Why whip egg whites in copper bowls?

@article{McGee1984WhyWE,
  title={Why whip egg whites in copper bowls?},
  author={Harold McGee and Sharon R. Long and Winslow R. Briggs},
  journal={Nature},
  year={1984},
  volume={308},
  pages={667-668}
}
Foams of chicken egg albumen have been an important element in Western cuisine for at least 300 yr1; they lower the density of such otherwise ponderous preparations as soufflés and sponge cakes, and in the heat-annealed form known as meringues they support or crown various sucrose-rich mixtures2. The raw protein foam is delicate and easily ruined by overheating. Over the past 200 yr, protocols for the production of albumen foams have frequently specified the use of copper reaction vessels3–5… 
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A whipping method for the measurement of overrun and foam stability was developed. Using this method the characteristic foams formed by the following proteins were studied: sodium caseinate, milk
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