2012 Archived News and Features
college and graduate school of arts and sciences
Silencing a deadly parasite
The American Cancer Society has awarded a four-year, $720,000 grant to Associate Professor of Biology Marc-Jan Gubbels for research into potential new drugs that can prevent the onset of toxoplasmosis in cancer patients with weakened immune systems. BC News Release | PhysOrg, News-MedicalNet
Book award winner
Associate Professor of Theology David Vanderhooft has been honored with the G. Ernest Wright Award by American Schools of Oriental Research for his co-authored book, The Yehud Stamp Impressions: A Corpus of Inscribed Impressions from the Persian and Hellenistic Periods in Judah. BC News Release
Muslims in Europe
Political Science Associate Professor Jonathan Laurence discussed Muslim integration and implications for increasing cultural tensions in Germany in an interview on NPR-Berlin, and addressed the differences between French and German policies towards Muslim-origin minorities with ParisBerlin Magazine. | He delivered the Daimler Lecture at the American Academy in Berlin, where he is currently a fellow. Video
A thin-skinned catalyst
Assistant Professor of Chemistry Frank Tsung and his lab have developed a crystalline nanostructure with a skin-like layer capable of controlling a typically stubborn method of catalysis, the team reports in the Journal of the American Chemical Society. BC News Release | The Engineer (UK), PhysOrg, Nanotechnology News, R&D Magazine, Bio-Medicine, Science Daily
Prayers for the Innocent
In the aftermath of the tragedy in Newtown, Theology Associate Professor Rev. Robert Imbelli offers reflections on the rhythms of the liturgical year, which can provide guidance and orientation for questioning minds and troubled hearts, in a piece for the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano.
Ethics and evacuation
The idea of evacuation as a moral duty during disaster such as Hurricane Sandy has gained traction among some local officials, theologians and storm survivors. Others find the notion misguided, uncompassionate and a threat to individual liberties. Founders Professor of Theology James Keenan, S.J., discussed the issue with Religion News Service | Washington Post and Ethics Newsline.
"What Goes Up (and What Maybe Doesn’t): Mass Shootings and Megaquakes"
Dramatic events can sometimes make us think we are seeing patterns in data that aren’t necessarily there, writes Alan Kafka, Associate Professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies.
Shock of the news
'Shock of the News,' the catalog of an exhibition at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., offers a cogent, evocative account of artists’ use and abuse of the newspaper from 1909 to 2009, writes English Professor and Director of American Studies Carlo Rotella in a review for the New York Times.
Marshal Scholarship winner
Aditya Ashok A&S ’12, who won a Harry S. Truman Scholarship for public service in 2011, has been named a recipient of the prestigious George Marshall Scholarship for graduate study in the United Kingdom, one of only 40 students to win the coveted award this year. BC News Release
Integration or emancipation?
Political Science Associate Professor Jonathan Laurence, a Daimler Fellow at the American Academy in Berlin, looked at the integration of Muslims in Europe and at U.S. democratization policy in the Middle East, in recent op-eds for German national newspapers. In English: Der Tagesspiegel | Die Tageszeitung
The promise of democracy
American democracy is failing to live up to expectations, according to Moakley Professor of Political Science Kay Schlozman, who is co-author of The Unheavenly Chorus: Unequal Political Voice and the Broken Promise of American Democracy, an extension of her research on civic participation. BC Chronicle
Junior at U.N. climate event
Joseph Manning A&S '14 is attending the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change 18th annual Conference of the Parties which takes place through Dec. 7 in Doha, Qatar. BC News Release
New Insulator Insights
The latest research by BC physicists Vidya Madhavan and Stephen Wilson offers fresh insights into topological insulators, a class of materials with unique properties that challenge some of the oldest laws of physics. BC News Release | Science Daily | PhysOrg | R&D Magazine | I4U News
The enigma of Anselm
In her new book Anselm of Canterbury and the Desire for the Word, Philosophy Professor Eileen Carroll Sweeney explores the link between the emotional and spiritual Anselm, which is present in his letters and prayers, and the intellectual Anselm, evident in his writings on logic and reason. BC Bookmarks
Math PhD Program Adding Up to Success
Only two years after its establishment, the Mathematics Department’s doctoral program is already having a positive impact. “We are attracting outstanding scholars and teachers who will have an impact at the University for years to come,” said Department Chairman Professor Sol Friedberg. | BC Chronicle
Taylor Eggleston A&S '15, founder of the Boston College Eagle Political Society, is prominent in a feature on today's young Republicans by NECN.
Canada quake triggers Hawaii tsunami scare
An excellent example of how science research, education, awareness, and preparedness can make a difference in people's lives. CNN
Many people at BC felt the October 16, 2012 earthquake in Maine (magnitude 4.0). Professor Alan Kafka compiled a blog of reports sent by Boston area people describing their experiences of the quake, and comparing those personal descriptions to the Devlin Hall seismogram. Professor John Ebel discussed the earthquake on WCVB news.
Ties to Nobel-winning research
Research by Boston College economists Tayfun Sönmez and Utku Ünver—who specialize in the field of 'matching markets'—figures prominently in the work that this year received the Nobel Prize for economics from the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. BC News Release | Their research is cited in news coverage of the prize: Boston Herald | Wall Street Journal | iDigitalTimes.com
The Final Presidential Debate
The polls show the presidential race to be about even as President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney meet face-to-face for their final debate tonight. Political Science Assistant Professor Peter Krause joined "The Morning Show" to discuss some of the key foreign policy issues that will be discussed. NECN
Age of extremes
The recent passing of Eric Hobsbawm severs one of the last, and strongest, links between the mostly tragic and at times heroic era of the early and mid-20th century—the subject of his last major book, The Age of Extremes (1994)—and the intellectual and the political world we inhabit today, writes History Professor James Cronin. Chronicle of Higher Education
Debaters' nonverbal cues
Psychology Associate Professor Joseph Tecce's analysis of the effect on voters of political candidates' body language during debates was highlighted by USA Today, and in interviews with "Roe and Roeper" on WLS-Chicago and The Daily. He also assessed nonverbal cues in the first presidential debate for Fox News Boston.
Dayton Literary Peace Prize
The Sojourn by Andrew Krivak, a faculty member in the College of Arts and Sciences Honors Program, has been awarded the 2012 Dayton Literary Peace Prize, the only international literary peace prize awarded in the United States, in the fiction category. BC News Release | New York Times
Good, evil, saints, strangers
Seelig Professor of Philosophy Richard Kearney was among scholars exploring contemporary views of good and evil—and the way that the surprising and often unconventional example of modern 'saints' can expand our moral vision—on Australia's ABC Radio National. Part 1 | Part 2
On Blasphemy and Hate Speech
Rather than asking "who is the author of this abomination, and how might revenge be meted out?" Muslims, Christians and others, people of goodwill everywhere, may wish to inquire why something was deemed blasphemous, Assistant Professor of Near Eastern Studies, Arabic and Hebrew Franck Salameh writes in the Jerusalem Post.
The Cologne court's decision to halt non-medical circumcisions earlier this summer marks a new low for religious freedom in 21st century Europe, Political Science Associate Professor Jonathan Laurence, currently a Daimler Fellow at the American Academy in Berlin, writes for the German newspaper Der Tagesspiegel.
Uncovering Hidden America
The real working lives of Americans rarely crack the surface of a presidential campaign, so Jeanne Marie Laskas' new book, Hidden America, comes along at just the right moment to provide a useful perspective, according to the latest column by English Professor and Director of American Studies Carlo Rotella for the Boston Globe.
U.S. and the Middle East
In two interviews with NECN, Political Science Assistant Professor Peter Krause discussed the uprisings in the Middle East and the political impact for the U.S., as well as the ramifications of No Easy Day, the controversial new book written by a former Navy SEAL that focuses on the covert operation that took down Osama bin Laden.
Black Carbon Aerosol Impact
Viewed as a potential target in the global effort to reduce climate change, atmospheric black carbon particles absorb significantly less sunlight than scientists predicted, raising new questions about the impact of black carbon on atmospheric warming, an international team of researchers—including Chemistry Professor Paul Davidovits (left) and Associate Research Professor Timothy B. Onasch—reports in the journal Science. BC News Release | R&D Magazine, Response to Climate Change, Space Daily, PhysOrg.com
No Easy Day
A controversial new book written by a former Navy SEAL, No Easy Day focuses on the covert operation that took down Osama bin Laden and has already become a best seller. Political Science Assistant Professor Peter Krause discussed it as a guest on NECN.
The Ryan Choice
Every so often a presidential campaign prompts a profound national debate rather than simply a choice between candidates and parties. Paul Ryan's place on the ticket makes it likely that 2012 will prove to be such an epochal election, writes Political Science Professor Marc Landy for WBUR's "Cognoscenti".
Language, Memory, Culture
Assistant Professor of Near Eastern Studies, Arabic and Hebrew Franck Salameh was interviewed by New Books Network about his book Language, Memory and Identity in the Middle East: The Case for Lebanon, as well as his current book project and research abroad.
'The Tragedy of Mister Morn'
Professor of Russian and English Maxim D. Shrayer discussed the newly-released first publication in English of Vladimir Nabokov’s play 'The Tragedy of Mister Morn' in an interview with Radio Russia (begins at 12:40).
Student research triumph
The senior research project of Alexis Peterson A&S '12, which provides insight into a a complex pathway of cellular regulation that has been in question for more than two decades, has been published by the journal Biochemistry. BC News
Medicaid, Federalism and States' Rights
The U.S. Supreme Court was right to curb the federal government on Medicaid; imposing narrower and stricter limits on national government's ability to coerce the states would be good for both sides, according to Political Science Professor Marc Landy, now a regular contributor to the "Cognoscenti" perspective pages of WBUR.org.
The Tragedy of Mister Morn
Professor of Russian and English Maxim D. Shrayer discussed the newly-released first publication in English of Vladimir Nabokov's play "The Tragedy of Mister Morn," and various other related issues, in an interview with Radio Russia (begins at 12:40).
Shopping and Activism
Based on the evidence, neither of these positions—that green spending yields significant environmental results or that it "distracts" from them by assuaging people's feelings—captures the relationship between buying patterns, activism, and environmental degradation, writes Sociology Professor Juliet Schor for the New York Times' Room for Debate.
Poets for the Synod
This fall the XIIIth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops will open in Rome, dedicated to the topic of new evangelization for the transmission of Christian faith. Theology Associate Professor Rev. Robert Imbelli writes on challenges facing the Synod in the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano.
New Syrian paradigm
Recent events indicate that a new paradigm is needed for Syria, according to Assistant Professor of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies, Arabic and Hebrew Franck Salameh. National Interest | He was also interviewed by Public Radio International about declining religious diversity in the Middle East. PRI
Community Service Award Winner
Professor Emeritus of English Paul Doherty is this year's winner of the University's Community Service Award, given each year to an employee whose actions exemplify the Jesuit spirit of service to others. BC Chronicle
Berlin Prize Fellow
Political Science Associate Professor Jonathan Laurence is among recipients of the prestigious Berlin Prize fellowship, awarded by The American Academy in Berlin, for advanced research in a range of academic and cultural fields. BC News Release | His op-ed on the 50th anniversary of Algerian independence was published by Foreign Policy, and he was interviewed about church-state relations and Islam in Europe by the major French-language Catholic newspaper La Croix.
Economics of gambling
All but a few states now have some type of commercial gaming. CSOM and A&S Economics Adjunct Associate Professor Richard McGowan, S.J., discussed the economics behind the rapid expansion of gambling and casinos in America with NPR's 'Morning Edition'.
"The Other America"
There are good reasons why Michael Harrington's The Other America: Poverty in the United States, published in 1962, ought to be remembered, writes Political Science Professor Alan Wolfe, director of the Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life, who also asks: Has it become more difficult to make rampant economic inequality central, in such morally compelling terms, to the public conversation today? Chronicle of Higher Education Review
Improved Semiconductor Performance
Physics Professor Zhifeng Ren, graduate student Bo Yu, and their MIT colleagues report improving the performance of a bulk alloy semiconductor, an advance that could yield broader clean energy applications. News release | PhysOrg | Nanowerk LLC | R&D Magazine | The Next Big Future
Why politics needs philosophy
At one time, ideas mattered hugely in public debate. But today, the big questions of meaning and value become matters of populist controversy fueled by commercially driven media, writes Seelig Professor of Philosophy Richard Kearney for leading Australian broadcaster ABC.
Islam's Place in Europe
Last month saw a series of riots in Europe, not over the wobbly Euro, but instead over the integration of Muslim Europeans and immigrants. But something arguably much more meaningful, if less newsworthy, also has taken place, Associate Professor of Political Science Jonathan Laurence writes for CNN.com.
Bradbury Made Normalcy Fantastic
There's a certain kind of person who is attracted to both the library and the carnival, and who finds his calling by shuttling between them. Bradbury was a heroic exemplar of the type, English Professor and American Studies Director Carlo Rotella writes in today's Boston Globe.
Krystle Jiang A&S '13 is this year’s recipient of the Benigno and Corazon Aquino scholarship, which honors students who represent the highest ideals and aspirations of the University and the Asian American community.
Assistant Professor of Mathematics J. Elisenda Grigsby has received a CAREER award, the National Science Foundation’s most important prize for junior faculty, in support of her work in low-dimensional topology.
In Memoriam: BC Historian Thomas H. O'Connor
University Historian and long-popular History Professor Emeritus Thomas O'Connor—widely considered 'the dean of Boston's historians' for his authorship of such critically acclaimed books as Boston Catholics, Civil War Boston and The Boston Irish—died on May 20 at age 89. BC News obituary | Boston Globe | AP | Boston Herald | Patriot Ledger
The Levantine Review
A peer-reviewed academic e-journal of Near Eastern and Mediterranean Studies has been launched by Assistant Professor of Near Eastern Studies, Arabic and Hebrew Franck Salameh (left) in conjunction with BC Libraries. The Levantine Review board of editors includes BC faculty colleagues Khaled Anatolios, Benjamin Braude, Dwayne Carpenter, Michael Connolly, Ourida Mostefai, James W. Morris, and Maxim D. Shrayer.
Finding Strength in Community
Daniel J. Kennedy A&S '12 has won the 2012 Finnegan Award, Boston College’s most prestigious graduation honor, given to the student who best exemplifies the spirit of BC’s motto, “Ever to Excel.”
Cross is heading to the Boston Bruins, after an outstanding four years playing on BC's hockey team. He majored in Communication and minored in International Studies.
Angela's post-graduation plans are to work as a Paralegal at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison for two years, followed by law school for a JD/MA in international diplomacy. She majored in Political Science and International Studies.
Michael's post-graduation plan is to work as a real estate capital analyst for KeyBank. He majored in Econonics and Communication, with a minor in Hispanic Studies.
Jesus' post-graduation plan is to attend the Donovan Urban Teaching Scholars Program at Boston College in preparation to work in urban area high schools. He majored in English, human development.
The (En)Rich List
Professor of Sociology Juliet Schor is ranked at #30 on the Post Growth Institute's (En)Rich List of 100 individuals, living or dead, whose contributions enrich paths to sustainable futures. Others on the list include Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., Theodore Geisel, Henry David Thoreau, Rachel Carson, John Kenneth Galbraith, and Eleanor Roosevelt. Schor entry
Margaret Connolly's (A&S '12) final paper for Law, Medicine & Ethics Law, Medicine & Public Policy class, taught by John Paris, S.J., Walsh Professor of Bioethics, has been selected for publication in the Ivy Journal of Ethics.
Fine Arts adjunct faculty member Mary Sherman's work with TransCultural Exchange, the international art organization which she founded "to help artists become global citizens," is highlighted in the current issue of Art New England.
Virtual Reality in 9/11 Fiction
English Professor Laura Tanner discusses virtual reality in 9/11 fiction in a podcast interview—prompted by her article "Holding On to 9/11: The Shifting Grounds of Materiality," published earlier this year by PMLA, the most prominent journal for English and other modern languages—for Brandeis University's Literature Lab.
The Emancipation of Europe's Muslims by Political Science Associate Professor Jonathan Laurence, who recently chaired a working group on ethnic minorities and foreign policy convened by the Secretary General of the British Commonwealth, is "perhaps the subtlest and most solidly researched analysis of European policies toward Islam," according to a review in Foreign Affairs, and "establishes firm ground for hope" that the cycle of exclusion and violence will be defused.
Public Discussion of God and Religion
Seelig Professor of Philosophy Richard Kearney would like to get past the polarization that tends to characterize public discussion of religion and move on to a conversation in which doubt and faith "criss-cross," he explained on Canada's national public radio, in the first of a series of interviews with "five thinkers whose recent books have charted new paths for religion." CBC Radio
A presentation at the American Chemical Society national meeting by Assistant Professor of Chemistry Kian Tan was viewed more than 1,800 times, making it the most-viewed within the collection of more than 400 presentations made available online following the meeting. Video presentation at the ACS National Meeting
Inaugural Chautauqua Prize Winner
Noted author and College of Arts and Sciences Honors Program faculty member Andrew Krivak is the first winner of the Chautauqua Prize, a new national literary award, for his first novel The Sojourn, which the award reviewers called a work of "uncommon lyricism."
Voice and Equality Honored
Voice and Equality: Civic Voluntarism in American Politics, co-written by Moakley Professor of Political Science Kay L. Schlozman, has won the 2012 American Association for Public Opinion Research Book Award.
Rui Soares awarded Romero Scholarship
BC's 20th annual Archbishop Oscar A. Romero Scholarship winner Rui Soares A&S '13 has been involved in a variety of service and community activities, in addition to handling a challenging academic major.
Four Boston College faculty members have received prestigious 2012 Sloan Research Fellowships from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. Boston Business Journal | Boston.com | San Francsisco Chronicle | Houston Chronicle | Miami Herald | UPI | Los Angeles Daily News | Cincinnati Enquirer | FirstScience | Canada.com | Dow Jones MarketWatch | AOL Newton Patch | AOL Wellesley Patch
Boomers and estate plans
A speech by Sociology Professor and Center on Wealth and Philanthropy Director Paul Schervish, which cited the fact that baby boomers will 'give away much more than they receive,' was a 'call to action' for boomers to review estate plans, according to a guest columnist for Forbes. | Schervish also recently commented Amazon.com philanthropy to the Seattle Times.
The Guggenheim Foundation has awarded a 2012 fellowship to Professor of Russian, English and Jewish Studies Maxim D. Shrayer, in support of research designed to bring a new perspective to Holocaust studies.
Adonis and the Syrian Crisis
An essay by Assistant Professor of Near Eastern Studies, Arabic and Hebrew Franck Salameh that highlights Syrian thinker Adonis' intellectual and ideological journey from youthful support of Syrian nationalism to an embrace of an encompassing Arab national identity appears in the Spring edition of Bustan: The Middle East Book Review.
Poet John Ciardi; Road Restraint
John Ciardi was a major figure in mid-century American letters and was all over the culture to a degree that's now nearly impossible to imagine for a serious poet, according to Professor of English and Director of American Studies Carlo Rotella in his latest column for the Boston Globe. | His previous column addressed the fragile order of traffic civility.
Why Boston Needs a Literary Trail
New York may be the nation's literary capital today, but during the early decades of national life, American letters took root and thrived in Boston. But many Bostonians are barely aware of this legacy, English Professor Paul Lewis, curator of the BC-created "Forgotten Chapters of Boston's Literary History" exhibition, wrote for "Ideas" in the Boston Sunday Globe.
Integration of Europe's Muslims
A series of essays by Political Science Associate Professor Jonathan Laurence addresses the integration of Muslims in Europe: The port city of Marseille's culture of tolerance may be worn away by the reactions to immigration and shifting demographics, he writes in the New York Times | France's presidential election has seen candidates arguing over, of all things, halal meat: Foreign Policy, while integration in Germany is faring better than expected: Deutsche Welle | Laws restricting Islamic symbols in the public sphere are fuelling political distrust and a shared sense of injustice: Al Jazeera.
The death of Dmitri Nabokov, the only child of Vladimir and Véra Nabokov, ruptured what had remained of their enchanted family circle—but their legacy lives on, writes Professor of Russian and English Maxim D. Shrayer, who contributes some recent snapshots to Nabokov Online Journal.
G Force: Morality in Making Decisions
Assistant Professor of Psychology and award-winning researcher Liane Young is the subject of today's "G-Force" Q&A spotlight, discussing her study of human moral decision-making and behavior--both the neural basis of moral judgment and the psychological processes that support it. Boston Globe
Obituary: Andrew Buni, Historian
Professor Emeritus Andrew Buni, who taught courses in American history at Boston College for 38 years until his retirement in 2006, died on February 12 at age 80. BC Chronicle
Distinguished Scholarship award
Sociology Professor Bill Gamson has won the 2012 ASA W.E.B. Du Bois Career of Distinguished Scholarship award. The award honors scholars who have shown outstanding commitment to the profession of sociology and whose cumulative work has contributed in important ways to the advancement of the discipline.
Election Year Politics Abroad
It may be election-year gold, but restricting or demonizing Islamic practices could push disaffected youth toward those with radical agendas, Political Science Associate Professor Jonathan Laurence, author of The Emancipation of Europe's Muslims, said in an extended interview with the Christian Science Monitor.
Psychology's Young Earns Two Honors
Assistant Professor of Psychology Liane Young has won a multi-year research grant and a prestigious academic honor that will support her study of brain activity and related decision-making in populations of people with autism, as well as provide a valuable research opportunity for BC undergraduates. BC Chronicle
Student Writer Lands Globe "G" Cover
A story about a Boston outdoor ministry that strives to serve the city's homeless, written by Rosemary Chandler A&S '13 for a journalism course, was the cover story of Saturday's "G" section of the Boston Globe.
The GOP Race
The upset victory by former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich in the South Carolina primary has dealt a setback to former front-runner Mitt Romney in the race for the Republican presidential nomination. Political Science Professor Marc Landy assessed the situation in an interview with NPR's WBUR-FM.
BC theologians in new journal
The inaugural issue of the Journal of Moral Theology features contributions by three BC specialists in theological ethics: Founders Professor James Keenan, S.J., University Chair in Human Rights and International Justice David Hollenbach, S.J., and Monan Professor of Theology Lisa Sowle Cahill. Journal | Table of contents
Europe and the Arab Spring
Will the Arab Spring end the European Union’s current approach to the southern Mediterranean and lead to more serious support for democratization? Political Science Associate Professor Jonathan Laurence writes in the journal World Politics Review. | His latest book, The Emancipation of Europe’s Muslims, is reviewed by The Economist.
That Boston accent
Michael J. Connolly, associate professor and chair of the Department of Slavic & Eastern Languages and Literatures, was interviewed about the Boston accent for the BBC special 'Three Men Go to New England.' Video (at approximately 8:20).
The lives they lived
Joe Frazier, one of boxing’s undisputed all-time greats, deserves all the posthumous acclaim he’s getting, but contributions of minor figures such as the late Ron Lyle to boxing's 'golden age' should not be overlooked, writes English Professor and Director of American Studies Carlo Rotella for the New York Times Magazine.