Texas Tech University


The Terminal Effects Research and Analysis Group (TERA) became the first research center at the New Mexico School of Mines in 1946. TERA and its founder EJ Workman played a significant role in the development and deployment of the proximity fuse during World War II. This work flourished after the war as TERA continued to develop fusing devices and expanded into warhead design and testing. Due to the success of this endeavor, EJ Workman was made the President of the University and he changed its name to the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology. Today the Energetic Materials Research and Testing Center (EMRTC) stands in place of TERA. EMRTC's 40-square-mile field laboratory is located in the mountains adjacent to the New Mexico Tech campus in Socorro, New Mexico. The field laboratory contains more than 30 test sites, gun ranges, other research facilities and storage areas, allowing for a complete spectrum of research and testing activities. EMRTC has the ability to conduct tests involving over 20,000 pounds of explosives. Current activities include warhead development and testing, large scale building survivability, Improvised Explosive Devise (IED) defeat, analysis and evaluation of homemade explosives. The availability of EMRTC's research capabilities has sparked the interest of a number of faculties in various departments across campus. Currently students are working with faculty members from the Physics, Chemistry, Materials Engineering and Mechanical Engineering departments in all aspects of energetic materials research. Dr. Van Romero, Vice President for Research and former Director of EMRTC, will provide an overview of the past and president activities at New Mexico Tech. He will also review (and possibly preview) contributions New Mexico Tech has made to the MythBusters TV program.

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DR. VAN D. ROMERO is currently the Vice President for Research, a Professor of Physics and serves as the chief officer of the Research and Economic Development Division of New Mexico Tech. He obtained his BS and MS from New Mexico Tech and his PhD from the SUNY at Albany. As the Research VP, he is responsible for a diverse portfolio with an annual budget of $100M. He has served as the PI for projects that total over a quarter of a billion dollars, in astronomy, earth science, Homeland Security and energy. Prior to joining the University, Dr. Romero worked at four DOE laboratories and spent 15 years in the private sector.