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Dr. Webb delivers university devotional

Principles of mechanical engineering and faith were combined in the Brigham Young University Marriott Center on June 6, as Professor Brent W. Webb delivered the Tuesday devotional.

Entitled “Where else but BYU?”, Dr. Webb’s address was centered on the university’s dual focus on academics and spirituality. He emphasized that this unique mix of faith and physics prepares students to not only be successful in the workforce but to “develop their divine potential.”

He followed this principle with a simple analogy, comparing this dual focus to using both eyes to see.

“Have you ever tried to drive your car or touch a distant object with one eye closed? Looking through only one eye seriously limits our perception of depth, our perspective,” Webb said. “BYU was founded on the prophetic precept that the same is true of education, that the eye of study and the eye of faith can be mutually enhancing. Where else but at BYU are we institutionally free—and even encouraged—to view our disciplines through the complementary eyes of reason and faith? In learning at BYU, rigorous study is no substitute for faith, and faith is no substitute for rigorous study.”

The professor discussed how this spiritual perspective blessed him as he applied it to his discipline of thermodynamics. He explained how providential it is that the sun’s peak radiated energy lies in the small wavelength range to which human eyes are sensitive, and that water becomes less dense as it freezes, so that ice doesn’t accumulate at the bottom of the ocean and disrupt the Earth’s ecology.

“More now than ever, the kingdom of God needs deep thinkers anchored in faith in all disciplines, capable of reconciling scholarly observations with authentic, defining belief in God…We see how man's knowledge, as vast as it is, is amplified by revealed knowledge,” Webb said.

Dr. Webb is the recipient of the Karl G. Maeser Distinguished Faculty Lecturer award, the most distinguished award at the university. In addition to his professorship in the mechanical engineering department, he has served on several committees and has contributed to over 230 publications. He served as the Executive Director of the BYU Office of Research and Creative Activities, the Associate Academic Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies, and the Academic Vice President.

Visit to view the complete address.