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The Physicists

4.03  ·  Rating Details ·  10,350 Ratings  ·  225 Reviews
The Physicists is a provocative and darkly comic satire about life in modern times, by one of Europe's foremost dramatists and author of the internationally celebrated The Visit.

The setting: a madhouse. The principal characters: three male patients, all nuclear physicists. One, Herbert George Bentler, believes he is Newton; a second, Ernst Ernesti, thinks he is Einstein. B
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Published 1964 by Random House~trade (first published 1961)
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Warwick
Oct 27, 2013 Warwick rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Manny

The fact is, there's nothing more scandalous than a miracle in the realm of science.



Three of history's greatest physicists meet in a drawing-room: Newton, Einstein and Möbius. Newton has a bottle of cognac hidden in the fireplace. Einstein has just strangled a woman to death. And Möbius is being visited by the ghost of King Solomon, who is telling him the secrets of a Unified Field Theory.

Except the drawing-room belongs to a Swiss insane asylum, and the three men are patients.

What follows is a
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Vilda
Rating: 3,5 stars

Well, this was interesting! Very different, quite thought-provoking, and definitely interesting.
Pixelflocke
Wir haben "Die Physiker" damals im Deutschunterricht lang und breit diskutiert. Ich habe das Stück damals schon geliebt und werde es wohl immer wieder mit Vergnügen lesen.
Laura
From BBC Radio 3 - Drama on 3:
Samantha Bond stars as a psychiatrist in this classic European farce by Friedrich Dürrenmatt about three theoretical physicists who believe they are Einstein, Newton and Möbius. They are locked in a lunatic asylum and each gets tangled in vicious murders. Amidst all the jokes is a real relationship between a scientist who may or may not be mad and his nurse who wants to save him. The Physicists was first performed in 1962 at the height of the Cold War.

The serious su
...more
Bastet
Aug 25, 2014 Bastet rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Debo el descubrimiento de esta pieza teatral del gran Friedrich Dürrenmatt a un ensayo sobre los científicos en la Alemania del Tercer Reich que he leído este verano. El argumento es sencillo: tres físicos nucleares están encerrados en un manicomio y cada uno de ellos asesina a la enfermera que le atiende. Los motivos que les llevan a cometer esos asesinatos no se desvelan hasta el desenlace del segundo acto, en el que la directora del sanatorio hará unas revelaciones que dejarán estupefactos a ...more
Lea
Dec 30, 2011 Lea rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've read this book in school, not expecting much of it - but i was totally surprised.

The story of "die Physiker" deals with three physicists, who live in a sanatorium for the mentally ill. One of them did a groundbreaking discovery, who could influence the whole world... "Die Physiker" is a play, which teaches us a lesson about the responsibility of science.

One negative point I just have to mention, is that i am really not a fan of reading(!) plays. You read them with such a emotionless thought
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Ahmad Sharabiani
نمایشنامه فیزیکدانها (1962) یک کمدی تراژدی مبالغه آمیز است. در تالار یک ویلا که در زمان وقوع ماجرا خلوت است، تنها سه بیمار نگهداری میشوند، که تصادفا هر سه فیزیکدان هستند. البته نه کاملا تصادفی، آدمیزاد همیشه قوانین انسان دوستی را در نظر میگیرد و چیزهای «هم» نوع را کنار هم قرار میدهد و ... ا.ش

Die Physiker; eine Komodie in zwei Akten, c 1966, Friedrich Dürrenmatt
Characters: Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein, Johann Wilhelm Möbius, Herbert Georg Beutler, Ernst Heinrich Ernesti, Mathilde von Zahnd, Rich
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Lina
21 points about Dürrenmatt:

1.
Dürrenmatt was a genius.

2.
Dürrenmatt was absolutely nuts.

3.
This is nuts.

4.
This is genius.

5.
I don't think I'll ever get this.

6.
No one can ever get Dürrenmatt.

7.
My name is Kepler.

8.
No, wait, I'm Marie Curie.

9.
But I know I am Kepler!

10.
I know even more that I am Marie Curie!

11.
I must be Marie Curie.

12.
Correction: I am James Bond.

13.
Fuck, I'm nuts.

14.
Fuck, this is nuts.

15.
Fuck, I need to read more of Dürrenmatt.

16.
42.

17.
I am still Kepler.

18.
I am also Marie Curie.

19.
I am
...more
Ali
Apr 29, 2007 Ali rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: plays
Who is ill? The lunatic inhabitants or the head of hospital?
یکی از کارهای برجسته ی دورنمات است. تیمارستانی که دیوانگانش همه دانشمند و فیزیکدان و ... هستند و خود را به دیوانگی زده اند تا از شر کشفیات و اختراعات خود و خطر آن برای بشریت، در امان بمانند. رییس تیمارستان، خانم دکتری معیوب است که اتفاقن تنها بیمار روانی این تیمارستان است. این اوست که شادمانه نتیجه ی کشفیات این دانشمندان را می دزدد و به نام خود در جهان می پراکند و افتخاراتی را که فیزیکدان ها از ان در هراس اند، با کمال میل برای خود می خر
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Nadja A.
Nov 23, 2014 Nadja A. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: plays, 1946-1969, swiss
Wie immer vermag Herr Dürrenmatt die Gesellschaftskritik schön zu "verpacken", diesmal in einem gelungenem Kombi von Kriminalfall, Drama und Komödie.
Moriartyandherbooks
This was extremely clever! The plot twists were awesome, and I was NOT expecting any of them! Good, and crazy, fun!
Vasha7
May 28, 2011 Vasha7 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This 1962 play is part of the wave of pessimism that followed the invention of the atomic bomb, one of the rare occasions in history that the total extinction of humanity has seemed like a real possibility. On the one hand, some thinkers stressed the essential warlike nature of humanity, as in Robert Ardrey's popular books about human origins as the metaphorical "children of Cain" or the famous opening sequence of 2001. On the other hand, writers like Dürrenmatt put the blame on scientific and t ...more
Standback
Apr 22, 2013 Standback rated it liked it
Shelves: dark, humor, bizarre, play, soapbox
Absolutely terrific first act, which portrays three men in an asylum, each claiming to be a brilliant physicist. It's both hilarious and macabre, as each physicist somehow winds up murdering a fawning orderly.

The second act, though, is something else entirely. Where the first act was macabre and absurd, the second seems intent on providing detailed explanations (which sends the delicious oddity out the window), and tailspins into a diatribe against modern technology (particularly, but not exclu
...more
Jill
Nov 22, 2015 Jill rated it liked it
Recommended to Jill by: Brandon Wicke
Our genius is not our own. Everything we say aloud, to an audience, is subject to interpretation, to future context, to the possibility of contributing to something we never intended. Writers or scientists, words are dangerous.

Sharply and smartly, this play explores that idea, coupling it with the unreliability of madness. Do the ideas stand alone; do we have any ultimate control -- not only over what's done with what we say, but over ourselves, proper?

Intellectual as it is, this is no closet dr
...more
Victoria
Apr 24, 2015 Victoria rated it it was amazing
Shelves: plays
riveting - and fairly short (76 pages) - discussion on the importance and danger of knowledge. really liked one bit where the cycle had come full circle and the "physicists", at the pinnacle of human knowledge as far as they knew, compared themselves to animals in their ability to destroy the world.
André
Dec 03, 2007 André rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: school
We had to read this book in school, and it's actually one of the few books that I really, really, really liked. I read it in a single day, because it was so thrilling and totally not like the usual books one has to read for school. And I don't think it's just because it's about Physicists. ;)
Goddess
Jun 06, 2012 Goddess rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Das ist das erste Buch, was wir im Unterricht lesen mussten, was mir wirklich gefallen hat!
Auch jetzt noch, lese ich es gerne und setzte mich mit meiner besten Freundin hin und spreche die Rollen! Es macht wirklich Spaß :)
Ross
Apr 25, 2008 Ross rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Absolutely brilliant! I'm going to read it again tonight. "And to think for this I had to strangle a nurse and learn German!"
Anne Bücherwelt
Das Cover:

Das Cover ist typisch für den Verlag, was ich nicht weiter schlimm finde. Man erkennt ein Bild mit einer jungen Frau. Diese hat Schuhe und ein Kleid mit Punkten an. Zudem gibt es eine grüne Kugel. Der Hintergrund ist schwarz-orange. Unter dem Bild ist der Titel und der Name des Autoren geschrieben.


Meine Meinung:

Die Handlung war ein Komödie. Man erkennt nicht direkt auf den ersten Blick was geschieht. Erst nach einer Weile erkennt man die eigentliche Handlung. Der Schluss war sehr über
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Rumnur
Feb 05, 2017 Rumnur rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Das angenehmste Buch, welches ich im Deutsch Unterricht lesen musste.
Das Buch ist relativ spannend gehalten und nimmt eine unerwartete Wendung an.
4/5 ⭐
...more
Rochelle
The Physicists by Friedrich Durrenmatt Reading Notes 1/09

Setting: The drama is set in a decaying villa that is part of a modern sanitarium in a small town in Germany. The author spends many words with exacting details of his setting including the color—white –of the furniture, the washable, glossy walls, and the fact that there is a prison nearby. He is attempting to adhere to the Aristotelian unities of time place and action.
If I were to produce this play, I would have to closely examine the s
...more
Meghan Barrett
Jul 06, 2016 Meghan Barrett rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read the review here: meghan-barrett.com

I first reviewed this play for National Book Review Month, an awesome brainchild of SUNY Geneseo, and have expanded upon that review here. The edition of The Physicists that I read was translated by James Kirkup.

Friedrich Durrenmatt’s The Physicists is a delightful and sometimes silly play filled with intrigue, science, and murder, all leading up to an incredible plot twist that will leave your heart hammering and head swimming from the page-turning, gut-w
...more
Bettie☯
Jan 20, 2013 Bettie☯ rated it liked it

9780394172460

Blurb: Samantha Bond stars as a psychiatrist in this classic European farce by Friedrich Dürrenmatt about three theoretical physicists who believe they are Einstein, Newton and Möbius. They are locked in a lunatic asylum and each gets tangled in vicious murders. Amidst all the jokes is a real relationship between a scientist who may or may not be mad and his nurse who wants to save him. The Physicists was first performed in 1962 at the height of the Cold War.

The serious subject behi
...more
Brian
Jan 17, 2009 Brian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009, drama, switzerland, 1960s
Three physicists are locked away in a sanatarium run by the the world-renowned psychiatrist Mathilde van Zahndt, and the body count is rising. Inmates believing themselves to be Albert Einstein and Sir Isaac Newton have each already killed a nurse, and as the first scene closes Johann Wilhelm Mobius kills a nurse (on the orders of King Solomon)who professes her love to him and wants to establish a new life away from the sanatarium. But in the second scene, it is revealed that all is not as it se ...more
Johannes
Aug 27, 2015 Johannes rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Absurd ist wohl das treffendste Wort für dieses Buch (diese Komödie).
Es ist zwar selten komisch und hat allgemein recht wenig amüsantes an sich, aber trotzdem bringt es den Leser ob seiner absurden Gedankengänge und doch durchaus logischen Folgerichtigkeit hin und wieder zum schmunzeln.
Es ist schnell gelesen, jedoch inhaltlich nicht zu unterschätzen!
Es werden im Grunde viele wichtige Themen angesprochen, wie ganz vordergründig die Ausbeutung der Wissenschaft für politische/militärische Zwecke
...more
Vrixton Phillips
That which once has been thought cannot be un-thought.

A short, mildly entertaining, mildly thoughtful [on first read, at least] little play in 2 acts that is basically about scientific ethics in the wake of the Atom Bomb.

Fun as it was, I couldn't help but feel that it was kind of Gambit Pileup-y {god bless TVTropes} towards the end. Far too much going on to take it seriously, but not quite enough to make me laugh even in a dark-humored way...

I might reread it some day, but it won't be soon.
David Schaafsma
Sep 10, 2012 David Schaafsma rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: plays
This is powerful, always contemporary. I was in a production of it at Calvin College in Fall of 1975, with the amazing Thomas Bloom as the The Physicist. I was a Freshman, first play on the big stage, and was the Second Policeman, I think, no lines, just stand on stage for twenty minutes talking to Tim Talen... I was overwhelmed by the play, the production, moved to tears every night. I thought this was an important message to the world, I thought theater was a terrific vehicle for saying it. St ...more
pingwingTV
Nov 19, 2016 pingwingTV rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2016
Endlich wieder das Wissen um "Die Physiker" aufgefrischt.
Was wird erfunden, wofür wird es eingesetzt?

Anhang: 21 Punkte zu den "Physikern":
Punkt 16: "Der Inhalt der Physik geht die Physiker an, die Auswirkung alle Menschen."
(Dürrenmatt, Friedrich: Die Physiker; Zürich: Diogenes Verlag; 1998; Seite 92)

Geschrieben wurde das Werk 1961, uraufgeführt 1962 im Schauspielhaus Zürich.
Twig
Aug 17, 2015 Twig rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Again a fantastic classic a haven`t read before.Im so happy right know about this present and I totally can understand why my friend loved this book so much. I read it in one sitting because it was so fascinating. ...more
Carey Combe
A rather too simplistic message - the responsibilities of scientists and their inventions (but as it was written at the height of the cold war, not surprising), written in an original way with some great and memorable characters.
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Dürrenmatt was born in the Emmental (canton of Bern), the son of a Protestant pastor. His grandfather Ulrich Dürrenmatt was a conservative politician. The family moved to Bern in 1935. Dürrenmatt began to study philosophy and German language and literature at the University of Zurich in 1941, but moved to the University of Bern after one semester. In 1943 he decided to become an author and dramati ...more
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“A story is not finished, until it has taken the worst turn” 48 likes
“Der Inhalt der Physik geht die Physiker an, die Auswirkung alle Menschen.” 2 likes
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