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Quantum Steampunk by Halpern in pdf


Download this PDF book: Quantum Steampunk: The Physics of Yesterday's Tomorrow by Nicole Yunger Halpern 

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.


[Yunger Halpern] reimagines 19th-century thermodynamics through a modern, quantum lens, playing with the aesthetics of the 1800s through trains, dirigibles and horseless carriages. It is a physics book, but one that is as likely to attract readers of science fiction as those of popular science.

-- Simon Ings ― NewScientist

At this moment when quantum theory is being applied, nonexperts will find this guide helpful.

― Harvard Magazine

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.

-- Sean M. Carroll, New York Times bestselling author of Something Deeply Hidden: Quantum Worlds and the Emergence of Spacetime

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.

-- Marcelo Gleiser, 2019 Templeton Prize Laureate

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.

-- Leonard Mlodinow, author of Stephen Hawking: A Memoir of Friendship and Physics

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.

-- Anna Weltman, author of Supermath: The Power of Numbers for Good and Evil

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.

-- Jay Lawrence, Dartmouth College

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.

-- Stephon Alexander, President, National Society of Black Physicists

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.

-- David Kaiser, author of How the Hippies Saved Physics: Science, Counterculture, and the Quantum Revival

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.

-- Chad Orzel, author of How to Teach Quantum Physics to Your Dog

Quantum Steampunk is probably the best plain English explanation of quantum physics you'll find anywhere. Dr. Halpern uses illustrations, whimsical descriptions, and humor.

― Quantum Zeitgeist

An entertaining book... that explains the essence and secrets of the many facets of quantum thermodynamics in layman's terms....By adding literary flair to otherwise dry technical content, Yunger Halpern masterfully conveys in simple terms the variety of complex ideas that characterize the different subfields of quantum thermodynamics.

― Physics Today


Chapter 0


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


“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


Where to next?

The future of quantum steampunk

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.

About the book:

Publisher ‏ : ‎ Johns Hopkins University Press (April 12, 2022)

Language ‏ : ‎ English

Pages ‏ : ‎ 312 

File : PDF, 8MB


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