URI chemistry professor again on call for major media in wake of latest terrorist attempt

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KINGSTON, R.I. –January 6, 2009 – The apprehension of a Nigerian man in connection with a Christmas Day attempt to blow up a Northwest airliner thrust University of Rhode Island Chemistry Professor Jimmie C. Oxley back into the international media spotlight.

The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and Time were among the many media outlets that interviewed Oxley about the methods used by the suspect to try to ignite the explosive pentaerythritol tetranitrate or PETN.

Oxley, an internationally renowned expert in explosives, energetic materials and propellants, is the director of the Department of Homeland Security’s Center of Excellence in Explosives Detection, Mitigation, Response and Characterization at URI.

Oxley, who works with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Federal Aviation Administration, police agencies across the country, the United Kingdom and Israel on research related to explosives and terrorism, is often a first choice of the media when explosives are involved in terrorist attacks.

In August 2006, when authorities in London thwarted a terrorist plot to blow up passenger jets, reporters from around the globe quoted Oxley. Following the 2005 bombings in London, bomb squads sought her out.

She was also called on to collaborate with the FBI on simulations of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and with British officials to examine large fertilizer bombs. Oxley also worked with New York law enforcement authorities and their canine units on bomb search training.