This week's featured article
| A spaceship (much less commonly referred to as a glider or a fish) is a finite pattern that returns to its initial state after a number of generations (known as its period) but in a different location. The speed of a spaceship is the number of cells that the pattern moves during its period. This is expressed in terms of c (the metaphorical "speed of light") which is one cell per generation; thus, a spaceship with a period of five that moves two cells to the left during its period travels at the speed of 2c/5. Most known spaceships in Life travel either orthogonally (only horizontal or vertical displacement) or diagonally (equal horizontal and vertical displacement). However, several large Conway's Life spaceships have been engineered that travel in various oblique directions, and it is known that Life has spaceships that travel in all rational directions at arbitrarily slow speeds.
| The LifeWiki contains one of the most comprehensive catalogues of patterns available on the internet. Within it you will find:
Did you know...
- ... that no odd-period glider guns were known before 1995, when a period 565 p5-spark-assisted B-heptomino loop was constructed by David Buckingham?
- ... that even though the speed limit for spaceships is c/2 in a vacuum, in a medium of stripes agar there are "spaceships" that can travel at lightspeed along the stripes, or two thirds of lightspeed perpendicular to the stripes?
- ... that the smallest known spacefiller pattern consists of 187 cells?
- ... that the smallest known sawtooth pattern in Conway's Life consists of only 177 ON cells?
- ... that there are now over a hundred and twenty known Herschel conduits, counting stable conduits only, and a much larger number if oscillator-supported conduits are included?
- ... that Demonoids, caterloopillars, orthogonoids and half-bakery knightships are the only known types of spaceships with fixed slope but adjustable speed?
- ... that a pattern exists in which no cell in the unbounded Life plane ever becomes periodic?
- ... that several candidate universal constructors have been demonstrated in Conway’s Life, but as of June 2015 none have been formally proven to be universal?
- ... that there are dozens of known Cordership variants, including puffers, rakes and wickstretchers, with periods of any multiple of 96?
- ... that greyships have been constructed with speeds of c/2, c/3, c/4, c/5 and 2c/5?