Theodore Roosevelt Park

The Daily Plant : Thursday, September 30, 2010

American Nobel Laureates Honored At Theodore Roosevelt Park

The 2009 American Nobel Laureates stand at the monument in Theodore Roosevelt Park.
Daniel Avila

Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe unveiled eleven new inscriptions to the nation’s only Nobel Monument on Tuesday, September 28, alongside Ambassador of Sweden to the U.S. Jonas Hafstrom and Ambassador of Norway to the U.S. Wegger Chr. Strommen. They were joined by Dr. Jack W. Szostak, Nobel Laureate in Medicine of 2009, Dr. George E. Smith, Nobel Laureate in Physics of 2009, and Dr. Thomas A. Steitz, Nobel Laureate in Chemistry of 2009. Also in attendance were five American Nobel Laureates from prior years, Marjorie Tiven, Commissioner of the NYC Commission for the UN, Consular Corps and Protocal, and members of the Columbia University Summer Research Program for Science Teachers, the Rockefeller University Science Outreach Program, and the New York Academy of Sciences.

“It is an honor to unveil the inscriptions for the 2009 American Nobel Laureates on the nation’s only Nobel Monument, which is located in Theodore Roosevelt Park,” said Commissioner Benepe. “This park, like all parks, serves as an agora where New Yorkers come together, congregate, take inspiration from the beauty of nature, and share ideas. No country in the world boasts as many Nobel Laureates as the United States, and many Nobel Prize-winning ideas have come from New Yorkers. The Nobel Monument bears inscriptions of the names of all 317 American Laureates, reinforcing its role as a monument to intellectual achievement.”

Tuesday’s ceremony marked a landmark moment for American Nobel Prize records. Never before have so many Americans—eleven—been honored in one year. The previous recored for American Nobel laureates was in 2001 with a total of eight recipients. Furthermore, no other country has had as many Nobel Prize recipients as the United States since the awards were first presented in 1901. Since then, 317 Americans have had universal recognition of their achievements in physics, chemistry, medicine, literature and for work in peace.

The eleven American Nobel Laureates of 2009, whose name inscriptions were unveiled on the monument in Theodore Roosevelt Park, are:

Charles K. Kao, Physics
Willard S. Boyle, Physics
George E. Smith, Physics

Venkatraman Ramakrishnan, Chemistry
Thomas A. Steitz, Chemistry

Elizabeth H. Blackburn, Physiology or Medicine
Carol W. Greider, Physiology or Medicine
Jack W. Szostak, Physiology or Medicine

Barack H. Obama, Peace

Elinor Ostrom, Economics
Oliver E. Williamson, Economics

The Nobel Monument was dedicated in 2003 in a joint project between the Consulate General of Sweden and the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation. The aim was to honor all American Nobel Laureates as well as the founder of the Nobel Prize, Swedish inventor Alfred Nobel. It is the only monument in a City park with the names of living persons inscribed.

The Park is named after Theodore Roosevelt, the only native New Yorker to ever serve as President of the United States. In 1906, Roosevelt became the first American to receive a Nobel Prize in any category; he won the peace prize for drawing up the 1905 peace treaty to the Russo-Japanese War. In 2009, President Barack Obama—who graduated from Columbia University in 1983—became just the third American President to be honored with the Nobel peace prize while still in office.

Historically, more than 25 Nobel Laureates attended public school in New York City. More than 75 Laureates have been affiliated with Columbia University, more than 30 Laureates have been affiliated with New York University, and more than 20 Laureates have been affiliated with Rockefeller University.

The monument in Theodore Roosevelt Park, which now includes the names of all 317 American Nobel Laureates, was designed by renowned Swedish sculptor Sivert Lindblom and financed through the generous support of Merck Company Foundation, Skanska, Barbro Osher Pro Suecia Foundation, Ambassador and Mrs. Lyndon L. Olson Jr., and NCR Corporation.


“We never really know what stupidity is
until we have experimented on ourselves.”
Paul Gauguin
(1848 - 1903)

Directions to Theodore Roosevelt Park

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