Tech Pioneer’s donation helps the plan for the Leonard Nimoy Memorial

Efforts to create a memorial celebrating the legacy of Leonard Nimoy, the actor who played a pointy-eared alien named Spock on “Star Trek,” have shifted to warp speed nearly eight years after his death.

A six-figure contribution from Android co-founder Rich Miner spurs the campaign to create an illuminated, 20-foot-tall sculpture depicting Spock’s famous “Live Long and Prosper” hand gesture. The sculpture was to be placed in the Boston Science Museum near the West End neighborhood where Nimoy grew up.

Nimoy’s daughter, Julie Nimoy, and her husband, David Knight, are working with the museum to help reach the $500,000 fundraising goal for the project. Thanks to Miner’s input, Knight said the stainless steel memorial, designed by artist Tom Stocker and sculptor David Phillips, could begin to take shape as early as this year.

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“We really started to wonder if that’s going to happen?” said Ritter. “To our incredible delight, someone from the high-tech world really got into it.”

Like Nimoy, Rich Miner hails from the Boston area. The 58-year-old computer scientist is best known as the co-founder of Android, the operating system for mobile devices that was acquired by Google in 2005. Miner also co-founded GV, Google’s first venture fund; and Wildfire Communications, a voice assistant company acquired by Orange in 2000.

Miner said he was motivated to donate to the Nimoy memorial project, partly because of his upbringing in Boston, but also because of the connection to Star Trek.

Rich Miner (Image via LinkedIn)

“Star Trek and Spock fueled my interest in science and technology and inspired aspects of my startups: Wildfire, the first voice-based personal assistant, and Android (likely the operating system for the tricorder in 2265),” he said in a tweet.

Knight said the exact amount of the miner’s contribution will be revealed after figuring out how the payout would be structured. For example, the donation could be designed as a matching fund challenge to reach the full goal of $500,000.

The miner support announced on Dec. 29 has already triggered additional support. William Shatner, who played Captain Kirk to Nimoy’s Spock in the original Star Trek and a series of film spin-offs, said in a tweet that Miner’s donation was “wonderful news.” The fundraiser’s website has registered donations of $36,625 from 500 other supporters to date.

Knight said this could mark a turning point for the campaign, which began in 2021.

“I used to be [thinking it was] A really nice idea, a nice tribute, but it just didn’t get the support it needed. Obviously it’s the price tag. That’s a high price,” he said. “But now we see we’re over the hill.”

The 20-foot-tall depiction of Nimoy’s “Live Long and Prosper” split-finger gesture – which was inspired by a Jewish blessing sign the actor remembered from his childhood days – is meant to be more than just a memorial for just one man.

“When people see it, they will be inspired,” Knight said. “The goal is twofold: Yes, #1, it honors Leonard’s life and legacy. But “Live Long and Prosper” is also a symbol of peace, tolerance, unity and diversity. So there are some wonderful things behind it, and so many people feel that connection to the symbol.”

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