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Copenhagen Historical Sciences - Essay Example

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May sound anachronistic, but the various disciplines of human endeavour and enquiry do still suffer from a pompous sense of isolation and a pathetic lack of interdisciplinary approach that is stalling the unbridled progress of the entire humanity. To the much touted literary eggheads of today seeped in the established canons of art and creativity, it may seem absurd and unbelievable that the moral, ideological, philosophical and political issues associated with the intricacies and nuances of subatomic science could become the raw material for an intense and gripping drama…
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Copenhagen Historical Sciences

Download file to see previous pages... 'Copenhagen' draws its inspiration form a much famous or we may say notorious historical incident that involves a meeting between the two patriarchs of quantum mechanics that is the Danish physicist Niels Bohr and his German protg Werner Heisenberg in 1941. Since then, this meeting had been a topic of intense debate, conjectures and surmises amongst the historians and scientists. Infact the recently released letters drafted by Niels Bohr have only added to the confusion and controversy associated with that brief collision of the two scientific luminaries at that momentous point of time. The incident in the play alludes to a critical period during the II World War when Denmark was invaded by the Nazis and was being retained as a protectorate state. Niels Bohr was a distinguished and immensely respected physicist of the times who decided to stay back in Copenhagen and was infact allowed by the Germans to continue to act as the director of the Institute of Theoretical Physics despite his Jewish origins. Werner Heisenberg, who was a German, came under the tutelage of Niels Bohr at more salubrious times in the mid 20s when he accepted a lectureship at the Institute. This lead to a series of ground breaking collaborations between the tow geniuses, that laid the foundations of the much famous Copenhagen interpretation. In March 1927, Heisenberg came out with his uncertainty principle that stated that it was impossible to determine the velocity and the exact position of a subatomic particle at the same time. Following this amazing revelation, Bohr enunciated his complimentarity principle in September 1927 that emphasized the dual nature of matter at the subatomic level and highlighted the simultaneous wavelike and particle like properties of matter. It is not a hidden secret that both the scientist parted ways and abandoned their friendly ties owing to the unpropitious political unfolding of the future that accentuated their ideological differences. Bohr being a half Jew was strongly averse to the tragic possibility of the Germans getting an atomic weapon while Heisenberg though not being an outright Nazi, was a self professed patriot who choose to support his nation in its scientific endeavors in those trying times. Both the scientists being aware of the possibilities inherent in the splitting of atom were not oblivious to its military implications. In 1941, Heisenberg came to see Bohr in the German occupied Copenhagen. What transpired between the two scientists in that short meeting is still an enigma. Whether Heisenberg wanted to eke out the details of the allied nuclear program from Bohr or whether he intended to solicit his support in preventing the development of A-bomb by both the sides is still open to conjectures. Frayn uses this incident as a literary context for his play and goes on to build an intense and enticing ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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