Koppes, Steven N. 1957–

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Koppes, Steven N. 1957–

(Steven Nelson Koppes)

PERSONAL: Born August 28, 1957, in Manhattan, KS; son of Ralph (a printer) and Mary (a clerical worker) Koppes; married Susan Keaton (a newspaper editor) May 18, 1984 (divorced). Education: Kansas State University, B.S. (anthropology), 1978; University of Kansas, M.S., 1982. Politics: "Independent." Religion: "Agnostic." Hobbies and other interests: Long-distance running, backpacking, reading.

ADDRESSES: Home—1355 Jeffery Dr., Homewood, IL 60430. OfficeUniversity of Chicago News Office, 5801 S. Ellis Ave. Room 200, Chicago, IL 60637. E-mail[email protected].

CAREER: Science writer. Morning Sun (newspaper), Pittsburg, KS, journalist, 1981–83; worked in family restaurant, 1983–85; Arizona State University News Bureau, writer, assistant director, then interim director, 1985–97; University of Georgia, Athens, assistant director of research communications, 1997–98; University of Chicago News Office, Chicago, IL, science writer, 1998–. Publisher of Tempe, AZ, entertainment tabloid, c. mid-1980s.

MEMBER: National Association of Science Writers, Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators.

AWARDS, HONORS: Nonfiction Honor List inclusion, Voice of Youth Advocates, 2003, and Best Book for Children designation, Science Books & Films magazine, named Outstanding Science Trade Book, National Science Teachers Association/Children's Book Council, and Honor Book for Grades 7-12, Society of School Librarians International, all 2004, all for Killer Rocks from Outer Space.


Killer Rocks from Outer Space: Asteroids, Comets, and Meteorites, Lerner Publications Co. (Minneapolis, MN), 2004.

WORK IN PROGRESS: A biography of the late Robert S. Diez, a geologist.

SIDELIGHTS: Steven N. Koppes also answers to the name "Mr. Meteor." In his book Killer Rocks from Outer Space: Asteroids, Comets, and Meteorites Koppes describes the many impacts upon planetary surfaces that have occurred in our solar system, including those by caused by comets, asteroids, and meteorites. Noting that Earth has sometimes been the direct target, Koppes explores the effects of such activity, including the extinction of Earth's dinosaurs and the possibility of future impacts on the planet's surface. Color photos and illustrations accompany Koppes's text, in which "better readers … will find lots for reports or for personal interest," according to Booklist contributor Jennifer Locke. Jeffrey A. French wrote in School Library Journal that Koppes has created "an attractive and readable look at planetary impacts by comets, asteroids, and meteorites," and continued: "While Koppes focuses on the possibility, of future impacts on Earth and the danger they present, his writing is not as sensationalistic as the title" implies.

Koppes once commented: "My parents encouraged me to read and learn and as a result I developed an interest in writing at a fairly young age. I wrote my first 'book,' on human evolution, in grade school. The first article that was published under my byline was a book review that appeared on August 19, 1979, in my hometown newspaper, the Manhattan (Kansas) Mercury.

"After completing my master's degree in journalism at the University of Kansas I landed my first full-time writing job as a reporter at The Morning Sun in Pittsburg, Kansas, where I worked from 1981 to 1983. From 1983 to 1985 I was in the restaurant business with my brothers. Still I wrote, edited and published an entertainment tabloid newspaper that we distributed in our restaurant in Tempe, Arizona. Then I began my career in higher education, at Arizona State University.

"Geologist Robert S. Dietz inspired me to writer Killer Rocks from Outer Space. I met Dr. Dietz at Arizona State University in 1985 and interviewed him regularly for scientific news reports until the latter's death in 1995. Dietz made pioneering research contributions to three distinct divisions of the geosciences: sea-floor spreading, the recognition of meteorite and asteroid impact structures on Earth, and the impact origin of the moon's surface. He also conceived and organized Project Nekton, the plan to dive to the deepest spot on the ocean floor. Project Nekton culminated on January 23, 1960, when the Trieste submersible and its two-man crew dived seven miles to the bottom of the Pacific Ocean's Challenger Deep."



Booklist, January 1, 2004, Jennifer Locke, review of Killer Rocks from Outer Space: Asteroids, Comets, and Meteorites, p. 841.

Library Media Connection, April-May, 2004, review of Killer Rocks from Outer Space, p. 78.

School Library Journal, March, 2004, Jeffrey A. French, review of Killer Rocks from Outer Space, p. 237.

Science Teacher, February, 2004, Diana Wiig, review of Killer Rocks from Outer Space, p. 81.


Steven N. Koppes Home Page, http://mrmeteor.com (February 24, 2006).