The Encyclopedia of Earth
Stephen passed away on June 6th, 2010. He was an Associate Professor of Natural Sciences at Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston, Massachusetts. His background was in science and technology and he had held leadership positions in academia, government, and business.
Prior to his work at Wentworth, he served in a number of positions in academia, government, and business. He had been a government researcher and administrator, university professor, business owner and entrepreneur, and technical consultant. He taught undergraduate and graduate courses; directed Master’s, Doctoral, and Post-Doctoral students; and presented research results at many national and international scientific meetings and symposia. He authored and co-authored scientific research papers published in peer-reviewed journals. He organized and was the proceedings editor of an international scientific conference on fire and the environment published by the U.S. Forest Service. He developed business plans and made presentations to the investment community including venture capital firms and Wall Street investment banks. As part of his research and educational activities, he participated in federal agency and congressional workshops in areas such as Global Change, made presentations to school and civic groups, and gave interviews to local, regional and national media.
His undergraduate degree was in Biology from Emory University. As a National Science Foundation Predoctoral Fellow at Cornell University, he completed his doctoral research on biogeochemical processes in the White Mountains of New Hampshire as part of the Hubbard Brook Ecosystem Study. The focus of that work was the effects of atmospheric deposition and forest management on nutrient flows and streamwater quality.The results of that work led to the publication of a number of papers in journals including Biogeochemistry and the journal Nature. After completing his doctoral work, he had the opportunity of conducting related research projects on streams, lakes, and watersheds in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California, the coastal mountains of Maine, and several national parks including Sequoia National Park and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. His research areas included studying multiple environmental impacts to natural ecosystems including: global climate change; atmospheric deposition and air pollution; acid mine drainage; bridge construction, forest management, invasive and introduced species, and fire.
As a research scientist and administrator, he developed a number of grant proposals for cooperative research projects. These projects were submitted to and funded by agencies including the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Park Service, the U.S. Forest Service, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the Electric Power Research Institute. He served in the capacity of project manager, research coordinator, or principal investigator and managed the operations and budgets of the projects. In several instances, he established analytical laboratories for testing water quality and identified and implemented new field research sites and stream monitoring programs. He coordinated research efforts and logistics for projects that involved at any one time in excess of a dozen academic institutions, corporate landowners, and state and government agencies. He managed dozens of students, staff, and cooperative researchers on campus and at numerous environmental field sites.
A primary focus of his was the state of American educational systems, with particular reference to science education. He was deeply concerned about these issues, as he wrote in his blog, the weak state of science literacy in American college students and high school students.
He saw the Encyclopedia of Earth as a very important project towards helping enhance students' and the general public's understanding of the science of natural processes.