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 [[ THUMBSIZE 2 THEME 6 GRID GRIDMAJOR 0 SUPPRESS THUMBLAUNCH ]] #C [[ 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
Frequency class 28.4
Period 30
Mod 15
Heat 17.9
Volatility 0.96
Strict volatility 0.96
Discovered by Bill Gosper
Year of discovery 1970

The queen bee shuttle (or basic shuttle[1]) can refer to one of two very closely related period-30 shuttle oscillators in which a queen bee travels back and forth between two blocks. There are two possible isomers for the queen bee shuttle; the version shown in the infobox to the right being the "trans"-version:

Image Name Info Kinetic symmetry apgcode Cost in gliders
Cisqueenbeeshuttle.png Cis-queen bee shuttle Blocks are "on the same side" n-e xp30_w33z8kqrqk8zzzw33 5
Transqueenbeeshuttle.png Trans-queen bee shuttle Blocks are "on different sides" n.e xp30_w33z8kqrqk8zzzx33 6

There are also many other stabilisations of the queen bee, such as buckaroo, which utilises an eater 1. 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.

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[2] and was the first period 30 oscillator to be found. In terms of its minimum population of 20 cells, it is the smallest known oscillator with period greater than 15.[3]

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 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.

12bo11b$12bobo9b$13bobo8b$13bo2bo7b$13bobo8b$12bobo9b$12bo11b$3bo20b$ 2bobo19b$bo3bo18b$2b3o19b$2o3b2o17b$17b2o3b2o$19b3o2b$18bo3bob$19bobo 2b$20bo3b$11bo12b$9bobo12b$8bobo13b$7bo2bo13b$8bobo13b$9bobo12b$11bo! #C [[ THUMBSIZE 2 THEME 6 GRID GRIDMAJOR 0 SUPPRESS THUMBLAUNCH ]] #C [[ THUMBSIZE 2 ]]
A queen bee loop
(click above to open LifeViewer)
RLE: here Plaintext: here
20b2o2b$20b2o2b$2b2o20b$2b2o20b4$3bo20b$2bobo19b$bo3bo18b$2b3o19b$2o3b 2o17b$17b2o3b2o$19b3o2b$18bo3bob$19bobo2b$20bo3b$11bo12b$9bobo12b$8bob o13b$7bo2bo13b$8bobo13b$9bobo12b$11bo! #C [[ THUMBSIZE 2 THEME 6 GRID GRIDMAJOR 0 SUPPRESS THUMBLAUNCH ]] #C [[ THUMBSIZE 2 ]]
A partial queen bee loop with only three queen bees
(click above to open LifeViewer)
RLE: here Plaintext: here


The cis-queen bee shuttle and the trans-queen bee shuttle are about the 18th and 19th most common naturally-occurring oscillators in Achim Flammenkamp's census.[5] On Catagolue, it is the most common period 30 oscillator, with all other natural oscillators of that period featuring it in some form.[6]

The trans version is about 2% more common than the cis version on Catagolue.

Glider synthesis

There is a 4-glider component that turns any one-sided stabilization of the queen bee, such as a block, into a queen bee shuttle variant, yielding 6-glider syntheses for both common variants. The synthesis of the cis-queen bee shuttle is later reduced to 5 gliders in July 2020 [7], and an alternate 6-glider synthesis of the trans-queen bee shuttle has also been found[8].

x = 27, y = 12, rule = B3/S23 15bobo$15b2o$2o14bo$2o2$13bo$12b2o11b2o$12bobo9b2o$26bo$8b3o$10bo$9bo ! #C [[ THUMBSIZE 2 THEME 6 GRID GRIDMAJOR 0 SUPPRESS THUMBLAUNCH ]]
The 4-glider component mentioned above, turning a block into a queen bee shuttle
(click above to open LifeViewer)


x = 35, y = 7, rule = B3/S23 2o31b2o$2o31b2o3$16b3o$5b3o8bobo8b3o$16bobo! #C [[ THUMBSIZE 2 THEME 6 GRID GRIDMAJOR 0 SUPPRESS THUMBLAUNCH ]] #C [[ THUMBSIZE 2 ]]
Queen bee shuttle predecessor made up of a pi-heptomino,
two blinkers and two blocks. Found by Gosper in April 1992.
(click above to open LifeViewer)
RLE: here Plaintext: here
x = 33, y = 22, rule = B3/S23 9bo13bo$8bobo11bobo$5bo2bo2bo9bob2o2bo$5b3o4bo7bobo2b3o$8b3obo7bob2o$ 3b5obobo9bo3b5o$2bo6bo13bobo4bo$o2bo2bo2b5obobob8o2bo2bo$2ob4obo3bob2o b2obo5bo2bob2o$3bo2bo3bo11bo3bo2bo$3bo2bo2b3o9b4ob4o$bobo2b3o5b2o10bo 2bobo$b2o4bobo4bobo6bo6b2o$5bo2bobo6bo4bobobo$5bo3bo4bo2bo5bo3b2o$4bo 12bo$2bo11bobo12bo$3bo10b2o9bo3bobo$2obo2b3o15bo2bobo$3bob3o16bo2bobob 2o$bobo22bo2bo$2b2o25b2o! #C [[ THUMBSIZE 2 THEME 6 GRID GRIDMAJOR 0 SUPPRESS THUMBLAUNCH ]] #C [[ GPS 13 THUMBSIZE 2 ]]
A period-26 version of the queen bee shuttle, found by
James Pascua based on a partial by Entity Valkyrie[9]
(click above to open LifeViewer)
RLE: here Plaintext: here


  1. "Basic shuttle". The Life Lexicon. Stephen Silver. Retrieved on June 11, 2009.
  2. Dean Hickerson's oscillator stamp collection. Retrieved on March 14, 2020.
  3. "Class 2 Objects Catalog - Oscillators". Retrieved on April 8, 2009.
  4. New Small Period Oscillators at Game of Life News. Posted by Heinrich Koenig on November 23, 2008.
  5. Achim Flammenkamp (September 7, 2004). "Most seen natural occurring ash objects in Game of Life". Retrieved on January 15, 2009.
  6. Adam P. Goucher. "Statistics". Catagolue. Retrieved on October 27, 2018.
  7. Ian07 (July 18, 2020). Re: Randomly enumerating glider syntheses (discussion thread) at the ConwayLife.com forums
  8. Carson Cheng (June 15, 2022). Re: Synthesising Oscillators (discussion thread) at the ConwayLife.com forums
  9. James Pascua (February 8, 2021). Re: Oscillator Discussion Thread (discussion thread) at the ConwayLife.com forums

External links

  • 20P30.1 at Heinrich Koenig's Game of Life Object Catalogs
  • 20P30.2 at Heinrich Koenig's Game of Life Object Catalogs