In 1974 a design and architecture lecturer in the beautiful city of Budapest, Hungary, built a device to conceive the idea of three-dimensional geometry to the students in his classes. But as it turned out what he has made was not just another device with sliding mechanisms, but a device with the potential of becoming the obsession of kids & adults of the generations to come. To this day the Rubik cube holds the record for the bestselling toy of all time with over 350 million sells. In his words of Ernő Rubik “I had the feeling of the potential of the object. I found it very simple to manufacture. And the result is an object which is available for everyone” “I was lecturing design & architecture. I was very similar in age with the students. I was very ambitious to find new ways to teach them, I made a cube as a teaching aid and for myself to learn something from it.”
Imagine you had to solve the cube without any of these YouTube tutorials, without anyone to help you out down the process. That’s how Erno Rubik must have felt in the beginning. It took him a month to figure out the method to complete this phenomenal piece of engineering.
If you have truly tried to solve the cube by your own, you know the struggle! Let me explain in simple terms! A Rubik’s Cube has 43,252,003,274,489,856,000 (43 quintillion, 252 quadrillion, 3 trillion, 274 billion, 489 million, 856 thousand!!!)possible configurations. Which means a combined total of over 43 Quintillian different possible configurations. If you turned Rubik’s Cube once every second it would take you 1400 trillion years to finish to go through all the configurations, in other words if you had started this solving during the Big Bang, you still wouldn’t be done yet because the universe is only 13.7 billion years old.
Once I searched the internet for a list of people who solved the Rubik’s cube on their own, I saw that a lot of people claim that they solved the cube on their own. A lot of them had mathematical backgrounds with MScs & PhDs in mathematics or computer science. But there’s no legit way to find out who’s a fraud & who’s telling the truth.
At first it was called the “Magic Cube” & the renamed after the creator as the “Rubik’s Cube” in 1980. There are various new puzzles and versions manufactured in the present with more sides, pieces & different shapes. NxNxN cubes such as 2x2x2, 3x3x3, 4x4x4 & so on, Pyraminx, Skewb, Square 1, Megaminx are some of the examples. The following are the details of world recordes of some of the popular cubes.
2x2x2 — Maciej Czapiewski (Poland) — 0.49 seconds
3x3x3 — Yusheng Du (China) — 3.47 seconds (Human)
3x3x3 — CubeStormer-3 (Birmingham, UK) — 3.253 seconds (Bot)
4x4x4 — Max Park (USA) — 18.42 seconds
5x5x5 — Max Park (USA) — 37.28 seconds
Pyraminx — Dominik Górny (Poland) — 0.91 seconds
Megaminx — Juan Pablo (USA) — 27.81 seconds
Skewb — Jonatan Klosko (Poland) — 1.10 seconds
The first annual International Rubik’s Championships were held in 1982. Every legal permutation of the Rubik’s Cube can be solved in 20 moves or less. Rubik Cube obsessives are known as “Cubaholics”.
I call myself a Cubaholic! I got my first 3x3x3 cube when I was 6 years old but couldn’t hang on to that because I hated it once I couldn’t complete it. Then I began to solve it again when I was 14 years of old and I was a good speedcuber in my school. There are a lot of algorithms to solve these cubes and once you know how to solve one those it’s not rocket science after that. But what’s important isn’t memorizing all the steps but, understanding the 3D movements and improving your logical thinking.
After all the Rubik’s cube is a timeless masterpiece. The difficulty to solve makes it an even interesting sensation. It helps us to comprehend that every problem no matter how hard it has its own solution. We just have to keep persisting & never give up! As Erno puts it into words, “There’s always a way for a solution. There’s always a way to find something else. If everything today is not good, it doesn’t mean tomorrow cant be good!”