- Citizen Science
- Amateur Research
- Neuron News
- Science News
About the Principal
Matthew T. Dearing graduated from Illinois Wesleyan University with a BA in physics magna cum laude with research honors. His undergraduate research involved developing new ways to organize matter on the micro- and nano-length scales, primarily using focused laser light called Optical Tweezers. In particular, he fabricated the first holographic (phase-modulating) optical element for use in an optical tweezer system using the Materials Research Laboratory at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. This research (2001) led to the development of further work that resulted in U.S. Patent #6,541,022 (2003) with colleagues William Murphy, now at the University of Wisconsin, and Gabriel Spalding, at Illinois Wesleyan University.
After graduation in 2000, Matthew worked as a research assistant under Dr. John Quintana of Northwestern University with DND-CAT at the Advanced Photon Source at Argonne National Laboratory. During this opportunity, he performed experimental measurements using synchrotron radiation and designed and built a specialized stage for automated control of an x-ray micro-focusing optical element.
He continued education in physics at Cornell University as an NSF IGERT Fellow in Nonlinear Systems (National Science Foundation Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship) in the Department of Physics, and helped establish the new Excimer Laser Microfabrication Facility at the Nanobiotechnology Center while working as an Industrial Support Specialist for the NBTC. Also at Cornell, he developed software for mapping neuronal growth on silicon chips to structurally characterize living neural networks as they interface for potential integration with computer circuits, and presented and published his work at the International Conference of Complex Systems (2002). Matthew also taught for several years physics, electronics, algebra, technical mathematics, trigonometry and calculus at Cornell University, Wells College, and Tompkins-Cortland Community College.
During his time in Ithaca, New York, Matthew and his wife, Michelle, started a paint your own pottery studio in Downtown Ithaca, and launched dot pottery, an online personalized pottery creative arts service where Michelle is the artist who sells her personalized designs to customers across the country. Soon after, they expanded with pyop At Home offering for the first time the very popular creative experience of paint your own pottery to anyone located anywhere in the United States.
From 2005 to 2015, Matthew was a full-time member of the family business, Denney Jewelers, where he focused on managing and training the sales team, managing retail operations, marketing and finances, managing customer service and developing the overall customer experience. He also designed and crafted original fine jewelry using sophisticated CAD/CAM design software, 3D wax prototype printing, 3D machine milling, and on-site casting and manufacturing with precious metals and gemstones. He became a Certified Senior Management Professional with Jewelers of America, and Matthew designed and lead the manufacturing of the exclusive infinity by DENNEY line of fine jewelry available at Denney Jewelers. Matthew also studied as a gemologist receiving certification with the Gemmological Association of Great Britain.
In the fall of 2014, Matthew began teaching introductory physics labs at Illinois Wesleyan University as an Adjunct Instructor. His excitement for helping students “click” with physics by diving into experiments, struggling with derivations, and working together to problem solve and figure things out guides his efforts to support the world-class educational experience in a small, liberal arts environment hosted by IWU.
Most recently in 2015, Matthew joined Argonne National Laboratory as a Systems Analyst where he currently develops web-based enterprise software solutions to support the operational mission of the federal laboratory. As a fundamentally interdisciplinary organization that is focused at the forefront of research and technology, Matthew is excited to bring his wide range of skills to support the incredible science and engineering that directly affects our world today and will guide its advancement into the future. He is also studying towards a Master’s Degree in Computer Science at the University of Illinois at Springfield, which is expected in 2017.
Matthew is a father who enjoys exploring the universe with his 9 year-old daughter, Elizabeth, and his 6 year-old son, Andrew. He performs on stage in community theatre and in 2012 launched an independent theatre production company, dynamic patterns theatre, which premiered their first production in May 2012 to sold out audiences. Along with his wife, Michelle, they continued a successful production season throughout 2013. Matthew has been a board member for the Springfield Theatre Centre and the Springfield Ballet Company, and was a member of the Rotary Club of Ithaca and the Rotary Club of Springfield Sunrise. Currently, he serves as a cub scout den leader for the Tiger Den #3, Pack #99 in the Thunderbird District of the Three Fires Council #127, Boy Scouts of America.
Matthew curates and writes citizen science featured articles for Dynamic Patterns Research, the Citizen Science League, Science 2.0 and humanity + Magazine. His work was featured in the State Journal-Register of Springfield, Illinois.