Free Shipping on Orders of $40 or More
Quantum Steampunk: The Physics of Yesterday's Tomorrow

Quantum Steampunk: The Physics of Yesterday's Tomorrow

by Nicole Yunger Halpern
Quantum Steampunk: The Physics of Yesterday's Tomorrow

Quantum Steampunk: The Physics of Yesterday's Tomorrow

by Nicole Yunger Halpern


Choose Expedited Shipping at checkout for delivery by Thursday, August 25


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-trained 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.

Related collections and offers

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781421443720
Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
Publication date: 04/12/2022
Pages: 312
Sales rank: 170,706
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.10(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Nicole Yunger Halpern, a theoretical physicist, is currently a Fellow of QuICS, the Joint Center for Quantum Information and Computer Science at the University of Maryland.

Table of Contents

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

Marcelo Gleiser

To most people, quantum information science is an enigma. Yet, it is expected to shape much of the future of computation. To dive into this brave new world we need a patient, kind, and fun guide. In Quantum Steampunk, Yunger Halpern performs a magnificent trick, presenting tomorrow's science in the guise of yesterday's scientific landscape with great clarity and originality. Science writing at its best.

Jay Lawrence

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.

Leonard Mlodinow

With the heart of both an artist and a scientist, Yunger Halpern explores two of the hottest fields in modern physics: quantum thermodynamics and quantum information. This wild and entertaining work will take you on an enchanting ride, illuminating the deeper meaning of knowledge, time, and even reality itself.

David Kaiser

With whimsy and flair, Yunger Halpern explores what happens when we fuse the physics of steam engines and the mathematics of information flow with the latest advances in quantum theory. The result: a scintillating view of nature and a preview of fantastic technological possibilities.

Stephon Alexander

Quantum Steampunk, written by one of the most gifted quantum theorists of her generation, is a must-read. It is filled with poetic illuminations of quantum mysteries and storytelling so captivating that I could not stop reading. This book will be a classic.

Sean M. Carroll

Like any good quantum system, this book is complex, entangled, and unpredictable. Yunger Halpern provides an expert tour of the bustling new research frontier at the intersection of physics, information, and technology, complete with goggles and brass fittings.

Chad Orzel

Quantum Steampunk shows in clear and engaging language how to combine the cutting-edge science of the nineteenth century with the cutting-edge science of the twentieth century to create a dynamic new science for the twenty-first century.

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 novices to the concept of quantum steampunk, Nicole Yunger Halpern fluidly weaves together a playful tone with a steampunk narrative and her own personal experiences.

Customer Reviews

Explore More Items