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Not to be confused with catacryst.
For the software, see Catalyst (search program).

A catalyst is an object that participates in a reaction but emerges from it unharmed. The term is mostly applied to still lifes, some small examples of which can act as catalysts in some situations, such as the block, ship, and tub; it can also be used for oscillators and spaceships, especially sparkers, where sparks they emit are used to perturb reactions. All eaters are catalysts, as are the still lifes and oscillators which form a conduit.

A relatively rare form of catalysis occurs in a transparent debris effect, where the catalyst in question is completely destroyed and then rebuilt.

Catalysts are extremely important, as they help to stabilize and control debris created by complex reactions, allowing for the manipulation of the useful parts of those reactions. Stable reflectors in particular heavily rely on a variety of catalysts to work.

Catalysis is a term that means "being influenced by a catalyst" or "a catalytic reaction."

According to Life Lexicon, the term is also sometimes used for a modification of an active reaction in a rake by passing spaceships.


A rock is a term coined by Dean Hickerson that describes a catalyst which remains intact throughout the catalysis (that is, it does not suffer even temporary damage). The snake in conduit 1 is an example. Other still lifes that sometimes act as rocks include tub, hook with tail, eater 1 (when eating with its tail), and hat (in Heinrich Koenig's stabilization of the twin bees shuttle).

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