‘I’m your enemy; I’m also your friend. I’m a danger to mankind; I’m also your guest. I’m a particle; I’m also a wave.’
In the first production from the School of Natural and Mathematical Sciences at King’s College London, memory, guilt and nuclear physics are thrown together in an explosive play about the uncertain nature of the universe – and of our own minds.
1924: Two physicists, Niels Bohr and his soon-to-be protégé Wernher Heisenberg, come together at a conference. They go on to lay the groundwork for a second Enlightenment, the foundation of modern physics.
1941: With Copenhagen under German occupation, Heisenberg – now chief scientist on the Nazi atomic research programme – visits his old friend Bohr, and Bohr’s wife Margrethe. What was said remains unknown, but the conversation ended the closest friendship in physics and nobody, not even those who were present, has ever been able to answer the question: Why did Heisenberg come to Copenhagen?
In an afterlife where the three characters can move freely through their pasts, Michael Frayn’s play delves into that question, and in doing so explores collaboration and complicity, self-knowledge and self-deception, and how we distort our own motives and memories.
Who is to blame for the atomic bomb – for bringing a beleaguered world to the precipice of annihilation?
What is right in times of war, when your life, the lives of your loved ones, hang in the balance?
How can ever know with certainty why we do what we do?
In a compelling and intense production, the play will be performed on Friday 14 March, Saturday 15 March, and Sunday 16 March, each evening at 19.30pm. The performance venue will be the Old Anatomy Museum, King’s Building, on the Strand Campus of King’s College London. A map and details of how to reach King’s are here.
For entry to the building, you will need to purchase tickets in advance. Tickets can be purchased from Eventbrite, here. Prices are:
- General Admission: £8
- Concessions: £5
Copenhagen is a play by Michael Frayn. The production is performed by Ria Abbott, Fred Fullerton, and Thomas Marsh. This production is led by Alister MacQuarrie (Director), Aja Garrod (Producer), and William Nash (Managing Producer). Financial support has been gratefully received from the King’s College London Alumni & Supporter Relations Office, through the Student Opportunity Fund, funded by the generosity of Alumni donations. Financial and administrative support from the School of Natural and Mathematical Sciences, the Department of Informatics and the Department of Physics are also gratefully acknowledged. Administrative and technical support has also been given by King’s Cultural Institute. The crew and cast also acknowledge the assistance of Samuel French Ltd, in obtaining performance rights for the play.
The KCL Tech Society is running another in its very popular series of student-led learning sessions tonight, Teach Me X. This session will be led by James Bellamy and is on mobile app development using iOS. The session is at 6-7 pm tonight, Monday 19 February, in room K3.11 at the Strand campus of KCL. Details from the Facebook page.
The Department of Informatics at King’s College London is proud to support this event through the provision of free pizza – since whoever heard of anyone coding without access to pizza!
Intense rehearsals are underway for performances of Michael Frayn’s celebrated play, Copenhagen, by students at King’s College London. The play concerns a famous meeting between atomic physicists Werner Heisenberg and Niels Bohr in Copenhagen during World War II, and deals with topics such as quantum physics, the nature of memory, and the responsibility of nuclear scientists for the atom bomb. This production is an initiative of three King’s students, William Nash (Producer), Alister MacQuarrie (Director) and Aja Garrod-Prance (Producer). They held open auditions last November for the parts and after auditions and call-backs selected three students for the play: Ria Abbott, Fred Fullerton and Thomas Marsh. Rehearsals began when term resumed last month.
The performances of the play will be on the evenings of Friday 14, Saturday 15, and Sunday 16 March 2014, in the Old Anatomy Museum of King’s Building at King’s College London, on Strand. A panel discussion about the historic and scientific issues raised by the play will be held around the same time as these performances, with speakers from the Physics Department and the Department of War Studies. Members of the public are very welcome to attend the performances and the panel discussion.
This production is proudly supported by the School of Natural and Mathematical Sciences, and the Departments of Physics and Informatics at King’s College London.
In the meantime, if you would like to see some very professional theatre from the talented people at King’s, hot-foot it to the Greenwood Theatre on Guys’ Campus of King’s this week, where William Nash is directing a production of Romeo and Juliet. (Wednesday 5, Thursday 6, and Friday 7 February 2014, at 7.45 pm). People who have managed to sneak past the tight security into rehearsals tell me that the production is funny, exciting, and very definitely noir.
The King’s College London Tech Society is a new student-led society for people interested in technology. They are organizing the first 24-hour Hackathon at a London university, for Saturday-Sunday 22-23 February 2014, and this will be the largest student-run hackathon in Britain. Already major sponsors such as Facebook and CodeAcademy are offering prizes for participants.
To prepare participants, the Tech Society is also running Teach-Me-X sessions, Monday evening lectures on relevant skills. The first session was last Monday 27 January on Ruby-on-Rails, led by Tech Society co-founder, Niklas Begley. As good programmers know, the quality of the code depends crucially on the quantity of pizza available. So the Department of Informatics at KCL was delighted to support this initiative by providing pizza for the session!
Mischa Dohler, who was appointed as Professor in Wireless Communications in the Department of Informatics in 2013, is already making a splash in London, with a forthcoming speaking appearance at TEDxLondon’s CITY 2.0 event on 6 December 2013. Having come from the Centre Tecnològic de Telecomunicacions de Catalunya (CTTC) in Barcelona, a technology centre in telecommunications where he was Director of Research, and on the Board of Directors of Worldsensing, which he cofounded, he is well qualified to discuss some of the most important issues of urban data (big data, open data and privacy), urban manufacturing, and the urban citizen. In his talk “Smart Cities – The Untold Story”, Mischa will challenge some common views around the recent hype of smart cities, and outline some viable steps to address the challenges and misconceptions to facilitate the emergence of truly smart cities.
In preparation for the talk, Mischa has been doing some background research, as I discovered while running down the road to grab a sandwich for lunch. Here he is, acting as a “chugger” on the Strand, trying to grab passers by for interviews. Armed with a camera in the background to record and film interviews, when I found him Mischa was beginning to understand the challenges faced by the charity muggers one normally encounters on this stretch of the pavement. He had only had one successful interview in about 4oo people. But it’s still only lunchtime!
TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. Started as a four-day conference in California 25 years ago, TED has since grown to support those world-changing ideas with multiple initiatives. The annual TED Conference invites the world’s leading thinkers and doers to speak for 18 minutes. Their talks are then made available, free, at TED.com. TEDx is a program of local, self organised events that bring people together. TEDxLondon is the leading UK arm of TEDx, having hosted high profile events in partnership with the Skoll Foundation, The Gates Foundation and The Science Museum. Tickets to attend the event are available on the event website.
What is needed to verify cloud services? How do we know whether the service we are using works as expected?
These questions are discussed in the recent article “Verifying cloud services: present and future”, by Sara Bouchenak, Gregory Chockler, Hana Chockler, Gabriela Gheorghe, Nuno Santos, and Alexander Shraer, published in the highly visible Operating Systems Review (OSR) journal (Hana Chockler is a Lecturer in the Department of Informatics of King’s College).
The team of experts addresses the challenges in verification of cloud services – from functional correctness to service availability and reliability, to performance and security guarantees. As cloud-based services become more and more popular, there is a real and growing need in tools for verifying these services. As the authors of the article argue, currently there is no adequate technology for verification of the cloud. They discuss recent research results that can help in bridging the gaps between what is needed and what currently exists in this area and suggest novel solutions.
The article, as it turns out, strikes a chord with the cloud users and service providers. It recently featured in ZDNet (http://www.zdnet.com/do-you-believe-in-cloud-7000020607/ ), Forbes (http://www.forbes.com/sites/joemckendrick/2013/09/17/cloud-customers-are-not-getting-what-they-pay-for-study-says/), CloudTech ( http://www.cloudcomputing-news.net/news/2013/sep/18/new-paper-questions-whether-cloud-consumers-get-what-they-pay/ ), StorageMojo (http://storagemojo.com/2013/09/05/verifying-cloud-services/ ), and, most recently, BCloudReady.com (http://www.bcloudready.com/cloud-buyers-beware-make-sure-youre-getting-what-you-pay-for/ ), starting interesting and lively discussions about availability and reliability of a cloud.
“Do you believe in cloud?” – asks ZDNet, listing specific areas, where, according to the OSR article, more tools and information are needed:
- trusted software and service identity;
- functional correctness;
- performance and dependability;
The Forbes blog entry starts with an eye-catching title “Cloud Customers Are Not Getting What They Pay For”, summarizing the takeaway from the article as “Cloud customers expect a certain level of service when they sign on to agreements. But a lot of the time, cloud services aren’t delivered as expected, and there isn’t even a way to verify that cloud services are performing as they should.”
“This paper is sobering because it shows how primitive current tools for verifying cloud services are – if they exist at all” – says StorageMojo, adding: “It isn’t even clear that cloud providers themselves have the tools to know the answers to questions that corporate users should and will have.”
BCloudReady .com recommends reading the full article: “… wading through the 14 page no nonsense report is worth the read. Compiled with contributions from six of the leading cloud experts worldwide it covers everything from verifying a strong service identity to protecting yourself from a “Byzantine Provider”. Well written and clear in both its methodology and conclusions it can serve as an excellent basis for evaluating your current cloud service provider(s) or as a guide to developing your strategy for utilizing cloud services.”
For more information, see “Verifying cloud services: present and future “, by Sara Bouchenak, Gregory Chockler, Hana Chockler, Gabriela Gheorghe, Nuno Santos, and Alexander Shraer. Operating Systems Review, 47(2):6-19 (2013).