The queen bee shuttle (or basic shuttle) 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 (or two) 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.
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 in the infobox) and the trans-queen bee shuttle (by shifting one block by one cell) are about the 18th and 19th most common naturally-occurring oscillators in Achim Flammenkamp's census. On Catagolue, it is the most common period 30 oscillator, with all other natural oscillators of that period featuring it in some form.
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. 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 partial queen bee loop with only three queen beesRLE: here
- 20P30.2 at Heinrich Koenig's Game of Life Object Catalogs