Gordon Baym, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
The Uncertainty Principals: Bohr and Heisenberg from Copenhagen to "Copenhagen"
Physics Division Colloquium - 16 Feb 2007

On September 17, 1941, early in World War II, Niels Bohr, the father of the quantum theory, and his protégé Werner Heisenberg, discoverer of the uncertainty principle, spent a fateful evening at Bohr's residence in Copenhagen. Heisenberg's revelation to Bohr then that he was working on an atomic bomb was an important clue to the WWII German bomb project. The reconstruction of this meeting would become the subject of Michael Frayn's play "Copenhagen." Drawing on documents and recollections, including letters made available after the writing of the Frayn play, this talk will put the events of the meeting and its aftermath in historical perspective, as well as provide background on the science and the intertwined lives of the principals.

ANL Physics Division Colloquium Schedule