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ERIC Number: EJ1012187
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013-Feb
Pages: 5
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 19
ISSN: ISSN-0021-9584
What's "Copenhagen" Got to Do with Chemistry Class? Using a Play to Teach the History and Practice of Science
Spillane, Nancy K.
Journal of Chemical Education, v90 n2 p219-223 Feb 2013
Through the reading, study, and performance of "Copenhagen", a play by Michael Frayn, chemistry students see the application of nuclear chemistry content, acquire a better understanding of the continuum from scientific research to technology design, and also become aware of the many and varied interrelationships of science with history and humanity. This article describes a method to use the play in a high school chemistry classroom as a vehicle for cross-disciplinary integration of chemistry content through the context of history and the development of scientists as people. Students experience the lives of two scientists, Niels Bohr and Werner Heisenberg, as they negotiate their academic and personal relationships surrounding basic atomic research during the historical time period surrounding World War II and the creation of the atom bomb. In student group discussions, tangents of discourse move from the various scientists' personalities and the iterative nature of scientific research, to questions of politics, ethics, and morality in a historic context as they discuss, debate, and decide upon ways to present the play so their peers will understand and appreciate the experience. (Contains 1 table and 1 box.)
Division of Chemical Education, Inc and ACS Publications Division of the American Chemical Society. 1155 Sixteenth Street NW, Washington, DC 20036. Tel: 800-227-5558; Tel: 202-872-4600; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: High Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A