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A Zoo of Life Forms

In the Life world, it is much easier to create stable objects than in the Seeds world. The top part of the page shows a collection of "still life" shapes. The bottom part shows a collection of oscillating "blinkers."

Click Start to see them in action -- or, in the case of the still life shapes, in inaction. Most of the blinkers have period of two -- that is, they oscillate between two different shapes. But the blinker at the bottom, known as a Figure 8, has a period of eight.

When Conway created the Life rules, he didn't have access to a computer. To experiment with the Life rules, he used stones on a Go board, and he updated the patterns one stone at a time. So if you are frustrated by the slow speed of Life on your computer, just remember how much slower it was for Conway.

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Mitchel Resnick and Brian Silverman
Epistemology and Learning Group
MIT Media Laboratory

Last modified: 2/4/96