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Young Man Cited By Reagan Designed Shuttle Experiment

February 6, 1986

SCHENECTADY, N.Y. (AP) _ Richard Cavoli, one of four young heroes honored by President Reagan, is a 21-year-old student at Union College majoring in biology and chemistry who designed an experiment chosen for a shuttle mission.

Cavoli designed an experiment in crystal growing in a weightless environment aimed at growing larger, purer lead iodide crystals than can be grown on Earth.

Such crystals could be used in X-ray films and could, he said, ″lead to improved X-ray imaging, lessening the amount of potentially harmful radiation used in diagnostic situations.″

Cavoli, cited by Reagan during Tuesday’s State of the Union address, says such films also could provide high resolution astronomy photographs.

The experiment dates back five years when Cavoli, then a student at Marlboro Central High School, entered a NASA-sponsored competition. His was one of 20 experiments, out of 2,800 entries, chosen for a space shuttle mission.

While still on a long waiting list for space on a shuttle space, Cavoli entered Union and proposed that the college sponsor the experiment. The school agreed and Cavoli teamed with Chemistry Professor Charles Scaife in the long process of refining the concept of the experiment and constructing the necessary equipment.

Cavoli, who entered Union in 1982, would have been a graduating senior this year but was forced to return home to run the family kitchen cabinet furniture business when his father was hospitalized briefly in January 1984 because of an ulcer.

His parents came to the United States from the small town of Villa Rosa on the island of Sicily and settled with relatives in the Ulster County town of Marlboro, just south of Poughkeepsie.

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