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The following article appeared July 18, 2003 in the

 The Science Guy of Boca.

By Stephen Pounds
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

Posted
July 18, 2003

    BOCA RATON -- A formation of aerospace helmets guards the mantle in Rick Newman's TV room. Boxes of microscopes crowd around the couch. Butterfly exhibits hang in the hallway, and out back a vintage electric car hides behind a fence near the pool.

    "It's the world's first production-line electric car made by the Vanguard Co. 24 years ago," Newman brags.

    Newman, 47, is the science guy of Boca Raton. His business, High-Tech Productions, brings in about $1 million a year and with that, he finances his passion: collecting space gear and organizing science exhibits for schools.

    So far, Newman has helped put up science centers in 14 neighborhood schools, including one in Pembroke Pines that sent up a science experiment with the ill-fated shuttle Columbia in February.

    His latest project will bring a Russian SOKOL spacesuit that a cosmonaut has worn in space and the window assembly from the Mir space station sister ship to the South Florida Science Museum in West Palm Beach.

    "It's really a rare opportunity," museum Executive Director Jim Rollings said.

    Already on display are a high-altitude flight suit and space gloves, rocket O-rings and nozzles, and a piece of lightweight insulation of the type NASA uses on Mars probes -- all from Newman's collection.

    Rollings hopes to make a splash with the new exhibit Sept. 20, and Newman is even helping there. He is trying to arrange for a cosmonaut and astronaut to attend.

    "We're still waiting for approvals," Rollings said.

    If you don't think Newman can make it happen, a look at his hightechscience.org Web site will drown your suspicions. There you'll find photos of the science centers he's established around the country.

    While growing up, Newman was always the winner of the school science fair. In the 1960s, he was picked to be the kiddie host of a science show in Boston. As an adult, he handled the sound and lighting for hotel shows in the Catskills in New York, where he also shot videos of reunions and other events.

    He started making copies for people who attended. Eventually, he left the camera work behind and started a full-time copying business.

    With all the space paraphernalia scattered around, a visitor might miss the room where the banks of recorders spit out copies of VHS tapes and DVDs for companies such as IBM, CNN and the government.

    He gets the business because companies don't want the fuss of copying for themselves, he says.

    Newman's copying work offers the downtime to put together science exhibits. Orders come in on a business Web site, hightechproductions.com, and once his recorders are filled with blank tapes or DVDs, he can return to his hobby.

    "It's all computerized. That's why I call it High-Tech," he says.

For more information about the centers, log onto     www.HighTechScience.org or call (561) 750-7000.


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High-Tech Productions
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The Science Centers are donated by High-Tech Productions,
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