At University of Missouri-Rolla’s Summer Explosives Camp, high school students learn how to blow things up. In theory, they’re interested in careers in mining and demolition. Or they just like blowing things up.
Students with a passion for all things explosive and proof of United States citizenship pay a $450 fee that covers food, lodging and incidentals like dynamite. In the course of a week, the 22 students at this session set off a wall of fire, blasted water out of a pond, blew up a tree stump and obliterated a watermelon. They set off explosive charges in the schoolâ€™s mine and finished off the week by creating their own fireworks show for their parents.
â€œWe try to give them an absolute smorgasbord of explosives,â€ said Paul Worsey, a professor in the department of mining engineering at the University of Missouri-Rolla, the only university in the country that offers an academic minor in explosives engineering. More than six billion pounds of explosives are used each year in this country by civilian commercial industry for things like mining and demolition.
Camp instructors urge students to avoid blowing themselves up before they have a chance to qualify for careers as explosives specialists.