Rev. Joseph Laracy

Department of Mathematics and Computer Science

Father Laracy is a priest of the Archdiocese of Newark and member of the Seton Hall University Priest Community.

Father Laracy's principal theological interests are in the intersection of faith & reason and empirical science & Christianity. He offers a theology course on creation and science that is cross-listed with the Department of Catholic Studies and the undergraduate core curriculum. His principal technical interests are in systems science: systems theory (e.g., cybernetics), applied dynamical systems, and systems engineering. He also enjoys teaching topics in applied statistics, logic, and the history of mathematics and science. In addition, Father Laracy is interested in pastoral applications of Viktor Frankl’s existential analysis—logotherapy.

Father Laracy earned the S.T.B., S.T.L., and S.T.D. (Fundamental Theology) degrees from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome in 2012, 2014, and 2019. His S.T.B. paper, under the direction of Monsignor Patrick Burke, was an analysis of the act of faith in the theology of Father Johann Brunsmann, S.V.D., and Father Pierre Rousselot, S.J. During his licentiate and doctoral studies, Father Laracy had the privilege of studying under Father Paul Haffner. He wrote his licentiate thesis on the compatibility of the theology of creation with the natural sciences in the thought of Pope Benedict XVI. His doctoral dissertation was entitled Theology and Science in the Thought of Ian Barbour: An Evaluation for the Catholic Doctrine of Creation. Prior to studies in Rome, Father Laracy completed a two-year program in Thomistic Philosophy and classical languages at Immaculate Conception Seminary in South Orange, NJ, in 2009.

Father Laracy's early career interests at the Complex Systems Research Laboratory at MIT concentrated on uncertainty and dynamics in large-scale, complex engineering systems and looked at key sources of uncertainty, ways to model and quantify uncertainty, and ways to maintain properties such as safety and resilience as systems change over time. His master's degree research at that time was supported in part by NASA Ames Research Center Grant NAG2-1543 (Model-Based Hazard Analysis Research) and National Science Foundation Grant CNS-0550008 (A Socio-Technical Approach to Internet Security).

As a student at the University of Illinois, he pursued research activities to develop a scalable RSA cryptographic co-processor under the direction of Dr. Julian Palmore, supported in part by National Science Foundation Grant DMS 99-83160 (Vertical Integration of Research and Education in the Mathematical Sciences). Laracy also worked on a software pattern-based fly-by-wire aircraft control system with the guidance of Dr. Ralph Johnson. In the course of his studies, he held engineering positions with Lucent Technologies (Wireless Terminal Interoperability Laboratory), Ball Aerospace and Technologies (NASA Deep Impact Mission), and Light Source Energy Services.