Text Box: Newsletter of the Physical Sciences at Solano Community College

Phy-Sci Technician wins Classified Employee of the Year Award!

The entire Physical Sciences Department would like to congratulate technician Richard Crapuchettes for being awarded the “Classified Employee of the Year” award for 2005. This award is given each year to the non-faculty employee at SCC who makes a special contribution to the college.

As most of you know, Richard is a technician in the Physical Sciences Department, where he supports the physics, engineering, geology and astronomy staff. Richard’s background is in chemistry, and he has been at SCC since 1986. Due to the fact that the Chemistry Department has often been left without a technician, Richard has frequently helped out there.

Richard grew up with a father who was a prominent engineer, and who helped him develop a very intuitive insight into all sorts of technical issues. He has a deep knowledge of all aspects of physics, chemistry and engineering, and his advice and insight has been a tremendous asset to the department. Without him, the laboratories would surely grind to a halt. Richard has the knowledge and expertise with equipment to provide the hands-on experience that community college students desperately need.

Richard continuously contributes far beyond the job description for his position. For example, he has designed his own machine to test the work-hardening of metals. Last fall, he worked all semester to develop a new astronomy lab for our school, often purchasing needed equipment out of his own pocket. Outside of work, Richard volunteers as a tutor in mathematics to high school students, where he puts his great ability to explain difficult concepts to very good use.

Last fall on Flex Day, other staff members were treated to Richard’s entertaining and informative lecturing style. He gave a demonstration on the biomechanics of the human ear, and showed how sounds that are too loud can break the fine hairs in the ear, causing permanent hearing loss. To show this, he constructed an apparatus that oscillated spaghetti strands at different frequencies and amplitudes. When the amplitude becomes too large, the strands break. The point of the demonstration was that not only are loud noises temporarily annoying, they can have permanent consequences! This is but one example of Richard’s ability to build experiments that help students gain a real feeling for the importance of physical science in our lives.

So, congratulations again to Richard, and let’s hope that he will be with us for another 20 years!

-Article and Photo
by Melanie Lutz