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Mormon Scientist: The life and faith of Henry Eyring.

Memoirs of the man who fused science & religion

Featured Memory

The Janitor Presented the Seminar

Robert Grover |  posted: Aug. 5, 2008 |  occurred: Late 1970's

I was blessed during 1967-68 to attend a seminar for undergraduates by Dr. Eyring at the U. of U. College of Mines and Mineral Industries. At the time I was a practicing Mormon, but was totally oblivious to who and what this great man was. I was blown away by the seminar, in which I understood almost nothing, but recognized a great intellect, kindly man, and inspired teacher.

I’ve often wished I had known who Professor Eyring was during the seminar. I remember his voice. I remember him whimsically and futilely attempting to demonstrate molecular vibration rates with his fingers—and talking about “Old Man de Broglie” and Professors Bohr, Born, Einstein, Planck and others. And relating how Einstein “didn’t know beans.” Otherwise, his efforts were all but wasted on the biggest dullard to ever sit in one of his classes.

In the hallway prior to seminar, I had passed a rumpled, kindly smiling and somewhat elfin gentleman whom I thought, with juvenile condescension, might have been the janitor. Making deliberate eye contact with this skinny perfect stranger, he offered a genuine warm “hello.” Imagine my surprise when the janitor presented the seminar. I was subsequently pleased to read and be influenced for a while by “The Faith of a Scientist.”

I am a former Mormon who ultimately left Mormonism when I left Christianity, not because of science, but with study of the Bible. I am grateful, however, to still enjoy my associations with my Mormon family and friends (one of whom gave me this book). I’m grateful for an expanding appreciation of human life and experience that includes an awareness of the positive role religious belief can have in the lives of individuals and communities of all faiths.