Talking Bohr and the Bomb in Copenhagen

In the famous lecture of the Niels Bohr Institute, Graham gave a talk on 4th June about Winston Churchill, his nuclear scientists and the Bomb. Chaired by Finn Aaserud, director the Niels Bohr Archive, the talk was attended by many of the physicists at the Niels Bohr International Academy, including Jacob Bourjaily, who invited Graham to Copenhagen. During the visit, Graham talked at length with Jacob, especially about scattering amplitudes in quantum field theory, one of the most exciting areas of modern theoretical physics. This will be the subject of one of the final chapters of Graham’s next book, which he will begin to write next week.


Nyhavn, Copenhagen


On 8 June, Graham attended an open seminar for the Niels Bohr Archive, featuring themes relating to the plans for developing the archive in the coming years. The seminar, which consisted of several short talks on the theme of ‘Inner dynamics of creative environments’, was attended by several leading historians of science, including John Heilbron and Helge Kragh, Dirac’s first biographer. In the evening, there was a lavish dinner at Copenhagen, where Graham strongly supported the project to develop Bohr’s archive. In his after-dinner speech, Graham said: ‘The present tends to condescend to the past, and there are worrying signs that Niels Bohr is undervalued by some of his most distinguished successors’. They should bear in mind Heisenberg’s comment that the great Dane was probably the most influential physicist of the twentieth century, and that Dirac called him ‘probably the deepest thinker I’ve ever met.’


Graham at NBI
Leading Bohr scholar Finn Aaserud moderating questions from the audience after Graham’s talk in the Institute’s famous lecture theatre

Karin Tybjerg
Associate professor Karin Tyberg talking at the seminar ‘Inner Dynamics of Creative Environments’

Helge Kragh
Professor Helge Kragh

Jacob Bourjaily
Jacob Bourjaily, a leading scattering-amplitudes theorist