Primary Goals for Boulder's Nobel Circle
- Create a landmark monument, the artistic "Crown Jewel" of Boulder.
- Promote education and the art of teaching.
- Include busts of each of Boulder's celebrities of education, the Nobel laureates, and describe their work.
Boulder's Individual Nobel Laureates
Thomas R. Cech, Chemistry Prize, 1989
Genetics: Catalytic Properties of RNA
Eric A. Cornell and Carl E. Wieman, Physics Prize, 2001
Bose-Einstein Condensation, a new State of Matter
John L. Hall, Physics Prize, 2005
The Optical Frequency Comb and Precise Measurements
David J. Wineland, Physics Prize, 2012
Quantum Entanglement and Quantum Computing
Group Nobel Award
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Peace Prize, 2007
A Cautionary Tale that Climate Change will create civil strife.
The Coordinating Lead Authors and the Lead Authors who did their research in Boulder will be listed.
Boulder's Nobel Circle
Before the 1950s Boulder was a university town, with farming out on the plains and recreation to be had in the mountains. With the arrival of IBM, NIST, NOAA, and NCAR, we became something new - a high tech community. The University and the federal laboratories gave Boulder the strength in basic research to become a prominent player on the national scene. New businesses grew from this basic research; we sprouted wings and gained international recognition at the highest level: Five Nobel Prizes for Boulder citizen-scientists.
That is remarkable for our smallish city. Even more remarkable when you realize that no other city in Colorado has even a single Nobel. Some people will ask why worry about something as intangible as Boulder's place in the world, or Boulder's image? Several things could be mentioned but we think the most important is: Who do our kids think they are? Some -- probably even most -- grow up in that nether world of innocence, of friends, times of self absorption, and fun. However, from some experience, some image, they begin to choose a direction in life. What image should we as a community present for them to consider?
We believe that Boulder's image, both for the City and the County, should be what is most unique to Boulder. Boulder's Nobel Circle should represent advanced education, and high achievement, symbolized by our Nobel Prizes. Our Nobel Laureates are the celebrities of education. Stretch your imagination to the larger world. Athens has its Parthenon, Paris has the Eiffel Tower, and Sydney has its Opera House. Boulder should have a Nobel Circle as its defining image. Incidentally, we would be the first city in the nation to make this visionary choice.
As our defining image the Boulder's Nobel Circle should be placed in the most prominent place in the city -- the most visited area -- which is the Downtown Mall. The Mall is where the people are. Other locations, with fewer people, imply less exposure and less influence, a poorer investment of our resources. Where on the Mall? We suggest that you walk the Mall and see for yourself. Wells Fargo Bank has a stately character, enhanced by its landmark clock, very nice. But we suggest that you stand on the Mall outside the fence of the court house grounds, and look at the court house. It has a public character, it has historical community significance, and monumental scale. In our minds this is the grandest public setting in the city, the natural location for the Nobel Circle.
Boulder's heritage is memorialized in front of the old courthouse with images of a Native American, of hard-rock mining, and several war memorials including the Lions Club fountain. J. Midyette, the architect, says that we do not want to just plop a monument on the Mall; it must reflect the "fabric of the Mall." The Nobel Circle represents the last 60 years of Boulder history, and is a coherent extension of the existing historical artifacts. The new monument must also honor the Art Deco style of the court house. The Nobel Circle symbolizes our recent past and our path into the future. Because we expect this monument to be the crown jewel of Boulder public art, it should be prominently displayed. It should be on the Mall proper, not obscured by other monuments.We are confident that the Nobel Circle can be designed to enhance public events such as jazz concerts on the Mall.
How can we create a Nobel Circle that is inspiring for youngsters? We will sponsor a design competition among artists nation-wide. To qualify for the competition an artist must provide images of previous work at the intersection of science and art. From these submissions our committee will select two or three artists to provide competing designs for the Nobel Circle. We expect a provision in the design for visiting children to stand in the monument to have their pictures taken. We will divide $40,000 among these artists as incentives for their detailed design work. The winner will be chosen according to which design fits the fabric of the Mall and which design will most effectively inspire young students.
Just as visiting Mount Vernon gives a feel for the history of our country in the time of George Washington, visiting the Nobel Circle, with its images of our Nobel Laureates, provides a setting for explaining what they actually did. The laureates and their research will become a focus of local science teaching, a personalized focus because as Boulder citizens the laureates are friends and neighbors, and their research was done in Boulder. Their science is the frontier of modern research and its description can be adapted to the school curriculum. We expect to accomplish this with videos that introduce their personas and give discussions of their prize winning work. This will be STEM education at its best.
The videos are a project in themselves that will be done by artists selected in the same manner as the Design competition for the monument. Different presentations will be needed for elementary and for secondary school students. This aspect of the Nobel Circle will be advised by Samantha Messier, the Science Curriculum Coordinator of our school district.
Building a Design Concept
Isaac Newton, as interpreted by William Blake, circa 1800
The gold colored figures are James Watt and his colleagues discussing steam engines, designed by William Bloye and Raymond Forbes-Kings, 1956
The polished aluminum relief sculpture, by Brad Baxley (2013) shows the range of research from atoms to astrophysics, at JILA
Giving a model of the Bohr atom to students
Discussing the role of DNA and RNA in biology
Climate change research is illustrated by showing a discussion of earth satellites and what they measure
Nobel Circle Committee
John Hickenlooper Governor, Colorado
The Nobel Circle Committee is not institutionally sponsored, but it consists of private citizens with affiliations as follows:|
Projection Estimates for Boulder's Nobel CircleThe Nobel Circle project has a Design phase, and a Construction phase. $40,000 is needed for the Design phase. The Construction phase will require substantially more funding, primarily from philanthropic and corporate sponsors.
For further information contact: Don@NobelCircle.org, or (303) 494-0644.
Donations to this project are tax deductible as 501 (c) 3 contributions.
The Community Foundation, Nobel Circle
1123 Spruce Street, Boulder, CO 80302
or by telephone and credit card to Margaret Katz, Margaret@commfound.org, (303) 442-0436.
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Click here for our informative pamphlet (PDF)