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Quantum Steampunk: The Physics of Yesterday's Tomorrow

Quantum Steampunk: The Physics of Yesterday's Tomorrow

by Nicole Yunger Halpern


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Available for Pre-Order. This item will be available on March 22, 2022


The Industrial Revolution meets the quantum-technology revolution! A steampunk adventure guide to how mind-blowing quantum physics is transforming our understanding of information and energy.

Victorian era steam engines and particle physics may seem worlds (as well as centuries) apart, yet a new branch of science, quantum thermodynamics, reenvisions the scientific underpinnings of the Industrial Revolution through the lens of today's roaring quantum information revolution. Classical thermodynamics, understood as the study of engines, energy, and efficiency, needs reimagining to take advantage of quantum mechanics, the basic framework that explores the nature of reality by peering at minute matters, down to the momentum of a single particle.

In her exciting new book, intrepid Harvard physicist Dr. Nicole Yunger Halpern introduces these concepts to the uninitiated with what she calls "quantum steampunk," after the fantastical genre that pairs futuristic technologies with Victorian sensibilities. While readers follow the adventures of a rag-tag steampunk crew on trains, dirigibles, and automobiles, they explore questions such as, "Can quantum physics revolutionize engines?" and "What deeper secrets can quantum information reveal about the trajectory of time?"

Yunger Halpern also describes her own adventures in the quantum universe and provides an insider's look at the work of the scientists obsessed with its technological promise. Moving from fundamental physics to cutting-edge experimental applications, Quantum Steampunk explores the field's aesthetic, shares its whimsy, and gazes into the potential of a quantum future. The result is a blast for fans of science, science fiction, and fantasy.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781421443720
Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
Publication date: 03/22/2022
Pages: 312
Sales rank: 590,712
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.93(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Nicole Yunger Halpern is a theoretical physicist and postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University.

Table of Contents

Chapter 0. Prologue: Once upon a time in physics
Chapter 1. Information theory: Of passwords and probabilities
Chapter 2. Quantum physics: Everything at once, or, one thing at a time?
Chapter 3. Quantum computation: Everything at once
Chapter 4. Thermodynamics: "May I drive?"
Chapter 5. A fine merger: Thermodynamics, information theory, and quantum physics
Chapter 6. The physics of yesterday's tomorrow: The landscape of quantum steampunk
Chapter 7. Pedal to the metal: Quantum thermal machines
Chapter 8. Tick tock: Quantum clocks
Chapter 9. Unsteady as she goes: Fluctuation relations
Chapter 10. Entropy, energy, and a tiny possibility: One-shot thermodynamics
Chapter 11. Resource theories: A ha'penny of a quantum state
Chapter 12. The unseen kingdom: When quantum observables don't cooperate
Chapter 13. All over the map: Rounding out our tour
Chapter 14. Stepping off the map: Quantum steampunk crosses borders
Epilogue. Where to next? The future of quantum steampunk

What People are Saying About This

Jay Lawrence

"Dr. Yunger Halpern articulates a vision of an emerging subfield of physics and how she expects, and hopes, that it may develop. Presenting this vision in a manner accessible to laypeople discovering new interests, Quantum Steampunk will also appeal to specialists and aspiring specialists."

Fred McLean

"I was thoroughly entertained by Quantum Steampunk. This book is good fun; nearly every paragraph has something to make me smile. And behind the fun and the anecdotes is a dizzying amount of information: Yunger Halpern offers an in-depth lesson about thermodynamics and quantum information while teaching readers a great deal about other disciplines and perspectives."

Anna Weltman

"Introducing curious, STEM-inclined novices to the concept of quantum steampunk, Yunger Halpern fluidly weaves together a playful tone with a steampunk narrative and her own personal experiences."

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