Big Idea

ETOPiA: Engineering Transdisciplinary Outreach Project in the Arts put on a production of Michael Frayn's 1998 Tony Award-winning play Copenhagen.

Matthew Grayson“Why did he come to Copenhagen?” Margrethe Bohr’s question rings at the heart of Michael Frayn’s 1998 Tony Award-winning play Copenhagen. No one disputes that German nuclear physicist Werner Heisenberg visited Bohr’s husband Niels on a September night in the middle of World War II. But why he visited or what the two physicists discussed has been a source of controversy ever since.

This past April, three actors—including Northwestern Engineering professor Matthew Grayson—explored that mysterious conversation in a production of Copenhagen to mark the tenth anniversary of ETOPiA: Engineering Transdisciplinary Outreach Project in the Arts. Founded by Grayson, ETOPiA seeks to inspire cross-disciplinary dialogue about the role of science and technology in society.

ETOPiA also produced Copenhagen in 2008 as its inaugural offering. “We wanted to celebrate ETOPiA’s tenth anniversary with something special, and this play is near and dear to our hearts,” says Grayson, who reprised the role of Heisenberg, which he played in the 2008 production. “It’s smart science and smart playwriting.”