Friday, November 30, 2012

Further Reading

We're coming into the end of another week.  Since Copenhagen is inspired by real events and it's characters were real people, it has generated a lot of interest and discussion related to Heisenberg, Niels Bohr, and Margrethe Bohr.

The play also touches on almost every major development in atomic theory in the first half of the 20th Century.  You don't need to know all this stuff to enjoy the play, but some people may want more background.  The play itself has a considerable post-script where the author goes into more discussion of the people and some of the history of the development of quantum theory.

The play itself is not intended to be strictly non-fiction.  While the play is based on real events and people, and the author has done considerable work to present the theories and events clearly, Michael Frayn has taken considerable license in giving these characters voices within the context of the play.  Frayn appeals to Thucydides who explains in History of the Peloponnesian War that "I have made each orator speak as, in my opinion, he would have done in the circumstances."

At any rate, plays and movies based on real events often arouse interest in their subject matter.  To that end, here is a link to some collected resources on the play from MIT.

It provides some very good background on the principals, plus the many people mentioned and of course some about the physics itself.

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