following article appeared July 18, 2003 in the
Science Guy of Boca.
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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.