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BYU professors receive prestigious awards from Purdue University

Two Brigham Young University professors recently received Outstanding Mechanical Engineer Awards from Purdue University’s School of Mechanical Engineering.

Brent Webb, Academic Vice President, and Thomas Sederberg, professor of computer science and associate dean in the College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences, both received their doctoral degrees from Purdue University and have since demonstrated exceptional expertise and excellence in their fields and in academia.

Every year since 1991, Purdue’s School of Mechanical Engineering has recognized exceptional alumni who have excelled in their industries, communities and universities as leaders and influencers in the field of mechanical engineering. 

“Honorees have shown outstanding character and leadership and have accomplished great things,” said Anil Bajaj, head of Purdue’s School of Mechanical Engineering. “The 2014 award recipients are truly exceptional.”

Webb received both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mechanical engineering from BYU. After receiving his PhD from Purdue in 1986, he joined the faculty of the BYU Mechanical Engineering Department. While also being a dedicated teacher, Webb has authored or co-authored over 180 peer-reviewed technical papers.

In addition to his success as a researcher, Webb has received other prestigious awards such as the National Science Foundation Presidential Young Investigator Award (1986), the BYU College of Engineering’s Outstanding Faculty Award (1990), the BYU Young Scholar Award (1991-1993), the BYU Alumni Professorship (1997-2000) and the BYU Karl G. Maeser Research and Creative Arts Award (1994).

At BYU, Webb has served as Executive Director in the Office of Research and Creative Activities from 1996 to 1999, then as Associate Academic Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies from 2005 to 2011. He currently serves as Academic Vice President.

Sederberg received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in civil engineering from BYU. After receiving his PhD from Purdue in 1983, Sederberg came to BYU as part of the civil engineering faculty. His research focus is in the fields of computer graphics and computer aided geometric design. His experience has led him to serve as an associate editor of the journals ACM Transactions on Graphics and Computer Aided Geometric Design.

Sederberg’s research has led to the development of significant intellectual property, on which a company was founded. He invented a technology called Free-Form Deformation that is used in most commercial animation and CAD programs. He also invented T-splines and co-founded T-Splines, Inc. that was acquired by Autodesk in 2012.  His technology is now becoming part of Autodesk’s free-form surfacing software.

Sederberg has been recognized for his accomplishments through numerous awards including the Steven V. White University Professorship, the Technology Transfer Award and the Distinguished Faculty Lecturer Award. ACM SIGGRAPH awarded him the Computer Graphics Achievement Award in 2006 and in 2013 he received the Pierre Bezier Prize to honor him for his research in computer aided design. Sederberg is also listed in the Thomson Reuters publication, “The World’s Most Influential Scientific Minds 2014.”

Writer: Camille Penrod

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