Bohr-Heisenberg Papers

Recently Released Papers on the Bohr-Heisenberg Meeting in Copenhagen in September 1941

Dr. Finn Aaserud,

Director of the Niels Bohr Archive, Copenhagen, Denmark

Friday, March 8, 2002, 5:00 PM Skylight Room
Graduate Center, 365 Fifth Avenue (corner of Fifth and 34th Street)

Michael Frayn’s Tony Award winning play Copenhagen reenacts the 1941 visit of Werner Heisenberg, who was then in charge of the Nazi nuclear program, to Niels Bohr, his mentor and collaborator in creating quantum mechanics, complementarity, and the uncertainty principle, in German – occupied Denmark. As a result of the wide interest generated by the play, the family of Niels Bohr decided to release the documents pertaining specifically to the September 1941 meeting between Bohr and Heisenberg. All eleven documents released are at the Niels Bohr Archive, and were either written or dictated by Niels Bohr. One can view the original documents on the web site in facsimile, as well as obtain Danish transcriptions and English translations. In this talk we will review the history of the Bohr-Heisenberg meeting and its relevance to the atomic bomb projects in Germany and the United States.

Finn Aaserud obtained his Ph.D. degrees in Physics from the University of Oslo (1976) and in the History of Science from Johns Hopkins University (1984). Finn Aaserud served as Associate Historian at the Center for History of Physics of the American Institute of Physics from 1985 to1989. Since 1989 he has been Director of the Niels Bohr Archive in Copenhagen. His main interest is in the interaction of physics and its social and political environment in the twentieth century. His current research deals with the public affairs views and activities of Niels Bohr. An illustrated edition of the transcriptions and translations on the released documents is published in the journal Naturens Verden, Vol. 84,

No. 8 – 9. Reprints can be obtained from the Niels Bohr Archive for USD8/EUR8/DKK50 (prepaid).

Presented by the Science Center and the Center for Humanities
For further information contact: Brian Schwartz, (212) 817-7521