Dr. Nicole Yunger Halpern

ITAMP Postdoctoral Fellow

I’m an ITAMP Postdoctoral Fellow at Harvard. I update 19th-century thermodynamics for 21st-century settings—small, quantum, and far-from-equilibrium settings—using the mathematical toolkit of quantum information theory. Moreover, I apply quantum thermodynamics across science: to atomic, molecular, and optical physics; condensed matter; chemistry; biophysics; and high-energy physics. I call my research “quantum steampunk,” after the steampunk genre of art and literature that juxtaposes Victorian settings with futuristic technologies.

I completed my physics PhD in 2018, under John Preskill's auspices at Caltech. My dissertation won the Ilya Prigogine Prize for a thermodynamics PhD thesis. Before joining Caltech, I earned a Masters at the Perimeter Scholars International (PSI) program of the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, working with Rob Spekkens and Markus P. Müller. Before that, I earned my Bachelors at Dartmouth College, where I graduated as a co-valedictorian of my class.

I write one story per month for Quantum Frontiers, the blog of Caltech's Institute for Quantum Information and Matter (https://quantumfrontiers.com/author/nyungerhalpern/). You can find me on Twitter @nicoleyh11.

Many people wonder what my last name (family name, or surname) is. It’s “Yunger Halpern,” consisting of two parts separated by a space, not a hyphen. The “Yunger” contains no “o.”

Publications