Copenhagen

Overview

Copenhagen is a reimagining of the mysterious wartime meeting between two Nobel laureates to discuss the atomic bomb. In 1941 the German physicist Werner Heisenberg made a strange trip to Copenhagen to see his Danish counterpart, Niels Bohr. They were old friends and close colleagues, and they had revolutionized atomic physics in the 1920s with their work together on quantum mechanics and the uncertainty principle. But now the world had changed, and the two men were on opposite sides in a world war. The meeting ...
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Copenhagen

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Overview

Copenhagen is a reimagining of the mysterious wartime meeting between two Nobel laureates to discuss the atomic bomb. In 1941 the German physicist Werner Heisenberg made a strange trip to Copenhagen to see his Danish counterpart, Niels Bohr. They were old friends and close colleagues, and they had revolutionized atomic physics in the 1920s with their work together on quantum mechanics and the uncertainty principle. But now the world had changed, and the two men were on opposite sides in a world war. The meeting was fraught with danger and embarrassment; it ended in disaster." "Why Heisenberg went to Copenhagen and what he wanted to say to Bohr are questions that have exercised historians ever since. In Michael Frayn's new play, an ambitious, fiercely intelligent, and daring dramatic sensation, Heisenberg meets Bohr and his wife, Margrethe, once again to look for the answers and to work out - just as they had worked out the internal functioning of the atom - how we can ever know why we do what we do.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“A piece of history, an intellectual thriller, a psychological investigation and a moral tribunal in full session.”—Sunday Times of London

“Probably the best play about science ever written in English drama. Forget the physics. The greatest experiment...is the dramatic form itself.”—The Guardian

“Frayn has seized on a real-life historical and scientific mystery. In 1941 the physicist Werner Heisenberg, who formulated the famous Uncertainty Principle about the movement of particles, and was at that time leading the Nazi’s nuclear programme, went to visit his old boss and mentor, Niels Bohr, in Copenhagen. What was the purpose of his visit to Nazi-occupied Denmark? What did the two old friends say to each other, particularly bearing in mind that Bohr was both half-Jewish and a Danish patriot?... Frayn argues that just as it is impossible to be certain of the precise location of an electron, so it is impossible to be certain about the workings of the human mind... What is certain is that Frayn makes ideas zing and sing in this play.”—Daily Telegraph
 

"A profound and haunting meditation on the mysteries of human motivation."—Independent
 

 

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780385720793
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 8/28/2000
  • Pages: 144
  • Sales rank: 125,451
  • Product dimensions: 5.16 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.42 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael Frayn is an English dramatist and has written many successful plays such as: Alphabetical Order; Donkeys’ Years; Clouds; Make and Break; Noises Off; and Democracy & Afterlife.

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 23, 2003

    Very enjoyable...

    I would suggest reading this for a variety of reasons. However, I think the best reason is that it is extremely well written and the characters interact in a natural and believable way. Don't let the topic scare you. Anyone can read this and find it enjoyable.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 13, 2001

    Bohr and Heisenberg : Why did they meet?

    In the first act of this play; Neils Bohr's wife,Margrethe,turns to her husband and asks ' Why did he come to Copenhagen? '. Bohr, who initially developed the basics of quantum mechanics, and Heisenberg , who had studied under Bohr and eventually formulated the famous uncertainty principle, were old friends and colleagues in the 1920's and 1930's. However, by 1941 their friendship had been severely strained by the Nazis' brutal oppression of Europe. Moreover, Heisenberg had chosen to remain in Nazi Germany. Suddenly, in the midst of all the chaos which has engulfed Europe, Heisenberg traveled to Copenhagen to meet with his old mentor and friend Bohr. Why he went to Copenhagen has fascinated historians for decades. Some believe that it was to convey to Bohr that Germany was planning to develop an atomic bomb. This meeting is the central theme of Frayn's wonderful play. Frayn tells this story through only three characters; Margarethe, Bohr, and Heisenberg. His characters explore a plethora of scientific and moral questions. I would recommend seeing Mr. Frayn's play performed on stage but if you can't , and if you have ever wondered why Heisenberg went to Copenhagen,then by all means purchase a copy of this marvelous work.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 7, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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