Dietrich Leithner

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Dietrich Leithner
Born c. 1944
Died 26th February 1999
Residence Unknown
Nationality German
Institutions Unknown
Alma mater Unknown

Professor Dietrich 'Dieter' Leithner (c. 1944 - 26th February 1999) was a German physicist, who made many spectacular contributions to Conway's Game of Life. He was fascinated by Life since he first read Martin Gardner's epoch-making article at the age of 26. He wrote his own Life simulators, for both an Apple II machine and a MS-DOS PC. Dietrich experimented with the cellular automaton, both on his own and with his close friend, Peter Rott. By 1996, when he became known to the wider Life community, their combined discoveries totaled several thousand files filled with interesting Life patterns.

He also coined the phrase Life Worker Time Deficiency Syndrome.


At the time of joining the Life community, the duo were investigating glider guns of minimal area. These were not limited to true-period guns; they found pseudo-period guns of periods 14, 15, and 23. He went on to find a remarkably small p690 glider gun, and constructed various spaceship guns. This became the start of an extensive collaborative effort to find glider guns of minimal areas, known as Dieter and Peter's gun collection.

He coined the term edge-shooter to describe a new species of gun he discovered. The p30 edge-shooter consists of glider pushers, whereas the p46 edge-shooter is a natural arrangement of two glider guns. He constructed guns for nonstandard spaceships, such as the overweight spaceship.

Patterns found by Dietrich Leithner