People: Feb. 18, 2002

ATOMIC BOMBSHELL

The mysteries of quantum physics are rarely understood, much less contemplated, by nonscientists. But uncovering the exact nature of a 1941 meeting between physicists NIELS BOHR, top, and WERNER HEISENBERG is a challenge that has enthralled many theatergoers, thanks to the Tony Award-winning play Copenhagen. Michael Frayn's drama imagines what might have happened at the meeting in occupied Denmark between Heisenberg, chief of Hitler's atom-bomb program, and Bohr, his Jewish mentor. Did Heisenberg, postulator of the uncertainty principle, attempt to extract information from Bohr? Or did he use the meeting to confess his anguish over helping Hitler? The...

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