Quantum mechanic

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A quantum mechanic is a monster with an attack that causes its target to teleport when it hits. The teleport is subject to magic cancellation. It follows the usual rules of self-teleportation, being disallowed on non-teleport levels, and permitting you to use teleport control.

Eating a quantum mechanic corpse will toggle intrinsic speed. Quantum mechanics are not considered human (or any other playable race for that matter) so you won't suffer the effects of cannibalism. They are poisonous to eat, however.

The quantum mechanic is the only member of the Q quantum mechanic monster class

Schroedinger's Cat

There is a 5% chance that a quantum mechanic carries a large box[1]. Upon opening the box, with a 50% chance a peaceful housecat named "Schroedinger's Cat" is generated; if generation or 50% chance fails, the box will contain a cat corpse named "Schroedinger's Cat". The state of the cat is not determined until the box is opened. In fact, the large box is effectively empty until opened. There is nothing special about the cat; it is just a physics joke.

Messages

Your position suddenly seems very uncertain!
A quantum mechanic hit you and you attempted to teleport.
Your velocity suddenly seems very uncertain!
You ate a quantum mechanic corpse and your intrinsic speed is about to be toggled.
You seem slower.
Your intrinsic speed was toggled off.
You seem faster.
Your intrinsic speed was toggled on.
Having determined the quantum mechanic's speed, you are unable to know its location.
You applied a stethoscope to a quantum mechanic and received a message of its status.

Strategy

Eating a Quantum Mechanic corpse is a useful way to gain the speed intrinsic. If you already have intrinsic speed, however, you will lose it, so be careful! You may tin its corpse for situations where intrinsic speed is lost (attacks of cockatrice, green slime, or shade). The same can be done with a wand of speed monster, but the wand can thus be saved for pets (especially after Orcus-town). A stethoscope can be used to determine the speed intrinsics of yourself or pets.

Pet

Be careful, having a quantum mechanic as a pet may be useful, but dangerous. It may teleport shopkeepers out of their shops if its level is high enough, which angers them.

Origin

This monster's name is a play on words with "Quantum Mechanics", a branch of physics. The messages that accompany the monster's teleporting attack and the toggling of intrinsic speed are jokes based on the Heisenberg uncertainty principle, which states that measuring the position of a particle makes its velocity more uncertain, and vice versa. Toggling the speed intrinsic could also be a reference to the transitions that occur between discrete energy levels in quantum mechanics.

Schrödinger's cat is a famous thought experiment in quantum mechanics involving imagining locking a cat in a box with a mechanism that has a 50% chance of killing the cat, depending upon the final state of a quantum system, for example whether an unstable nucleus has decayed within a certain time. The orthodox Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics asserts that the cat in the box is in a superposition of possible outcomes, in half of which the cat is dead, and half of which it is alive. Only when the box is opened and "observed" does the quantum wavefunction collapse, and the fate of the cat become determined. Schrödinger asserted that this was absurd, and thus so was the Copenhagen interpretation. Physicists are still divided on this matter. Note that this was a thought experiment; no actual cats were killed, or even half-killed.

Encyclopedia entry

These creatures are not native to this universe; they seem
to have strangely derived powers, and unknown motives.

References


This page may need to be updated for NetHack 3.6.0.

It may contain text specific to NetHack 3.4.3. Information on this page may be out of date.

Editors: After reviewing this page and making necessary edits, please change the {{nethack-343}} tag to {{nethack-360}} or {{noversion}} as appropriate.