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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 and 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, which soars at the intersection of science and art, 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.
"This extraordinary play--at once a historical detective story, a lecture in morality and a lesson in advanced nuclear physics--shows that Michael Frayn, at his best, can blend bogglingly cerebral material with the skill of a theatrical craftsman." --The Evening Standard