemental and organic carbon analysis
E.M.G. Nicolosi, P. Quincey, A. Font and G.W. Fuller
Atmospheric Env. 175, 145–153 (2018)

Mobility Particle Size Spectrometers: Calibration Procedures and Measurement Uncertainties Wiedensohler, A., Wiesner, A., Weinhold, K., Birmili, W., Hermann, M., Merkel, M., Müller, T., Pfeifer, S. Schmidt, A., and Tuch, T., Quincey, P., Seeger, S., and Nowak, A.
Aerosol Science and Technology 52, 146-164 (2018)

The role of unit systems in expressing and testing the laws of nature
Paul Quincey and Kathryn Burrows
Metrologia 56(6) 065001 (2019)