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A Heisenburp device is a pattern which can detect the passage of a spaceship without affecting the spaceship's path or timing. The name is a reference to Werner Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle, a principle in quantum physics which states that it is physically impossible to detect a particle without affecting it in some way; it was coined by Bill Gosper. The first Heisenburp device was constructed by David Bell in December 1992.

Some Heisenburp reactions do affect the spaceship, but only for a few generations, after which it evolves as if it had never been affected. Such reactions have generally been called "pseudo-Heisenburp" reactions since the discovery of "pure" or "true" Heisenburp reactions where the spaceship is not even temporarily affected.


Natural Heisenburp is a periodic Heisenburp device found by Brice Due in 2006. A glider passes through the followig p46 twin bees shuttle pair completely unaffected, but a second glider (out of the blue) emerges soon, following the first at a 2hd offset.

x = 141, y = 141, rule = B3/S23 2o$obo$o18$17b3o$17bo$18bo24$70b2o$69bobo15b2o$69bo17b2o$69b3o4$69b3o$ 60b2o7bo17b2o$60b2o7bobo15b2o$70b2o10$53bo5bo$52b3o3b3o$52bob2ob2obo$ 54b2ob2o10b2o$54b2ob2o10bobo$54b2ob2o10bo12$52b2o5b2o$52b2o5b2o54$138b 2o$138bobo$138bo! #C [[ THUMBSIZE 2 THEME 6 GRID GRIDMAJOR 0 SUPPRESS THUMBLAUNCH ]] #C [[ THUMBSIZE 2 Z 8 HEIGHT 480 X -6 Y -10 GPS 30 AUTOSTART PAUSE 2 LOOP 276 T 66 PAUSE 2 ]]
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For a stable Heisenburp device designed for Corderships, see Model D Heisenburp.

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