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Quantum Steampunk

The Physics of Yesterday's Tomorrow

Nicole Yunger Halpern

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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…

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.

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Quantum Steampunk

Nicole Yunger Halpern

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Reviews

Reviews

[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.

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

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

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.

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.

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About

Book Details

Publication Date
Status
Available
Trim Size
6
x
9
Pages
312
ISBN
9781421443720
Illustration Description
30 b&w illus.
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

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
Acknowledgments
Glossary
References
Index

Author Bio
Featured Contributor

Nicole Yunger Halpern

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.