In 1960, Dr. Robert Brill joined the staff of The Corning Museum of Glass as its second research scientist. He has collaborated with scientists, curators, conservators, and archaeologists the world over, conducting chemical analyses and other scientific investigations of historical glass objects. The goal has been to determine when and where particular glass objects were made, how glass was made, what it was used for, and how it was traded. Since 1979, Dr. Brill has taken a special interest in Asian glass, and now focuses his studies on glass found along the Silk Road, a trade route connecting the Mediterranean World with East Asia.
From 1972–1975, Dr. Brill served as director of the Museum, leading its recovery from the disastrous flood of 1972. He has published more than 190 works in various journals and symposia. Most notably, he is the author of Chemical Analyses of Early Glasses, a major work in glass research published in 1999 by The Corning Museum of Glass.
Since 1962, Dr. Brill has served on the International Commission on Glass (ICG), the world's leading organization of glass scientists and technologists. He organized their Committee on Archeometry of Glass, dedicated to the scientific study of historical glass and to its conservation. He was chairman of the committee until 2004. That year, he received the ICG's William E. S. Turner Award. In 1990, he received The Pomerance Award for Scientific Contributions to Archaeology from the Archaeological Institute of America.
Prior to joining the Museum, Dr. Brill taught chemistry at Upsala College, where he had also earned his bachelor’s degree in chemistry. He holds a Ph.D. in physical chemistry from Rutgers University.
Dr. Brill retired from The Corning Museum of Glass in 2008.