Richard J. C. Brown was born in Epsom in 1975. He was educated at Epsom College and Imperial College London, from where he received his BSc in Chemistry, together with the Governors’ Prize for Chemistry, in 1997. He remained at Imperial and was awarded his PhD in Electrochemistry in 2000.
Richard joined the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) to work on pH standards and subsequently on ultra-low reflectance surfaces, attracting widespread publicity as ‘NPL Super Black’. Richard’s work then moved on to air quality – in particular measurements of the composition of ambient particulate matter and of mercury vapour in air. In 2012, Richard was awarded the DSc Degree from Imperial College for the application of measurement science to air quality studies, and in 2015 was promoted to NPL Fellow in Chemical Metrology in recognition of his very significant contributions to NPL's scientific achievement.
In 2018, Richard was appointed as the inaugural Head of Metrology at NPL, with accountability for ensuring the quality of NPL's scientific output. He led NPL’s input into the recent revision of the International System of Units (the SI) and in particular the redefinition of the mole.
Richard was heavily involved in communicating the recent changes to the SI and the mole, and the importance of accurate chemical measurement in general, via a series of lectures, interviews and articles to the scientific community, academia and to the general public. He has published in excess of 220 peer-reviewed papers on a wide range of topics from air quality science to fundamental chemical measurement and SI units.