Fall 2011 Colloquium Series

All Colloquia are free and open to the public unless otherwise noted.

Some additional information on the Colloquia announced below may be added from time to time and some new Colloquia will certainly be as well, so do make sure you check this site regularly for any additions or changes. Thank you.

September 9, 2011
11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Campus Center Ballroom A
Engineering Ground Zero

A NOVA film

A decade after the devastating terrorist attack on the World Trade Center, reconstruction at the 16-acre site in Lower Manhattan is one of the most affirming stories of the 21st century. It’s a story that NOVA, the acclaimed Public Broadcasting science series, tells in “Engineering Ground Zero,” to be shown in the Campus Center Ballroom on Friday, September 9 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.  Co-executive producers Timothy E. Smith and Anthony Cicatiello will be present to introduce the film, which is co-sponsored by NJIT.

“Engineering Ground Zero” captures the scope of the efforts by architects and engineers to make the new buildings highly safe and secure under the pressures of a tight schedule, the demands for practical office space and efficient "green" architecture, and the public's expectations of a fitting site for national remembrance. It vividly profiles the men and women whose hard work and ingenuity are moving the reconstruction process forward and spotlights the pioneering science and materials that may redefine how skyscrapers are built.

Just two days after the premiere of the film on public television honors students can attend this special viewing of “Engineering Ground Zero”. 

The NJIT showing of “Engineering Ground Zero” is sponsored by the Technology and Society Forum Committee, Albert Dorman Honors College and the Campus Center.


Dr. James C. Phillips
Department of Physics and Astronomy,
Rutgers University



Dr. Robert B. Marcus
Bell Laboratories, Bellcore, NJIT



September 21, 2011
2:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Campus Center Ballroom A
A Scientist’s and Sculptor’s Reflections on Creativity


The focus of this unusual and thought-provoking Colloquium will be the creative confluence of science and art.  James C. Phillips and Robert B. Marcus, the two speakers, have each had a long and distinguished career in the sciences, with Dr. Marcus wearing the additional hat of sculptor.  They have known each other since very early on when they both worked at Bell Labs. 


Dr. James C. Phillips received his PhD from the University of Chicago in 1956.  He began his career in Bell Labs.  Subsequently he was associated with the University of California, Berkeley, Cambridge University and the University of Chicago, before returning to Bell Labs in 1968 where he served until 2001.  Since then he has been a visiting Professor at Rutgers University, Piscataway.  He has authored more than 500 papers (63 in 2002-2011) and three books, including the 2nd edition of Bonds and Bands in Semiconductors (2010).  He won the Buckley Prize from the American Physical Society in 1973, was honored with being elected to the National Academy Sciences in 1978 and received the Hume-Rothery Award from TMS (The Minerals, Metals and Materials Society) in 1992. 


Dr. Philips has entitled his talk Six Impossible Things. The optoelectronic revolution has altered civilization (~10,000 years old) in only 60 years.  It affected experimental physics first (especially data acquisition and processing in big-machine particle physics), and its effects have recently spread to business (especially financial businesses) which talks about the era of “big data”.  How has theoretical physics responded to “big data”?  Most theoretical physicists have learned how to use email, and some have learned how to write sophisticated big number-crunching computer programs.   Only a few have exploited “big data”, as they expect experimentalists to analyze their own data, as they themselves did in the “small data” era, back in the 20th century.  However, “big data” contains so much information that no one individual can digest it all. The “big data” era contains opportunities for theorists to do new kinds of theory, and solve problems that would have been “impossible” only 20 years ago.  Dr. Phillips will discuss “impossible” examples from superconductivity, proteins, the Web of Science, and economics, and show how exciting this “brave new world” could be for adventurous theorists. [If you look at the photograph Dr. Phillips sent us to put on our website, you are surely right if you expect some “surprises” in what he has to say.]


Dr. Robert B. Marcus wears two hats. The science hat formally started in 1963 at Bell Labs, where he did research and later directed programs in materials analysis and device physics in areas of silicon and compound semiconductor technology. Dr. Marcus began pioneering research in nanotechnology technologies at Bell Labs in the early 1980s, and continued at Bellcore (1984-92) and then at NJIT (1992-97), where he was a Research Professor. He became president of two nanotechnology start-ups in the late 1990s. His second hat is sculptural. Dr. Marcus has been making sculptures for over 30 years, mostly in bronze. Some of his pieces are life-size, and others are based on the equal use of negative and positive space or other topological whimsies and twists. He cast a number of his pieces in his own “lost wax” foundry. Fourteen of his sculptures were on exhibition in a two-month long show in the spring of 2010 at the Cape Cod Museum of Art.  Dr. Marcus has published three books: Transmission Electron Microscopy of Silicon VLSI Circuits and Structures (Wiley, 1983, with T.T. Sheng); Measurement of High-speed Signals in Solid State Devices (Academic Press, 1990, Vol. 28 of the Willardson-Beer series: Semiconductors and Semimetals); A Priest, a Minister, and a Rabbi… (Lulu.com, 2008).


Reflections on Creativity, based on his work in art and science, is what Dr. Marcus will be  talking to us about.

“Creativity refers to the phenomenon whereby a person creates something new that has some kind of value...” (Wikipedia). These new things can effect a wide spectrum of emotional, social, and ethical consequences. I view creativity as a human imperative, and we ought to recognize this fact and exploit our creativity as much as we can. After briefly discussing the various requirements for creativity, as well as some of the factors that can block it, I will focus on my own creative strengths (and shortcomings) and show how they have impacted on both my science and art careers. Mutual influences of each on the other have led to original sculptures that use negative and positive space equally and that exploit simple concepts in topology.

Now, in retirement, Dr. Robert Marcus continues to create sculptures, mostly in bronze, as he has done for 30 years.

Before the Colloquium today, at 12:30 noon. in the main entranceway of  Eberhardt Hall, there will be a dedication of the Marcus’ bronze interpretation of a Klein bottle, a sculpture he has donated to NJIT. This  work embodies the convergent influences that have shaped his approach to both science and art.


The Colloquium is sponsored by the Technology and Society Forum Committee and co-sponsored by the Albert Dorman Honors College, Department of Physics and Sigma Xi.

September 23, 2010
11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Campus Center Multipurpose Room (B35)


Why So Much Turmoil in Markets for Currencies and Assets?

Robert A. Aliber

Robert Z. Aliber is professor emeritus of International Economics and Finance at the Booth Graduate School of Business at the University of Chicago. He has written extensively about currencies, international monetary and banking relationships, and financial crises and the credit bubbles. He brought out the fifth edition of Charles P. Kindleberger’s Manias, Panics, and Crashes, (Palgrave, 2005) and is completing the sixth edition. His book The International Money Game (Basic Books, 1972) first appeared in 1972, and the seventh edition was published in 2010. Other publications include The Multinational Paradigm (MIT Press, 1993) and a book on personal finance, Your Money and Your Life (Basic Books, 1984). A sequel, Your Money and Your Life All Over Again, (Stanford University Press, 2010) came out in 2010. He has consulted to numerous organizations including the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, the World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund. He has testified before committees of Congress, and lectured extensively in the United States and abroad. He received his PhD from Yale University.

Dr. Aliber will cover in his Colloquium the unprecedented turmoil in the markets for currencies and assets over the last forty years. There have been four waves of financial crisis, the first occurred in 1982 and involved Mexico and ten other developing countries. The second wave took place in the early 1990s and engulfed Japan and three of the Nordic countries; most of the banks and many other financial firms in these countries failed.  The Asian Financial Crisis was the third in the series; there were only a few countries in which the banks did not fail.  The most recent wave has involved the collapse of real estate markets in the United States, Britain, Ireland, Spain, and Iceland. The turbulence in Greece, Portugal, and other members of the Euro zone is part of the fourth wave.

Each of these waves of crisis was preceded by a period of three, four, or more years when the indebtedness of various borrowers increased by twenty to thirty percent a year for three, four, or more years. The growth rates of indebtedness were too high to be sustained.

The revenues of the investment banks have surged in the last thirty years, and these firms have largely evolved from underwriting and advisory activities into trading firms. The revenues of the commercial banks from trading have soared.

What is the source of the shocks that have led to the volatility of prices of assets and currencies. Are Citibank and Goldman the cause, the beneficiaries, or both the cause and the beneficiaries?            

The colloquium is sponsored by the School of Management at NJIT and co-sponsored by the Albert Dorman Honors College.

September 28, 2011
2.30 – 4.00 p.m.
Campus Center Ballroom A


Diversify or Die: a Key Element to a Successful Enterprise


Jose L. Rodriguez
President of M.E.R.I.T., Inc

Eleven years ago, Jose L. Rodriguez left behind a successful career in law enforcement to start his own business.  

Today, the president of M.E.R.I.T., Inc., a Newark-based contracting company that provides its clients with construction and security services, was named the U.S. Small Business Administration’s 2011 New Jersey Small Business Person of the Year.

In making the announcement at the company’s Newark office, SBA’s New Jersey District Director Alfred J. Titone said Rodriguez was selected for the award based on criteria that include: Staying Power (a substantial history of an established business); Growth in Number of Employees; Increase in Sales; Financial Strength of the Company; Innovativeness of Product or Service Offered; Response to Adversity and Contributions to Aid Community-Oriented Projects.

The former Newark Police detective and retired captain from the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office took the experience he gained there and set off to start a company that provided security services. “Initially, I wanted to focus on offering security services,” said Rodriguez. However, that all changed in 2003 when Rodriguez turned to the SBA for assistance in becoming a certified SBA 8(a) company. The certification helps small disadvantaged businesses compete for contracts from the federal government.

The combination of being an SBA 8(a) company and having Service Disabled Veteran status helped propel M.E.R.I.T., Inc. to the next level.  Having familiarity with construction didn’t hurt either.  “I noticed that many of the jobs that were up for bid were in construction,” said Rodriguez. “I was confident in my ability and changed the focus of the company to construction-based services.” That was the turning point and Rodriguez hasn’t looked back since.  Today, M.E.R.I.T., Inc. has grown to 40 employees with annual sale of $9.1 million.

“This is truly a great small business success story,” said Titone.  “Jose Rodriguez didn’t let the everyday obstacles that he faced get in the way of building a successful contracting business right here in Newark.  That’s what small business owners do: they adapt to the conditions that surround them and make it work.”

In his Colloquium, Rodriguez will talk about the danger of tunnel vision when a company focuses solely on its main area of business. He will show us how to stay on our guard and how best to avoid falling victim to such ruinous tunnel vision. On the basis of examples from his experience with his own contracting company, Rodriguez will also stress the importance of studying what other areas of business students aim to go into, because such insights can help you enhance and/or supplement your main area of business and enable you to develop additional streams of revenue. Anyone attending the Colloquium will leave with a broader perspective of how to look for opportunities that may not seem obvious but can offer the careful and attentive observer an opportunity to connect the dots and broaden a company's service spectrum or product range.

October 12, 2011
2:30 - 4:00 p.m.
Newark Public Library


"Sumerian Clay Tablets, Artist's Books and Shopping Bags: The Newark Public Library and Building Non-digital Collections in an Increasingly Digital World"

A Study Tour of the NPL Special Collections

Jared Ash
Acting Head of Special Collections

Though some people may feel that Google, Wikipedia, the Kindle, Netflix and iTunes have supplanted the information long provided by public libraries, students may be surprised to learn that large urban libraries, like the Newark Public Library, have long assembled important, unusual and very tactile collections, which have yet to be completely rendered (or ultimately appreciated) in the digital environment.  Through this tour of the Library and its Special Collections Division, students will be able to see first-hand printed works from the 15th and 16th centuries, written artifacts from before the age of Christ, and artists' engravings and etchings from Pablo Picasso to Roy Lichtenstein.  Many materials stored in the Special Collections Division have been collected for over 120 years and encompass some of the best examples of printing, artwork and design.

Artists' books within the Library's collections run the gamut from finely-printed works to shapes such as a shoe box (see photo above) or ukulele that do not at all resemble what normally sits on library shelves.  Special Collections has maintained a Shopping Bag collection since the 1970s, saving iconic bags from the big New York and New Jersey department stores as well as bags from China, Europe, but also Israel, Iraq, Egypt, Australia and the Pacific Rim. 

In an increasingly digital world, being able to actually see and hold a page from the Gutenberg Bible or an artists' book made from sandpaper, allows students to be able to use the sense of touch rather than simply what appears on a screen. 

October 19, 2011
2:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Campus Center Ballroom A



Joseph J. Mangano


Joseph J. Mangano, MPH, MBA, is Director, Secretary, and the Executive Director of the Radiation and Public Health Project (www.radiation.org).  Mr. Mangano is a public health administrator and researcher who has studied the connection between low-dose radiation exposure and subsequent risk of diseases such as cancer and damage to newborns. He has published numerous articles and letters in medical and other journals in addition to books, including Low Level Radiation and Immune System Disorders: An Atomic Era Legacy. There he examines the connection between radiation exposure and current widespread health problems.

Soon after its destructive introduction at the end of the World War II, a far more benign form of nuclear fission was promoted as a technology that would provide the world with safe and virtually inexhaustible energy.  Over the decades, the numerous nuclear power plants brought online have become a very important source of electricity in many countries.  But in addition to generating electricity, these plants have generated significant anxiety about their safety and vexing questions about their future viability in the global mix of energy resources.  Names like Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and Fukushima have figured prominently in the debate over the prospects of nuclear power. In his Colloquium, Joseph J. Mangano will assess both the positive and questionable aspects of fission power plants.

The Colloquium is sponsored by the Technology and Society Forum and co-sponsored by the Albert Dorman Honors College and Sigma Xi.



October 20, 2011
7:00 p.m.
Jim Wise Theatre, Kupfrian Hall
The Castle
By David Fishelson and Aaron Leichter
Directed by Dan Drew

“By turns sexy, comic and horrifying, this new stage version of THE CASTLE tells the story of a man who decides to fight a monstrous bureaucracy rather than give in to it, attempting and failing to gain entrance to a castle where he has been summoned to work. In its surreal depiction of an all-powerful organization (which some, including Thomas Mann, have called a metaphor for God), THE CASTLE is a black comedy for our times.” – Dramatist Play Service

October 26, 2011
2:30 - 4:00 p.m.
Campus Center Atrium

How to Become an Innovation Sherpa©

Joseph Nadan
Industry Professor
NYU Polytechnic Institute


Dr. Nadan is an “Innovation Sherpa”; he invented and/or innovated many products and services including EZ Pass, CDROM, and 16:9 HDTV for which he received a 2002 EMMY for Scientific and Technological Advancement. He is Professor, Management of Technology and Business Innovation, and Director of the Executive Master’s Degree Programs at New York University Polytechnic Institute. Dr. Nadan is Senior Editor of The International Journal of Innovation Science and is a Senior Member of the IEEE.

Prior to joining NYU Poly he managed and led the US division of TORI Global, with consulting practices focused on the management of innovation programs, and organizational leadership and development. Before that Dr. Nadan was Senior Vice-President and Global CTO of GTECH, the world’s leading provider of real-time lotteries, CTO of AIG Technologies, and Senior Executive Vice-President and COO of the Market Data Corporation affiliate of Cantor Fitzgerald, and Senior Vice-President for Strategic Planning and New York Operations for the Rich Division of Reuters. During an earlier part of his career he was a tenured Associate Professor of Computer/ Electrical Engineering and Assistant Dean of the School of Engineering at the City College of the City University of New York.

Dr. Nadan has a Ph.D. in Computer/ Electrical Engineering from the City University of New York, followed 13 years later by an Executive MBA in consumer behavior, marketing and strategic planning from the Columbia University Graduate School of Business. He is a business strategy expert specializing in the design, implementation and management of innovation programs. Dr. Nadan is a certified leader of “Art of Innovation” Workshops, and a McQuaig certified behavioral assessment interpreter.

How to Become an Innovation Sherpa©

Managing innovation programs requires Passion, Preparation, People, Process & Practice, and Performance. In his colloquium Dr. Nadan explains how he became an Innovation Sherpa and what education, experience and mentoring are required to manage and lead technology and business innovation successfully.

November 2, 2011
2:30 - 4:00 p.m.
Campus Center Ballroom A





The Peace Corps Experience

Owen Fitzgerald

Graduate of NJIT (2008) and Returned Peace Corps Volunteer

Owen Fitzgerald graduated from NJIT with a degree in Engineering and Construction Technology.  His academic performance was always exceptional and in his senior year he was nominated NCE’s Outstanding Student. As an undergraduate he had also been president of the student group Engineers Without Borders and during his tenure was able to transform it into an exceptionally committed and highly effective organization.

Soon after graduation he decided to join the Peace Corps and, after the usual three months of training, was sent to work in a remote region of Mali, West Africa.  There he learned to speak the local language, lived in traditional housing and was an active participant in local community life. 

During his time there – it was just weeks ago that he completed his 27 months as a Peace Corps volunteer – he provided technical assistance for programs aimed at improving the quality of life for the local communities. One outstanding example of his work was a project he completed in Socourani, a small farming village with some 450 inhabitants, which  like so many other small villages in Mali was without amenities, like electricity and running water. In Socourani, he oversaw the construction by the villagers themselves of a large-diameter deep well. This project was completed earlier this year and now for the first time the villagers have a dependable source of running water all year round. (For more information on this project go to http://appropriateprojects.com/node/721).  This is one example of how Owen Fitzgerald helped villagers in Mali execute projects that have a long-term impact on health, agriculture and the local economy.

The Peace Corps was created by President John F. Kennedy fifty years ago.  He appealed to the nation with the memorable words: "Ask not what America will do for you, but  what together we can do for the freedom of man".

The President appointed statesman and activist Sargent Shriver to set up a national service organization to help developing nations. Since 1961, over 200,000 Peace Corps volunteers have “shared with the world, America’s most precious resource: its people”.  Volunteers serve in 76 countries around the world:  in Africa, Asia and the Caribbean,  in Central and South America,  in Europe and the Middle East.  Peace Corps Volunteers live, learn, and work with a community overseas and provide technical assistance in six program areas:  education,  youth and community development,  health,  business information and communication technology,  agriculture  and environment.

Upon returning to the United States, Peace Corps volunteers “bring the world back home” with them. They naturally want to share their experiences and insights wit