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Copenhagen (Methuen Drama Series) [Englisch] [Taschenbuch]

Michael Frayn
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4. Juni 1998 Methuen Drama Series
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 revolutionised 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, and ended in disaster. Why the German physicist Heisenberg went to Copenhagen in 1942 and what he wanted to say to the Danish physicist Bohr are questions which have exercised historians of nuclear physics ever since. In Michael Frayn's new play Heisenberg meets Bohr and his wife Margrethe once again to look for the answers, and to work out, just as they had once worked out the internal functioning of the atom, how we can ever know why we do what we do. 'Michael Frayn's tremendous new play is a piece of history, an intellectual thriller, a psychological investigation and a moral tribunal in full session.' Sunday Times

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  • Taschenbuch: 116 Seiten
  • Verlag: Bloomsbury Academic Methuen (4. Juni 1998)
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ISBN-10: 0413724905
  • ISBN-13: 978-0413724908
  • Größe und/oder Gewicht: 13,3 x 21 cm
  • Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 4.8 von 5 Sternen  Alle Rezensionen anzeigen (8 Kundenrezensionen)
  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 542.490 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)

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For most people, the principles of nuclear physics are not only incomprehensible but inhuman. The popular image of the men who made the bomb is of dispassionate intellects who number-crunched their way towards a weapon whose devastating power they could not even imagine. But in his Tony Award-winning play Copenhagen, Michael Frayn shows us that these men were passionate, philosophical, and all too human, even though one of the three historical figures in his drama, Werner Heisenberg, was the head of the Nazis' effort to develop a nuclear weapon. The play's other two characters, the Danish physicist Niels Bohr and his wife, Margrethe, are involved with Heisenberg in an after-death analysis of an actual meeting that has long puzzled historians. In 1941, the German scientist visited Bohr, his old mentor and long-time friend, in Copenhagen. After a brief discussion in the Bohrs' home, the two men went for a short walk. What they discussed on that walk, and its implications for both scientists, have long been a mystery, even though both scientists gave (conflicting) accounts in later years.

Frayn's cunning conceit is to use the scientific underpinnings of atomic physics, from Schrödinger's famous cat to the Heisenberg uncertainty principle, to explore how an individual's point of view renders attempts to discover the ultimate truth of any human interaction fundamentally impossible. To Margrethe, Heisenberg was always an untrustworthy student, eager to steal from her husband's knowledge. To Bohr, Heisenberg was a brilliant if irresponsible foster son, whose lack of moral compass was part of his genius. As for Heisenberg, the man who could have built the bomb but somehow failed to, his dilemma is at the heart of the play's conflict. Frayn's clever dramatic structure, which returns repeatedly to particular scenes from different points of view, allows several possible theories as to what his motives could have been. This isn't the first play to successfully merge the worlds of science and theater (one is inevitably reminded of Tom Stoppard's Arcadia and Hapgood), but it's certainly one of the most dramatically successful. --John Longenbaugh


'Michael Frayn is one of the great playwrights of our time.' Play Collections- Contemporary Dramatist (December 2010)

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4 von 4 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen An unsolved mystery. Uncertainty! 17. August 2003
You might not guess it from the title, but this is the play by Michael Frayn that for several years attracted full house at Broadway and at theaters in London. Background: The atomic bomb was built in Los Alamos during WW II by American scientists, and it signaled in 1945 the start of what we now call the Cold War. But it also ended WW II. Parallel to Los Alamos, German scientists in Leipzig worked on building a nuclear reactor, and the bright young Werner Heisenberg was an undisputed leader of the German fission project. However the science itself originated in Europe. The play has three characters, Werner Heisenberg, Niels Bohr, and Margrethe Bohr, and the location is the private home of the Bohrs. The book and the play paint a compelling picture of the three. When I went to the play in London, the audience sat in stitches for the whole two hours. I didn't see anyone dozing off, not even during the technical parts of the play. And they most certainly weren't just scientists. Much has been written about the other early atomic scientists, not directly part of the play, e.g., Lise Meitner, Otto Hahn, and Fritz Strassman, to mention just a few. During WW II, in the Fall of 1941, while Denmark was under Nazi occupation, Werner Heisenberg traveled from Leipzig to Copenhagen to see his mentor Niels Bohr. WH had just been 25 years old when he did the work for which he won the Nobel Prize, and in WH's early career, Bohr had become a father figure to the boyish and insecure Werner Heisenberg. The much younger WH was 40 when he visited the Bohrs. Michael Frayn imagines that the three, the Bohrs and Werner Heisenberg meet in after-life to re-live the fateful 1941 encounter, and to resolve WH's motives for his Copenhagen visit; a visit that clearly ended a long and deep friendship. Lesen Sie weiter... ›
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3 von 3 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Von Ein Kunde
Who would think that a play about two theoretical physicists, Werner Heisenberg and Niels Bohr would pack such dramatic interest for people with little background in nuclear physics? Yet Michael Frayn's Copenhagen provides both the human drama of the scientists involved in the nuclear weapons race between Nazi Germany and the Allied Forces ,and the ironic parallels between the Principle of Uncertainty in physics developed by these scientists and the unpredictability of outcomes involving human variables in their own lives. My rather "dry " summary of the content of this play, however, does not begin to convey the drama, irony and humour in the play . Three characters, Heisenberg, Bohr and his wife Margrethe met once again after their death to try to understand Heisenberg's "real " reason for his strange visit to Bohr in 1941 in occupied Copenhagen while Heisenberg was heading the German nuclear reactor program. Through the recollection of each from their points of view about the events of the past, the play reveals the personal and professional relationship between the two scientists and others in the elite scientifc community. The dialog is fast moving, sparkles with humor and dazzling description of the mind games of the brilliant and ideosycratic group of scientists. But in these exchanges between the characters, one understands how important and potentially deadly these "games" and the players can be for humanity. With the three perspectives of the same events provided by the three characters, the play reveals mulitple motives and meanings that conclude in the abrupt termination of the meeting between Heisenberg and Bohr in 1941 that might have been the reason that the Nazis failed to develop an atom bomb before the Allied Forces! Lesen Sie weiter... ›
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3 von 3 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen Read it BEFORE you see the play! 21. April 2000
Von Ein Kunde
Just saw Copenhagen on Broadway. I found it one of the most interesting evenings I have ever spent at the theater. Three people on the stage for 2.5 hours, discussing physics and personal issues sounds hard to take. Nevertheless, the experience was exhilarating, much like a Stoppard drama.
HOWEVER, the discussion can be difficult to follow at times, not just because of the science, of course, but also because the author covers a lot of the politics of 1920s physics and 1930s Europolitics. After a couple of hours. I wished that I had read the play before seeing it. I recommend that you consider doing the same. (Don't worry: You won't lose any of the "plot" line by reading ahead. In fact, a readahead may make the interchanges seems richer....)
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1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen NO UNCERTAINTY IN MY RECOMMENDATION 20. April 2000
Von Ein Kunde
After viewing this play in London, I could hardly wait to get my hands on the "script" to study its contents more deeply. This book will excite anyone interested in the parallels between theoretical physics and the evolution of consciousness studies. This drama explores the Uncertainty Principle as applied to all dimensions of human interaction. Want'a take a ride? This book's for you.
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