Boyle memorialized by hometown

Time of celebration makes way for commemoration, community says

Published on July 26, 2012
Honours of unveiling the monument to the late Willard S. Boyle, a Nobel Prize recipient from Wallace, N.S., went to his son David (centre) and wife Betty, who played a role in designing the curious message carved in stone they felt Boyle would be very happy with.
Christopher Gooding – Amherst Daily News

WALLACE – Willard “Bill” S. Boyle, a son of Wallace, passed away May 7, 2011, but not before receiving the Order Canada and the Nobel Prize in Physics for his contribution of the Charge-Couple Device, a form of technology that made way for the digital camera and a multitude of other devices now common place in the developed world.

Accolades were plenty during Boyle’s life, but his community is first to memorialize his life since his passing, erecting a monument to his contribution to the world.

“It’s quite mind boggling to think of Bill – someone who was so quiet – with his science partner invented something that has affected billions of people,” master of ceremonies Stuart Semple said at Thursday’s dedication. “Sadly, Bill isn’t with us. The era of celebration is behind us. The era of commemoration now begins.”

The memorial commemorating Boyle’s achievement is both profound and not without mystery. Neighbouring the site of Wallace’s memorial is another dedication to Simon Newcomb, recipient of the Copley Medal of the Royal Society of London. Boyle’s memorial both highlights his achievement and then offers pictographs for the viewer to decipher, concluding with Boyle’s signature and trademark phrase to students, friends and colleagues – “think.”

 It was a collaborative work between stone carver Keith Elliot and Boyle’s family.

“The design of this stone is something we worked on as a family,” son David said. “Keith had tremendous patience working with a group of artists.”

The site of the memorial is the latest holdings for the Wallace Museum. In the years to come the site will include picnic tables and displays highlighting the museum’s collection.

The memorial is located at the corner of Highway 6 and Kerr Mill’s Road,