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Copenhagen (Anglais) Broché – 8 août 2000

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Descriptions du produit

Revue de presse

“Endlessly fascinating…. The most invigorating and ingenious play of ideas in many a year…. An electrifying work of art.”–Ben Brantley, The New York Times

“Superbly dramatized…. [Frayn] has an elegant, almost algebraic way with the structure of a play…. Copenhagen offers a particular kind of brain-teasing pleasure.”–John Lahr, The New Yorker

“Scintillating…. A dazzling fugue.”–San Francisco Examiner

Présentation de l'éditeur

The Tony Award—winning play that soars at the intersection of science and art, Copenhagen is an explosive re-imagining of the mysterious wartime meeting between two Nobel laureates to discuss the atomic bomb.

In 1941 the German physicist Werner Heisenberg made a clandestine trip to Copenhagen to see his Danish counterpart and friend Niels Bohr. Their work together on quantum mechanics and the uncertainty principle had revolutionized atomic physics. But now the world had changed and the two men were on opposite sides in a world war. Why Heisenberg went to Copenhagen and what he wanted to say to Bohr are questions that have vexed historians ever since. In Michael Frayn’s ambitious, fiercely intelligent, and daring new play Heisenberg and Bohr meet once again to discuss the intricacies of physics and to ponder the metaphysical—the very essence of human motivation.

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Par Un client le 28 mars 2004
Format: Broché
Merveilleuse pièce de Michael Frayn qui montre les enjeux moraux, politiques et philosophiques en général derrière la conception de la bombe atomique.
Après leur vie sur Terre, Niels Bohr, sa femme et son ancien disciple Werner Heisenber s'interrogent sur les raisons qui poussèrent celui-ci à visiter Bohr à Copenhague en pleine Seconde Guerre Mondiale. Ainsi, le lecteur revit les débats autour de la bombe plongé dans la compréhensible angoisse des personnages, tout en explorant les aspects scientifiques de l'histoire à travers des intéressantes interprétations du principe de l'incertitude d'Heisenberg ou de l'équation de Schrödinger.
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Amazon.com: HASH(0x91783258) étoiles sur 5 62 commentaires
81 internautes sur 82 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x9363181c) étoiles sur 5 Copehagen:Theoretical Physics Packs with Human Drama 27 mars 2000
Par Un client - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
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! Or maybe a lost opportunity for deterring the development of nuclear weapons by either side? In two acts, one is absorbed by the levels of relationship between the characters, the irony of academic brilliance and real life failures, the dilemma of pursuit of scientifc 'truth' and responsibility to humanity. Along with all these heady issues, however, ones gains enough knowledge of nuclear physics to see the parallel in the human drama of these scientists in their personal lives. This play is trully a heady trip that makes one want to slow down the racing of ideas in the dialog by going back to catch the multiple meanings one missed in the first reading. It makes one continue to post "what if's" about the development of nuclear weapon and the possible human histories of our lifetime. I saw the play in London before reading the book, but find the book to be a even more satisfying experience. Don't miss it!
32 internautes sur 32 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x91806b1c) étoiles sur 5 Art + Physics = Luminescent Fission 10 février 2001
Par nkname - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
The basic story of Copenhagen--and the playwright's leap of imagination to create the conversation of the 3 principles--deserves any accolades that can be awarded: what if, within one fateful day, the leading scientist for the German nuclear development team had received the insight he needed to arm the Nazis? The ramifications are so huge, so mind-boggling, that it's all the more important that Frayn chose to shrink the scale of his dialogue, and make this play as much about the dynamics of how humans understand each other as how we, as a race, could possibly comprehend the worldwide impact of nuclear arms. This is play about the moral ramifications of decisions made within the supposedly "ethnical no-man's-land" of scientific discovery.

Other reviewers have talked about the life history of the scientists, so I'll just sketch out more details about the piece itself. First of all, what an important and revelatory decision Frayn made in including the character of Margrethe, Bohr's wife. In his play, she is the intellectual equal of the physicists, wryly commenting about how many versions of each position paper she spent time typing. Her character makes this play unlike so many science-based dramas before it, because she is a woman and an outsider. Her humor, her humanity and her anger towards Heisenberg's for his involvement with the Nazis...all these issues keep the play grounded in real life, make it palpable to modern audiences not necessarily schooled in the fundamentals of atomic theory. It also insures that the play isn't just the typical strutting, cocksure junk that movies like "Dr Strangelove" aptly mock.

I have a serious criticism of the *publication* of this play though: in order to keep it more streamlined (I imagine), they omitted the stage notes for the characters. This is a shame, and makes the reading of it all the more complicated for those who haven't seen the play in person. Having seen it on Broadway, one of the most striking things was the physicality of how this "talky" play was handled. The stage was set in the round, with a small percentage of audience members overlooking the stage as if at a lecture or a medical examination. The stage was completely circular, and the cast members would often take off in spirals, their bodies acting as electrons around the nucleus (most often Margrethe). They would interact, split off in other directions, speed up their rotations. It was a fascinating reenactment of molecular activity, and the dramaturge or editor who approved this edition should be taken to task for this decision. But don't let this dissuade you from picking up "Copenhagen": it's absolute thought-provoking perfection in every other way.
36 internautes sur 37 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x919af030) étoiles sur 5 Read it BEFORE you see the play! 21 avril 2000
Par Un client - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
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....)
26 internautes sur 27 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x91f95260) étoiles sur 5 The play and a fascinating postscript 11 février 2004
Par Dennis Littrell - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
This book contains the text of Michael Frayn's Tony Award-winning play (94 pages), a fascinating 38-page Postscript, and a two-page word sketch of the scientific and historical background to the play.
The play itself is brilliant (see my review of the PBS production directed by Howard Davies, starring Stephen Rea, Daniel Craig, and Francesca Annis available on DVD) and is the kind of play that can be fully appreciated simply by reading it. There are no stage directions, no mention of props or stage business. There is simply Frayn's extraordinary dialogue. A photo from the cover suggests how the play might be staged on a round table with the three characters, Danish physicist Niels Bohr, his wife Margrethe, and German physicist Werner Heisenberg, going slowly round and round as in an atom. This symbolism is intrinsic to the ideas of the play with Bohr seen as the stolid proton at the center and the younger Heisenberg the flighty electron that "circles." Margrethe who brings both common sense and objectivity to the interactions between the ever circling physicists, might be thought of as a neutron, or perhaps she is the photon that illuminates (and deflects ever so slightly) what it touches.
At the center of the play (and at the center of our understanding of the world through quantum mechanics) is a fundamental uncertainty. While Heisenberg and Bohr demonstrated to the world through the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics that there will always be something we cannot in principle know regardless of how fine our measurements, Frayn's play suggests that there will always be some uncertainty about what went on between the two great architects of QM during Heisenberg's celebrated and fateful visit to the Bohr household in occupied Denmark in 1941. There is uncertainty at the heart of not only our historical tools but at the very heart of human memory (as Frayn explains in the Postscript).
"The great challenge facing the storyteller and the historian alike is to get inside people's heads... Even when all the external evidence has been mastered, the only way into the protagonists' heads is through the imagination. This indeed is the substance of the play." (p. 97)
The three characters appear as ghosts of their former selves, as it were, and begin immediately an attempt to unravel and understand what happened in 1941. The central question is Why did Heisenberg come to Copenhagen? Was it an attempt to enlist Bohr in a German atomic bomb project? Was it to get information from Bohr about an Allied project or to pick his brain for ideas on how to make fission work? Or was it, as Margrethe avers, to "show himself off"--the little boy grown up, the man who was once part of a defeated country, now triumphant?
The play leaves it for us to find an answer, because neither history nor the recorded words of the participants give us anything close to certainty. With the conflicting statements of the characters Frayn implies that the truth may be a matter of one's point of view, that is, it may be a question of relativity. Ultimately it may even be that Heisenberg himself did not know why he came to Copenhagen.
Also being asked by Frayn's play is a moral question. Is it right for scientists to build weapons of mass destruction to be used on civilian targets? Heisenberg contends that this is the question he wanted to ask of Bohr. It is ironic that although Heisenberg was condemned by physicists around the world for his (presumed) unsuccessful attempt to build a fission bomb for Hitler, his work killed no one, while the universally beloved and admired Bohr had a hand in the Manhattan project that resulted in the bombs that were dropped on the Japanese cities.
As the electron is seen and then not seen, its speed measured and then not measured, but never both at the same time, so it is with Heisenberg's character in life and in this play. We are never sure where he is. Is he working for the Nazis or is he only pretending to? Is he working on a reactor or is he working on a bomb? Did he delay the German project intentionally (as he claimed), or was the failure due to incompetence, or even--as Frayn suggests--to an unconscious quirk of Heisenberg's mind?
In the Postscript Frayn recalls the historical evidence he used in constructing the play and cites his sources and gives us insights into what Bohr and Heisenberg were like. He quotes Max Born, describing Heisenberg as having an "unbelievable quickness and precision of understanding," while "the most characteristic property" of Bohr, as described by George Gamow, "was the slowness of his thinking and comprehension." One can see where Frayn got his metaphor of the atom with its heavy nucleus and its speedy electron. But Bohr was also thoughtful and thorough while Heisenberg was "careless with numbers." And of course these are relative terms since both men were Nobel Prize-winning physicists, brilliant men who reached the very pinnacle of their profession.
Bottom line: one the great plays of our time on an epochal subject, fascinating and cathartic as all great plays should be.
20 internautes sur 21 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x9212bf18) étoiles sur 5 An unsolved mystery! 27 juillet 2003
Par Palle E T Jorgensen - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
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. The Bohrs viewed it as a hostile visit, and that never changed, even though Bohr never spoke about what was said in 1941; not then and not later. WH had chosen to stay in Germany after the War broke out in 1939. Why? Did, or did he not, work on the bomb for Hitler? While we may never know the answer, the play offers five possible answers, and we must choose for ourselves. The story really begins before 1941 with the foundation of quantum mechanics in the 1920ties. WH's first paper in Z Physik (1925) is a scientific and a historical mile stone, and it is thought to be the beginning of quantum theory. It is from there we have the ubiquitous notion of 'uncertainty' (of simultaneous quantum observations of position and momentum.) The papers of the three giants Heisenberg, Schrodinger, and Dirac in the 1920ties made precise the theory and the variables: states, observables, probabilities, the uncertainty principle, dual variables, and the equations of motion. This was also when the wave-particle question received a more precise mathematical formulation, and resolution. Perhaps best known are the equation of Schrodinger, giving the dynamics of systems of quantum mechanical particles, and Dirac's equation for the electron. All three of the pioneers won the Nobel Prize at a young age;-- Schrodinger was a little older than the other two (Heisenberg and Dirac were both born in 1902.) Many of the young physicists spent time in Copenhagen in the period between the wars, and Bohr was a mentor to them, and to WH he was perhaps even a father figure. Comment: In 1932, John von Neumann who had just settled in the US showed, surprisingly at the time, that Schrodinger's formulation is equivalent to Heisenbergs matrix mechanics, and von Neumann turned quantization into a field of mathematics. After WWII, Heisenberg resumed his work on the theoretical aspects of quantum fields and other areas of mathematical physics, and he was active as a scientific advisor to post war German government officials. He also wrote books of a more philosophical bent. However they do not settle the question from Copenhagen 1941.
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