UNICO National Presents 2011 Marconi Science Award and Medal to Astronaut Paul Richards

June 8, 2011

FAIRFIELD, N.J., June 8, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — Astronaut Paul W. Richards of Annapolis, MD, was awarded the 2011 UNICO National Marconi Science Award by UNICO National President Chris DiMattio at a gala award ceremony during UNICO’s Board of Directors meeting, Saturday, March 26th, 2011, in Kansas City, MO.

Richards, an accomplished aerospace engineer, was a crewmember of Space Shuttle Discovery Mission STS-102 which visited the International Space Station. Mission accomplishments included the delivery of the Expedition-2 crew, the return to earth of the Expedition-1 crew, delivery of the Leonardo Multi-Purpose Logistics Module, as well as the return of Leonardo, the reusable cargo carrier built by the Italian Space Agency. He spent 307 hours and 49 minutes in space and for 6 hours and 21 minutes he was outside the spaceship during his Extra Vehicular Activity, EVA.

Richards commented, “With a last name like ‘Richards’ people commonly assume I am a White Anglo-Saxon Protestant, however after less than five minutes of conversation they come to realize I am very much an Italian American.” His space mission had ties with his heritage because the Leonardo cargo carrier was the first Italian built module for the Space Station. Because of that historic collaboration, the official NASA mission patch for this mission included the Italian national flag.

“Paul Richards is an outstanding recipient of the UNICO National Marconi Science Award,” commented Andre’ DiMino, Marconi Science Award Chair and Immediate Past National President of UNICO. “He exemplifies the great accomplishments and contributions of Italian Americans to technology and science that UNICO honors each year with this prestigious award.”

On receiving the award, Richards stated, “It is such an honor to be recognized by this great UNICO organization with this prestigious Marconi Award.” As part of his acceptance speech Richards presented a video of the highlights of his mission in space to the delight of the many UNICO officers, dignitaries and guests in attendance at the ceremony held during UNICO National’s Board of Directors meeting in Kansas City, MO. Richards then spent several hours graciously meeting with attendees and signing photos.

UNICO’s Marconi Science Award is presented to a U.S. citizen of Italian descent involved in the physical sciences, such as electronics, physics, chemistry, etc. The award was established in 1995 to annually recognize a living scientist who exemplifies Marconi’s vast scientific and creative accomplishments through their own life achievements.

UNICO National, the largest Italian American service organization in the U.S., was founded in Waterbury, CT in 1922. Members work to support charitable, educational, scientific and literary causes while promoting Italian heritage and combating negative stereotyping.


Sebastian D’Elia
Communications Director
UNICO National Office – 973-808-0035

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Source: newswire

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