Queen bee shuttle

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Queen bee shuttle
x = 22, y = 7, rule = B3/S23 9bo$7bobo$6bobo11b2o$2o3bo2bo11b2o$2o4bobo$7bobo$9bo! #C [[ THEME 6 GRID GRIDMAJOR 0 THUMBLAUNCH AUTOSTART ]] #C [[ THUMBSIZE 2 ZOOM 16 GPS 10 ]]
Pattern type Oscillator
Oscillator type Shuttle
Family Queen bee shuttle
Number of cells 20
Bounding box 22×7
Period 30
Mod 15
Heat 17.9
Volatility 0.96
Rotor type Queen bee
Discovered by Bill Gosper
Year of discovery 1970

The queen bee shuttle (or basic shuttle[1]) is a period 30 shuttle oscillator in which a queen bee travels back and forth between two stabilizing ends. The shuttles were originally stabilized against one another in a square of eight shuttles, though there are now a number of known ways to stabilize the ends. Some simpler methods are shown here involving blocks; for a method involving an eater 1 see buckaroo. The queen bee shuttle is the basis of all known true period 30 guns (including the famous Gosper glider gun). It was found by Bill Gosper in 1970 and was the first period 30 oscillator to be found. It is the smallest known oscillator with period greater than 15.[2]

It produces a spark at the blocks that can be used to rephrase a blinker; two must be used to make a functioning oscillator from this reaction to prevent formation of a deadly traffic light.


The cis-queen bee shuttle (shown to the below) and the trans-queen bee shuttle (shown right) are about the 18th and 19th most common naturally-occurring oscillators in Achim Flammenkamp's census.[3]


The queen bee loop (or ouroboros bees), another form of the queen bee shuttle that was found in 1970 (also by Bill Gosper), is a closed loop made of four queen bees that clean up each other's beehives. It was forgotten about in many sources and independently rediscovered in 2008 by Nicolay Beluchenko.[4] It is also possible to create a partial loop oscillator consisting of two or three queen bees by removing one or two of the queen bees in the loop and placing two stabilizing blocks appropriately.

A queen bee loop
RLE: here
A partial queen bee loop with only three queen bees
RLE: here

Image gallery

A slightly different queen bee shuttle, known as the cis-queen bee shuttle
Download RLE: click here
Queen bee shuttle predecessor made up of a pi-heptomino, two blinkers and two blocks. Found by Gosper in April 1992
RLE: here


  1. "Basic shuttle". The Life Lexicon. Stephen Silver. Retrieved on June 11, 2009.
  2. "Class 2 Objects Catalog - Oscillators". Retrieved on April 8, 2009.
  3. Achim Flammenkamp (September 7, 2004). "Most seen natural occurring ash objects in Game of Life". Retrieved on January 15, 2009.
  4. H. Koenig (November 23, 2008). "New Small Period Oscillators". Game of Life News. Retrieved on June 3, 2009.

External links