The Nobel Plaza Project

Boulder Public Library Plaza Project Site
Boulder Public Library Plaza Project Site


To create a public art installation for the Main Library Plaza to celebrate Boulder’s Nobel Laureates. It will be designed to inspire and nurture a spirit of curiosity, wonder, and creativity, particularly in the young and their families.

There is little public notice of a unique quality of our city. Nobel Prizes are the world’s most prestigious awards. Our citizen-scientists have won five Nobel Prizes in SCIENCE, and Boulder citizens made key contributions to the PEACE Prize of 2007. No other city in Colorado has won even a single Nobel.

Boulder’s Nobel Laureates

Thomas Cech

Thomas R. Cech, Chemistry Prize, 1989

For the discovery of catalytic properties of RNA

Eric Cornell

Eric A. Cornell, Physics Prize, 2001

For the achievement of Bose-Einstein condensation, a new state of matter

Carl Wieman

Carl E. Wieman, Physics Prize, 2001

For the achievement of Bose-Einstein condensation, a new state of matter

John Hall

John L. Hall, Physics Prize, 2005

For contributions to the development of laser-based precision spectroscopy, including the optical frequency comb technique

David Wineland

David J. Wineland, Physics Prize, 2012

For ground-breaking experimental methods that enable measuring and manipulation of individual quantum systems


Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Peace Prize, 2007

For greater knowledge about man-made climate change, and the foundations for counteracting such change

Letter of Intent

A letter of intent has been signed by representatives of the Nobel Laureate Project Team, the City of Boulder, and Larry Kirkland’s Artist Team, stipulating that the three parties will work toward the goal of creating a Nobel Laureate-inspired public art project at the Main Boulder Public Library Plaza, a symbolic “gateway to knowledge.”

The Artist

The Nobel Plaza Project has partnered with Larry Kirkland, an internationally renowned artist who conceives and creates large-scale multi-dimensional public artworks in collaboration with community leaders and design professionals, to design Boulder’s Nobel Plaza. His installations can be found in institutional and municipal buildings, transit hubs, research facilities, libraries, universities, cruise ships, and urban parks and plazas. His subjects span topics from science to civil rights at sites that include the National Academies of Science in Washington, DC; the California Science Center; Brown University Medical School; Oregon State University; Texas Tech University; and the National Center for Civil and Human Rights in Atlanta.

Samples of his work may be seen in the book Natural Histories: Public Art by Larry Kirkland and at

Larry Kirkland

Institutional Endorsements

John Hickenlooper
Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper
Boulder Valley School Board
Boulder Valley Education (Teachers) Association
University of Colorado, Boulder
National Institute of Standards and Technology
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
National Center for Atmospheric Research
Boulder Chamber of Commerce
Daily Camera

The Nobel Plaza Project Needs Your Contribution!

Donors’ names will be prominently engraved on the edifice, in two categories:

Contribute to the Spark Fund, with a goal of $70,000 for the artist’s fee

Contribute to the Lightning Fund, with a goal of $1,000,000 for construction.

Nobel Plaza early donors are listed at

Project Timeline

Spark Fund completed by December 2018
Lightning Fund completed by December 2019

Contact: Don McDonald, Committee President
(303) 494-0644 or
Donation: 501(c)(3) tax deductible
Phone, or send check to: Nobel Plaza, 2440 Kohler Dr., Boulder, CO 80305

Nobel Plaza Committee and Volunteer Consultants

John Hickenlooper, Colorado Governor, Honorary Chairman
Philip DiStefano, Chancellor, University of Colorado, Boulder
Stein Sture, Vice Chancellor Emeritus
Cindy Carlisle, Boulder City Council; University Regent, Ex-officio
John Tayer, President, Boulder Chamber of Commerce
Larry Gold, Chairman, SomaLogic
James Hurrell, Director, NCAR, Ex-officio
Robert Kamper, Director Emeritus, NIST Boulder
Alexander MacDonald, Director Emeritus, NOAA ESRL
Kirk Ambrose, Art; Ron Billingsley, English; Roger Briggs, Educator; Joyce Davies, Historic Boulder;
Kathy Ellis, Educator; Murray Holland, JILA; Cassy Matthews, Mugs & Wit;
Christina Pierson, Educator; Tarek Sammakia, Chemistry and Biochemistry;
Don McDonald, Physics, Committee President; David Hunt, Engineering, Committee Secretary;
Virginia Schick, Educator, Committee Art; Heather McDonald, Biology, Committee Treasurer

Early Donors

Kathleen Danna
Dick Kautz

Joyce Davies
Ken Davies

Briggs Gamblin

Clark Hamilton
Sue Hamilton

Dick Harris
Catharine Harris

Carl Howard

David Hunt
Joyce Hunt

Margaret Laubisch

Alice McDonald

Edgar Neal
Anne Neal

Sandy Novak

Pat Oelwein
Walter Oelwein

Jim Regina
Becky Bock

Stephen Tebo

Joe Wells
Virginia Wells