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Dr. Christa Hockensmith By Thomas Guengerich

SOCORRO, N.M., Feb. 19, 2009 – New Mexico Tech research chemist Dr. Christa Hockensmith will be a featured speaker at ETech, the O'Reilly Emerging Technology Conference, in San Jose, Calif., next month.

Hockensmith manages the chemistry laboratories at the Energetic Materials Research and Testing Center, or EMRTC, at New Mexico Tech. She will speak March 11 about novel uses of explosives in manufacturing and industry.

“I’m terribly excited,” Hockensmith said. “This is a feather in the cap of EMRTC and New Mexico Tech.”

ETech, the O’Reilly Emerging Technology Conference, is O’Reilly Media’s flagship “O'Reilly Radar” event. ETech serves as technologists’ research and development lab, workbench and playground. The company designs the conference to bring attention to new ideas and learn from the people behind them. Conference topics include a wide spectrum of subjects and Hockensmith expects to learn as much as she teaches.

The conference is intended to provide exposure to innovations and disruptions that are changing the way we live and do business. ETech is a participant-rich conference that gives access to the information innovative people need to stay ahead of the curve in the workplace and industry.

Other keynote speakers represent Google, MIT, Wired magazine, Stanford University, Carnegie Mellon University and other cutting edge companies.

“I think this is a crowd that might be a little cooler than I am,” she said. “But I can compete because I work in explosives.”

The Energetic Materials Research and Testing Center at New Mexico Tech has more than 40 years experience developing, testing and working with explosives. Hockensmith will discuss many of the research projects of EMRTC both with and without explosives.

“Explosives are usually linked to military uses or mining,” Hockensmith said. “Today there are other uses for explosives on a large scale, like diamond manufacture, or on a small scale, like cartridges to operate instruments or machinery, or somewhere in between.”

Hockensmith said she’s looking forward to presenting at ETech, even though she had never head of O’Reilly. However, she said, “Our information technology and computer staff members are all familiar with O’Reilly so I am looking forward to meeting other folks also working in emerging technologies.”

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