By Thomas Guengerich
Right: New Mexico Tech Vice President Van Romero (left) explains the finer points of ammonium nitrate-fuel oil to Congressman Tom Udall (center), as Tech explosives instructor Jerry Little looks on. Udall toured the campus Thursday. After the tour, Romero offered a very brief overview of some of Techâ€™s research projects.
SOCORRO — New Mexico Tech Vice President Dr. Van Romero gave a tour to Congressman Tom Udall on Wednesday to explain many of the research projects at the state-supported school in Socorro.
Romero, the vice president of research and economic development, led the Congressman and his staff on a tour of the Energetic Materials Research and Testing Center (EMRTC), which included a 300-pound car bomb demonstration at the university's test range.
Udall is the Democrat candidate for the Senate seat being vacated by 36-year veteran Pete Domenici. Udall will face Republican candidate Steve Pearce in the fall general election.
Romero told Udall that New Mexico Tech competes against schools like Princeton and Stanford for federal research dollars. He said Tech's philosophy has been to request infrastructure improvements from Congress, which will allow a state school like Tech to be competitive with private schools with large endowments.
Over lunch, Romero presented Udall with highlights of a few of the university's cutting edge research projects: uranium remediation near Laguna, EMRTC training courses, the Magdalena Ridge Observatory and renewable energy research.
Left: Tech Vice President Dr. Van Romero explains the aftermath of a 300-pound car bomb to Congressman Tom Udall on Thursday. To the left of the concrete wall is a mannequin that was unharmed in the explosion that completely destroyed a Chevy S-10 pickup.
Senator Domenici, for whom Tech named a building in May, was known as St. Pete to many people in New Mexico, not just at the Socorro school.
Romero said the university relies on the New Mexico Congressional delegation to help champion the cause of research and development in the state. Regardless of who wins the November election, he said the university will depend on the new Senator, along with Sen. Jeff Bingaman, to support higher education and federal research in New Mexico.