Fermilab History and Archives Project

Robert R. Wilson's Sculpture and Architecture

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The Mobius Strip

The Mobius Strip is mounted in the midst of a circular pool atop Ramsey Auditorium. It is made of 3 x 5 inch pieces of stainless steel which were welded on a tubular form eight feet in diameter. This sculpture was dedicated in May, 1974.

In the 1970s a fountain encircled the sculpture.

The Hyperbolic Obelisk

Perhaps the most well known of Wilson's sculptures is the Hyperbolic Obelisk which stands at the foot of the reflecting pond in front of Wilson Hall. It is thirty-two feet high, fabricated of three stainless steel plates each one-quarter inch thick. The Obelisk was erected in May, 1978.

For pictures of the construction of the Obelisk, and the story of the Obelisk, click here


Tractricious, designed by Wilson and Tom Nicol and constructed by members of the Technical Support Section, Louis Ramirez, John Konc, and Kerry Ewald, stands in front of the Industrial Complex. The structure is comprised of 16 stainless steel outer tubes, made from scrap cryostat tubes from Tevatron magnets, and 16 inner pipes from old well casings. Each tube is free standing and designed to withstand winds up to 80 mph. Tractricious was erected in June, 1988.

See the Tractricious page for more information.

Broken Symmetry

Broken Symmetry straddles the Pine Street entrance to Fermilab. This three-span arch, painted black on one side and orange on the other, appears perfectly symmetrical when viewed directly from below, but has carefully calculated asymmetry from its other views. Broken Symmetry was installed in June, 1978.

Click here
for more information on the creation of Broken Symmetry.

Leon M. Lederman Science Education Center

In the early 1990's, Wilson drew upon Frank Lloyd Wright's Prairie school of architecture for the design of the building for the Leon M. Lederman Science Education Center.


Wilson designed the sculpture called Tree. He created it with Fermilab welders Roger Hiller, Pete Surman, Don Ziobro, and Leo Koziol around 1970. It is located close to the Users' Center.

The Bell Tower

The Bell Tower During Construction

The Bell Tower is located in the Village on Shabbona Street, next to the Children's Center. It was constructed in 1969 (as shown in the picture below)

Power Poles

Power Poles. Click here for more information on the creation of the Power Poles.

The Archimedes Spiral

The Archimedes Spiral. Click here for more information on the creation of the Archimedes Spiral.

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