Segments in this Video

"Copenhagen": Dead and Gone (05:45)


Margrethe and Niels Bohr consider why Werner Heisenberg came to Copenhagen during the war; the world remembers only two things about Heisenberg. Heisenberg reflects on the beginning of modern atomic physics; he invented quantum mechanics while working with Niels in the 1920s. (Credits)

"Copenhagen": September 1941 (04:34)

Heisenberg arrives in Copenhagen; Margrethe and Niels argue about allowing him in their home. Heisenberg's visit to the Institute of Theoretical Physics did not go well. Heisenberg and Niels are under surveillance.

"Copenhagen": Ny Carlsberg (04:27)

Heisenberg walks to the Bohr's house and reflects on how he feels. The Bohrs consider what Heisenberg may want to talk about. Heisenberg arrives and receives a warm greeting from Niels.

"Copenhagen": War Affects Friendship (04:29)

Margrethe and Heisenberg exchange pleasantries. Niels and Heisenberg struggle to communicate. Margrethe begins to feel sorry for Heisenberg.

"Copenhagen": Politics and Physics Clash (04:03)

Heisenberg and Niels discuss the absence of cyclotrons in Germany. Heisenberg asks about mutual friends and suggests that Niels may find congenial company at the German embassy; Niels becomes angry.

"Copenhagen": Rekindling a Friendship (04:33)

Heisenberg and Niels discuss the 1922 lecture festival held in Niels' honor. Niels remembers Heisenberg publicly declaring his mathematics were wrong. By dinner, the men were back on friendly terms and discuss past encounters.

"Copenhagen": Applying Mathematics to People (03:06)

Heisenberg plays the piano and reflects on the Bohrs' ability to communicate with one another. The conversation stops and they reflect on each other is thinking. Heisenberg and Niels decide to go for a walk.

"Copenhagen": Nighttime Stroll (05:01)

Margrethe reflects on Heisenberg and Niels' history of walking together. The men surprise Margrethe with their quick return and Heisenberg's abrupt departure. Many people wonder what Heisenberg said during the walk and what Niels' replied.

"Copenhagen": What did Heisenberg Say? (03:55)

Heisenberg asked Niels if a physicist has the moral right to work on the practical exploitation of atomic energy. Heisenberg states the purpose was for energy production, but recognized it had a weapons potential. The men argue about Heisenberg's position on exploitation and decide to revisit the conversation in plain language.

"Copenhagen": Nuclear Weapons (04:39)

Heisenberg declares that scientists will decide if the weapons are worth the commitment. He becomes agitated thinking about the German government asking for his input and reveals a report about the Americans developing an atomic bomb. Niels says he does not know if there is an Allied nuclear program.

"Copenhagen": Stopping the Bomb (05:34)

The scene returns to the present. Oppenheimer regretted that the atomic bomb was not produced in time for use on Germany. Heisenberg and Niels argue about the use of weapons and Niels' role in nuclear weapon development. Heisenberg discusses defending his reputation the last 30 years of his life.

"Copenhagen": Why Did You Come? (02:59)

Heisenberg defends continuing the nuclear reactor program and stresses it was under his control; Niels argues that nobody had control at that time. Niels asks why Heisenberg came to Copenhagen in 1941.

"Copenhagen": Revisiting the Past (05:01)

The scene returns to 1941 and Heisenberg's arrival at the Bohrs' home; Heisenberg and Niels consider their reactions to each other. The men and Margrethe reflect on three years Niels and Heisenberg worked together. The men argue about perceptions.

"Copenhagen": Uncertainty Theory (03:43)

Heisenberg recalls when he developed the theory; he submitted a paper for publication. Niels and Heisenberg argue about the paper.

"Copenhagen": Chain Reaction (06:05)

Niels and Heisenberg returned humankind to the center with the development of quantum mechanics. Margrethe argues that their heroic story is actually one of confusion, rage, and jealousy and states that Heisenberg came to Copenhagen to "show off."

"Copenhagen": Conflicting Obligations (05:26)

Heisenberg argues that his tactics worked; he was afraid of what could happen and was conscious of being on the winning side. He asks Niels why he did not kill him. Margrethe expresses her frustrations with Heisenberg. Heisenberg reveals he gave Otto Hahn a reasonable account of how the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima worked.

"Copenhagen": Diffusion Calculation (04:24)

Niels questions Heisenberg about his mathematics and calculating critical mass; Heisenberg did not calculate the figure for uranium 235. Heisenberg asks Niels why he did not calculate the figure. The men decide to revisit Heisenberg's 1941 visit one more time to understand why he came to Copenhagen.

"Copenhagen": Final Draft (02:52)

Heisenberg arrives at the Bohrs' home; he understood why he was there until he saw Niels. Heisenberg and Niels reflect on their perceptions during the encounter.

"Copenhagen": Great Collision (03:28)

Heisenberg and Niels walk in the woods and Heisenberg asks about working on atomic energy. The men reflect on their perceptions and behaviors and consider what would have happened had Niels not hurried away.

"Copenhagen": Act of Friendship (04:55)

Heisenberg wanted Niels to understand him, even when he did not understand himself. Niels reflects on the Jews' escape from the Nazis in Denmark and thanks Heisenberg for keeping the Germans from taking control of the Institute of Theoretical Physics. Heisenberg and the Bohrs reflect on life and death.

Credits: Copenhagen, by Michael Frayn (00:57)

Credits: Copenhagen, by Michael Frayn

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Copenhagen, by Michael Frayn

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An adaptation of the popular Michael Frayn stage-play based around a strange trip the German physicist Werner Heisenberg made to Copenhagen in 1941 to see his Danish counterpart Niels Bohr. Old friends and close colleagues, they had revolutionized atomic physics in the 1920s with their work together. 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. In Frayn's play, Heisenberg meets Bohr and his wife Margrethe once again to look for the answers and to work out how we can ever know why we do what we do.

Length: 91 minutes

Item#: BVL128838

ISBN: 978-1-64023-726-1

Copyright date: ©2002

Closed Captioned

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