Department of Jewish-Christian Studies Chair has book reviewed by NJ Jewish Standard

Rabbi Alan Brill, Ph.D., had his latest book Judaism and World Religions reviewed by Larry Yudelson of the New Jersey Jewish Standard. Rabbi Brill is the Cooperman/Ross Endowed Chair in Jewish-Christian Studies in Honor of Sister Rose Thering. His latest publication presents a survey of texts useful for discussing other religions from a Jewish point of view.  For the full review, please visit the New Jersey Jewish Standard at the link below:

Criminal Justice Students Present Paper at National Symposium

As students of Dr. Lonnie Athens, we were very interested in the process by which an individual becomes violent. The Violentization Theory, which Dr. Athens created and teaches, was fascinating to us. So, when Dr. Athens approached us about taking Senior Seminar for Criminal Justice, we accepted, but we never believed that our paper would lead to present at a national symposium, filled with professionals and graduate students in the field of sociology. As the only undergraduate students selected, we began to work on expanding our idea.

Prior to writing our paper, Dr. Athens put us in touch with Lisa-Jo van den Scott at Northwestern University, host of the Stone-Couch Symposium. When we first contacted Lisa-Jo van den Scott, we submitted an abstract entitled The ‘Cycle of Violence’ Thesis Viewed from an Interactionist’s Perspective. Our thesis is based on the idea that the Cycle of Violence theory is not enough to explain the creation of dangerous and violent criminals. Instead, we set out to prove that the Violentization Theory, a four-step process by which a violent individual is created, provides a better explanation because it looks at not only familial aspects, but places more emphasis on the social experiences in an individual’s life.

We began writing our paper at the beginning of the Spring 2012 semester and were scheduled to speak on April 21, 2012, at the Hilton Hotel in Evanston, Illinois. After registering, our work officially began: First, we looked at research done before and after the Violentization theory was published. This allowed us to see how researchers viewed violence in the past, what methods they used in their research and how their outlook on the topic changed as years went on and more research was published. Secondly, we used auto-biographies and interviews from several different sources in order to understand how the theory can be applied to individuals with different backgrounds and varying social experiences. During our research, we discovered that past theories we studied were not applicable to all cases, but the Violentization Theory filled in the missing gaps. This realization is at the heart of our argument.

During our presentation, we explained the steps that an individual must go through in order to, according to the Violentization Theory, become a dangerous and violent criminal. We presented our research to professionals who either taught or had an interest in sociology. Presenters (researchers, professors and graduate students) came from all over the world, just to be able to introduce their research to the sociological pool. Following our presentation, we were able to hear feedback from our audience, who expressed both questions and thoughts about our research.

Being able to show our research and all we have done was an incredible experience. The feedback showed us the different points of view of the Violentization Theory and helped us understand what parts of our research we must expand as we move forward with our ideas. Plus, we were able to give our own input to other research projects, helping our colleagues in their own research. In addition, the professors reached out to us and offered to help us should we ever need them in our future studies. We feel the Symposium was a one-of-a-kind experience and opened up many opportunities for us, both academically and professionally. Not only have we proved that hard work and motivation can go a long way, but we created networks that will last a lifetime. Although the year is coming to an end, we plan on continuing working on our paper over the summer and mostly likely, in to next year. Our ultimate goal is to have our paper published so that others can see what we have found and use our research to help their own ideas.

Mathematics students lauded for their use of multimedia

Seton Hall Mathematics students Joseph O’Connor and Jonathan Arena took the top honors at Seton Hall’s Student Technology Showcase’s Multimedia category, winning first place and runner-up, for their custom-made computer software designed to demonstrate the relationship between different fractal sets. Their study, “A Visual Exploration of Iterative Dynamical Systems Through the Mandelbrot and Julia Sets,” focuses on unique characteristics of the Mandelbrot and Julia fractal sets. Follow the links to view the multimedia videos designed by O’Connor and Arena, as well as the abstract for their study.

The purpose of this study is to investigate properties of iterative dynamic systems of the form fc(z) = z2+c in the complex plane. The project focuses on some unique characteristics of the Mandelbrot and Julia sets. Both sets are created using custom-made computer software and combined into visually stimulating movies that demonstrate the relationship between the two sets. The results show that the “boundedness” of the Mandelbrot set directly correlates with “connectedness” of the corresponding Julia set. A specific path through the Mandelbrot set in parameter space is chosen to create a video exploration of continuously changing Julia sets in the complex plane. A second movie explores the Mandelbrot set in detail to highlight its self-similarity.

Movie showing relationship between the boundedness of Mandelbrot set and the connectedness of Julia set Fractals.

Movie exploring the detail of Mandelbrot fractals.