Professor Matthew Szydagis received his B.A., M.S., and Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in 2005, 2006 and 2011 respectively, then continued his work in physics as a postdoctoral scholar at the University of California Davis (2010-2014). Since 2014, he has been an Assistant Professor at the University at Albany Department of Physics, pursuing experimental particle astrophysics, in particular the direct laboratory detection of dark matter WIMPs (Weakly Interacting Massive Particles) underground, and general detector development for “rare event” searches. He works on the LUX (Large Underground Xenon) and LZ liquid-Xe based experiments and is the developer of the NEST (Noble Element Simulation Technique) software and the “snowball chamber” supercooled water technology.
He grew up watching Star Trek: The Next Generation right away with Season 1 from the age of ~5, falling in love with the character of Lt. Cmdr. Data, realizing that science officer was the position for him. Voyager fed his imagination in junior high and high school, and Enterprise in college. He became a physicist after being inspired by the time travel and faster-than-light warp drives in Star Trek. He realized that the UAP phenomenon may be tied to real-life extraterrestrial incursion after the AATIP reveal and the numerous trusted media outlets following up on it and the Nimitz incident, along with similar incidents. Lastly, recent discoveries by colleagues in the exoplanets field especially numerous Earth-like planets caused him to question the assumption of Earth’s uniqueness for life.