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Small objects

It was quickly observed that some configurations are quite stable, others highly volatile, and naturally a considerable range in between. No persistent objects formed from one or two cells exist. Three cells either horizontally or vertically aligned, called blinkers, alternate from one form to the other; they form the class of permanent object with the tiniest member; nevertheless they are among the most numerous.

Among four-cell objects, small rings and especially squares are both numerous and stable. Squares are often overcome by expanding clouds of cells from a nearby region and yet survive when the activity has subsided. As a result they are often deliberately placed within a construction to establish boundaries or reference points. Another seven-cell object, called an ``eater,'' has been found useful for similar purposes.

Figure: Some small stable Life objects  

Besides static objects, or still lifes, there are some small oscillators which are frequently observed after a random initial field finally settles down. Blinkers are ubiquitous, but from time to time others may be observed.

Figure: Commonly seen period 2 objects.  

Harold V. McIntosh