- The Washington Times - Monday, March 4, 2002

The meeting between physicists Niels Bohr and Werner Heisenberg in Copenhagen in 1941 when the two men were on opposites sides in World War II was a curious thing. The Tony Award-winning drama, "Copenhagen," now at the Kennedy Center, turns on disagreement about what might have been discussed by the two men, both of whom were involved in experiments that led to development of the atom bomb.
Equally curious, then, was the meeting of sorts between two descendants of the famous scientists at a reception Friday in the residence of Danish Ambassador Ulrik Federspiel and their reactions to the play by British writer Michael Frayn. The two participated in a Smithsonian Institution symposium Saturday titled "The Copenhagen Interpretation: Science and History on Stage."
They had no ambivalence, however, about what they might have learned from the play that, in this touring version, stars Len Cariou, Hank Stratton and Mariette Hartley .
Jochen Heisenberg, 63, son of the late Mr. Heisenberg and a physics professor at the University of New Hampshire, stated strongly that "You can't try in a play to reproduce real people. There are many differences between how Heisenberg is presented and how the real person is. He was a rational person, not outwardly emotional. His emotions came through when he played music. That last part when his long monologue regrets the destruction of his country my father would never have done something like that."
Vilhelm Bohr , 51, a life sciences researcher at the National Institutes of Health and grandson of the late Niels Bohr, had a different interpretation entirely, calling the play "a wonderful piece of drama, very exciting" and agreeing that "some of the character [of my grandfather] comes through. In many ways it is accurate about my grandfather's personality."
The actors drank water hungrily during the meet-and-greet event that took place just before another demanding performance that has them onstage for most of two hours and 20 minutes. Miss Hartley, who acts the part of Niels Bohr's wife, said that "every night I'm literally on my knees just channeling Margrethe Bohr. I am so in love with her."
Ann Geracimos


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