Brad Purcell

Brad Purcell

Metrology Technician

Brad's job title is Assistant Research Scientist at the National Physical Laboratory

What I do

I use, design, and repair equipment to take measurements. Measurement science is mostly about making sure that measurements made in the world are correct. So, for instance, at the supermarket, how do you know a kilo is a kilo?


Hear more about Brad's role by watching the video below...

How I became a technician

A surprising fact about my job

Part of our purpose is to give measurement standards to the rest of the UK. We recently had an artist send in some samples to see how white the white was that he had created. I have also had tomato sauce manufacturers send in samples to see how red they are because apparently there is a correct red. There are very few jobs where you don’t need measurement standards, so the national measurement strategy is keeping the UK economy running by ensuring fair and impartial standards.

A little more about
my everyday role

The most exciting thing I’ve achieved so far in my job

Something I'm proud of working on is supporting our sister team - the Climate and Earth Observation Team - to calibrate the instruments they will use in a new satellite calibration facility in the Namibian desert. Twenty years ago, satellite data measurements couldn’t really be relied upon, and the lack of traceability in measurements was used to question climate data. But now we are putting traceability into the measurement of satellites.

The best bits about working in a team

NPL is very diverse and so there are lots of different people with different views.

The next steps in my career journey

I am hoping to become involved in some high-level projects I can be permanently attached to, so this may involve part time study.

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