Nicole Yunger Halpern is an emerging young leader in the reconciliation and mutual strengthening of the concepts of thermodynamics and quantum physics, which can now be explored in unprecedented experimental detail. Her work ranges from quantum thermodynamics, which she explores from a perspective that seeks exploration of the foundations of thermodynamics in the light of quantum information theory - wherein thermodynamics is formulated as a theory of what agents can achieve when the only state preparations and transformations that they can implement for free are those that are thermal at some fixed temperature – to popularization of these concepts in steampunk-themed essays. The Association of American Publishers gave Nicole its 2023 PROSE Award for Professional and Scholarly Excellence in Popular Science and Mathematics for “Quantum Steampunk: The Physics of Yesterday’s Tomorrow” (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2022). The book presents quantum thermodynamics in a steampunk aesthetic, showing how the thermodynamics of the steam age can combine effectively and imaginatively with the most recent developments in quantum information. Nicole is a highly collaborative, international researcher with over 60 coauthors during the past decade, a frequent speaker at the main meetings in the field, and she is the founding Co-Leader of the Maryland Quantum-Thermodynamics Hub, established in 2023 with support from the John Templeton Foundation.
She now will be competing for the overall APEC ASPIRE world award.