Yunger Halpern, Nicole


Nicole Yunger Halpern is a theoretical physicist at the Joint Center for Quantum Information and Computer Science at the University of Maryland. Nicole reenvisions the science of energy, developed during the 1800s, for the 21st century, using the mathematical tools of quantum computing. She has dubbed this research “quantum steampunk,” after the steampunk genre of art and literature that juxtaposes Victorian settings with futuristic technologies. The field’s insights and aesthetic form the subject of her book for the general public, Quantum Steampunk: The Physics of Yesterday’s Tomorrow. The book received the PROSE Award for Popular Science and Mathematics from the Association of American Publishers. 

Nicole earned her PhD at Caltech, winning the international Ilya Prigogine Prize for an energy-science thesis. She won the International Quantum Technology Emerging Researcher Award from Britain’s Institute of Physics as a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard. In 2023, Nicole received the U.S. ASPIRE Prize for young scientists.  

Nicole has written over 100 articles for the blog Quantum Frontiers and suspects that a copy of her is a novelist in some parallel universe. You can follow her on Twitter @nicoleyh11.