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Born and raised near Baltimore, Maryland, Rich graduated with a B.A. degree in Natural Science from the Johns Hopkins University in 1985.

He then did graduate work at the California institute of Technology, where he used organic synthesis, physical analysis, and statistical techniques to study the pairing-up of oily molecules in water.

He received his Ph.D. degree in chemistry from Caltech in 1992.

Until February 2000, he worked in the Department of Energy Laboratory system to develop ways to clean up radioactive and chemical wastes. He then worked for PG Research Foundation in Darien, Illinois. In 2004, he received a Master of Education degree from John Carroll University.

He has been teaching in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Wyoming since 2005.

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