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Steve Gillett got his undergraduate degree in geology at Caltech in 1975. After a brief period with the U.S. Geological Survey, he received his Ph.D., also in geology, from SUNY Stony Brook in 1981. In the early and mid-1980s, Gillett worked as a consulting geologist in the Pacific Northwest. There he was involved in introducing advanced technology to the oil business.
While in the Northwest, Gillett also taught astronomy at a community college, and he's since returned to academia full-time. He's currently a research associate at the Mackay School of Mines, University of Nevada, Reno, where among other things he works on Paleozoic paleomagnetism, and on seismic risk at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, the proposed high-level nuclear waste repository, as well as teaching undergraduate geology. He's published technical papers on such diverse topics as the statistics of directions and possible lunar resources. Recently he's become interested in the implications of nanotechnologies for the geological sciences, in particular for the resource business.
Gillett has also written many popular science articles. He's a frequent contributor of speculative science articles to Analog, and was the science columnist at Amazing Science Fiction from January 1991 until that magazine ceased publication in early 1995.
He has also written science fiction under a pseudonym, often in collaboration with Jerry Oltion, and has conducted the world-building seminar at "Contact: Cultures of the Imagination," hosted by Cabrillo College of Santa Cruz every year in the Bay Area.
Gillett was born in El Paso, Texas, but grew up in Las Vegas, Nevada, after his family moved there in the mid-1950s. His father worked for one of the prime contractors at the Nevada Test Site, the U.S. nuclear-weapons testing facility, and he vaguely remembers seeing some of the aboveground tests from a mountainside about fifty miles away--back around 1960, when they were considered just nifty fireworks!
He now lives in Carson City, Nevada, with his wife Joyce (a veterinarian), their son Travis, a cat and an Australian Shepherd. His hobbies include outdoor activities such as camping and hiking, model rocketry (with Travis!) and ragtime piano.