Dr Peterson brings a strong background in science communication, with experience in the New Zealand’s science system and solid connections with technology businesses in New Zealand. Dean will contribute specifically to the Centre for Science in Society through: lectures with SCIS 311; connections to public science engagement from Te Papa; overseeing students research projects and intern placements for the upcoming Masters programme.
Since receiving his Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from Bradley University and Ph.D from Michigan State University with a Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry, Dean has had an amazing career spanning physical sciences, policy and science funding. He worked in atmospheric research from 1988 to 1998 at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, USA. He worked at NASA Headquarters as Co-Program Manager for the Upper Atmosphere Research Program (UARP) from 1994 to 1997.
From June 1998 to July 2008 Dean was Science Strategy Manager for Antarctica New Zealand, New Zealand’s government organisation in charge of Antarctic operations and was appointed Chairman of the international Joint Committee on Antarctic Data Management from 2001 to 2003. He has also been on numerous scientific committees and has been extensively involved in ANDRILL and the Latitudinal Gradient Project over his time at Antarctica New Zealand.
Dean was the Manager, Research Funding at the Royal Society of New Zealand from 2008 to 2014. Within this appointment, Dean managed the Marsden Fund (the fundamental research fund for the New Zealand government), the James Cook Fellowships and the Rutherford Discovery Fellowships.
Dean is currently the Director of Collections and Research, as part of the Executive Leadership Team at Te Papa, Tongarewa, New Zealand's national museum.