following article appeared May 28, 2003 in the
donations foster kids' interest in science, space.
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
May 28, 2003
wireless weather system in Richard Newman's backyard monitors wind
direction, the temperature, humidity and dew point. The system
transmits a signal to a device in his Boca Raton home, which then
uploads the information to a Web site every 60 seconds.
Children across the
country are using the same system to learn about the weather. They'll
soon be able to watch animals and birds in their natural habitat with
an outdoor, weather-proof high resolution camera, similar to those
used for surveillance in night clubs and casinos.
Newman is the
founder of science and technology centers at Boy Scout camps, Indian
reservations and schools in 10 states including Florida, New York,
Washington, Montana and Alabama. Each center has a digital telescope,
fossil and rock collections, insect collections and computers, as well
as space exhibits that include rare flight helmets, pieces of thermal
tile, gloves used on Russia's orbiting Mir space station and a vial of
microscopic beads made on the Challenger in April 1983.
"I call it the
wow factor," Newman said. "I wish they had stuff like this
when I was a kid."
nickname was "the wire man." He entered science fairs, and
one of his exhibits, the affect sound and light has on plants, was
displayed in the New York Hall of Science in Flushing, Queens.
Newman found success
designing a sound system for the Pines Hotel in the Catskills resort
area in New York state. The hotel made him stage manager and during
his 13 years there, he produced shows for entertainers including
Milton Berle, Tony Bennett and Joan Rivers.
At about the same
time, Newman developed High-Tech Productions, a tape & DVD
duplication and conversion company. He's transferred tapes from VHS to
DVD for clients including NASA, the FBI and the Centers for Disease
Jeanne, and I were the first to see the Al-Qaeda training tapes,"
said Newman, who moved to Boca Raton the day after Hurricane Andrew.
"CNN had 28 tapes sent down by courier. We converted them from
the PAL (Afghanistan) format to the American mini DV format."
Always close to his
heart are the summers he spent as a Boy Scout at Ten Mile River Scout
Camp in upstate New York. When he learned his scout master died,
Newman bought the camp's canteen and renamed it the "Jerry Reimer
Trading Post". He then provided the camp with computers, a
microscope and telescope. The first High-Tech Productions.com
Science & Technology Center opened July 14, 2001. Newman
unveiled the 14th center this month in North Carolina. Nearly 99
percent of the items in the centers are paid for by Newman. "My
goal is to have one in all 50 states," he said.
Newman spends his
spare time refinishing antiques and fine-tuning a 1980 electric car
equipped with a video system, strobe lights and a wireless public
address system with CD and MP3 playback. The yellow car, he said, is
the only one of it's kind known to still be running and licensed for
"I never once
took a computer or electronics course," he said. "I'm just a
For more information
about the centers, log onto www.HighTechScience.org
or call (561) 750-7000.