Professor of Physics, University of Sheffield
Richard is a physicist, with a BA and PhD from Cambridge University. Following postdoctoral work at Cornell University, he was an assistant lecturer, then lecturer, at Cambridge's Cavendish Laboratory. He moved to Sheffield as a Professor of Physics in 1998, and was Head of Department from 1999-2003. From 2009 to 2016 he was Pro-Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation, with overall responsibility for all aspects of research, innovation and knowledge exchange across the University of Sheffield.
His work has focused on experimental studies of the nanoscale structure and properties of polymers and biological macromolecules at interfaces. He is the author of more than 120 research papers, and three books, the most recent of which is Soft Machines: nanotechnology and life, published by OUP in 2004. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2006.
He has had a long-standing interest in public engagement and the broader societal dimensions of nanotechnology; he was the co-author, with Stephen Wood, of a report published by the UK´s Economic and Social Research Council, The Social and Economic Challenges of Nanotechnology (2003). He chaired the Nanotechnology Engagement Group, a body set up by UK Government to support the development of best practice in public engagement around nanotechnologies, and to ensure that public engagement feeds into policy and decision-making, and from 2007 to 2009 was the Senior Strategic Advisor for Nanotechnology for the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.