Richard was awarded a PhD for his research into radiation damage in semicondictor devices at the Cavendish Laboratory, Cambridge, where he worked with several Nobel Prize winners. He tutored undergraduate courses including quantum mechanics and special relativity. Richard has published peer-reviewed scientific research papers and was briefly a fellow of St John's College, Oxford. Richard was a guest on BBC Radio 4's The Infinite Monkey Cage with Prof Brian Cox, Robin Ince and Ben Miller and he was a speaker at the Big Science event at the Royal Institution.
In 1994 Richard presented Channel 4 TV's primetime science series Beat That Einstein. He guided a team of contestants through daunting challenges using basic scientific principles and a shed full of junk, like a mash-up of Scrapheap Challenge and Taskmaster. Richard also made a pilot for the Open University's Saturday morning takeover of BBC2:
Dr Vranch and hula-hooper Pippa The Ripper performed together as 'Dr Hula' in Brian Cox and Robin Ince's Christmas show live at the Hammersmith Apollo. They combined periodic table gags with hula-hooping, finishing on a water molecule. Pippa has 8 electrons on separate hoops as the Oxygen atom and Richard is one of the Hydrogens:
Richard has an Erdős-Bacon-Sabbath Number of 9. His Erdős number represents 5 stages of separation from the prolific mathematician Paul Erdős by way of published scientific research. His Bacon number is 2 from acting with people who acted with Kevin Bacon, and his Sabbath number is 2 from recording music with Herbie Flowers who has recorded with Tommy Ioni.