"Why are you so confident that it's going to be so reassuringly difficult to build a bomb with [Uranium] 235?" asks Bohr. "Is it because you've done the calculation?"
Dimon (left), Oden, and McPhillamy: Only the desire to find the truth feels genuine.
Copenhagen, written by Michael Frayn; directed by J. Barry Lewis. With Christopher Oden, Colin McPhillamy, and Elizabeth Dimon. Through January 31 at Palm Beach Dramaworks, 322 Banyan Blvd., West Palm Beach. 561-514-4042; click here.
"Of the diffusion in 235," Bohr says plainly. Then it dawns on him: His friend's been scientifically stuck precisely "because you haven't calculated it..."
Heisenberg suddenly realizes: "And of course now I have realized. In fact, it wouldn't be all that difficult!" Then he talks to himself excitedly, back on his walk with Bohr. "Let's see... the scattering cross-section's about six by ten to the negative 24th..." And thus Hitler's Germans might have beaten the Americans to the atomic bomb.
Bohr, addressing the audience, speaks over Heisenberg: "And suddenly a very different and very terrible new world begins to take shape..." Then the theater fills with light and thunder.