“My Cube is a visual model of the versatility and variability of our world, a huge number of potential configurations,” Ernő Rubik, the creator of the most famous puzzle in the world
He was the first to solve the Rubik’s cube. However, he spent several agonizing months on it. Thanks to him, a whole worldwide movement of speedcubing has appeared — young (and older) people solve the Rubik’s cube puzzle on the rate, with closed eyes, solve it with their feet, with the help of robots, upside down, with one hand, under water. The current solving record belongs to speedcuber Yusheng Du from China. This unique young man solved the cube in just 3.47 seconds!
Hungarian inventor Ernő Rubik, the creator of the most famous jigsaw of the 1980s, is very happy about this. “I’m all for the halt of wars while people are solving the puzzle,” he says philosophically.He still lives in Budapest, has his own architecture bureau, an IT studio and a design bureau. Ernő Rubik calls himself a happy man who found his passion in several directions at once — not only engineering, science, but also art.
In 1974, the Rubik’s Cube brought fame, money and worldwide recognition to its creator. Even though, Ernő Rubik had no goal of coming up with a puzzle. He just wanted to create a visual model with a dynamic structure to practically explain mathematical group theory to students of a technical academy. “All of the key inventions are partly coincidental, and with the Cube everything happened by itself,” he says.
But it turned out, without false modesty, the most famous puzzle in the history of humanity is difficult inside: 6 central cubes freely rotate on a three-dimensional cross, there are 12 edge cubes and 8 corner cubes. Inside there is a virtual carved sphere.
There are two entities — physical and computational-digital.
But there is a bridge between these two dimensions, that is why the Cube is so popular among representatives of two little touching worlds at once: artists love it, often using geometry and the variability of forms, and the Cube still occupies the minds of engineers, programmers, mathematicians who use the cube model for hypotheses, calculations, and so on.
My cube is a visual model of the versatility and variability of our world, a huge number of potential configurations
In the 80s, the cube became the best-selling puzzle in the world and sold over 500 million copies. In 1981, the Rubik’s cube appeared in the countries of the USSR, and the authorization to production, according to some sources, was acquired for a record $ 3 million.
Science and Life magazine devoted several spreads to this event. The pages contained the puzzle schemes, approved by Ernő Rubik personally. An interesting fact — this issue of the magazine belongs to an expensive sort of second-hand books, it has become the rarest in the country and has been the most stolen press from libraries of all time.
The first millionaire in Eastern Europe, Ernő Rubik, was so inspired that he immediately founded an international foundation of his name, which still finances the most interesting beginnings of young inventors and scientists. And also his own Rubik Studio, which is successfully developing puzzles and educational games.
Having developed the Rubik’s cube, the researcher did not stop and began to look for the so-called “number of God”. “God’s Algorithm” in mathematics is defined as an algorithm with the minimum number of steps to solve a problem. It took Ernő Rubik thirty years to figure out that the “number of God” for his cube is exactly 20 steps. However, we are not talking about any formula or logical chain of actions — it is still not defined.
This question is still open, and I’m not sure about its solution during my lifetime. I would consider a cube as an object where a virtual, theoretical question is placed. For example, mathematicians understand the riddle of a cube in their own way, it is more interesting for them to study options for solutions and similar things, and not just to solve a toy by it’s colors
In total, about 350 million copies of the Rubik’s Cube have been sold worldwide. Other similar puzzles have also appeared — Rubik’s snake, Rubik’s ball, magic rings. Rubik is officially licensed by the British company Rubik’s Brand Ltd, but we can also see all kinds of Chinese variations on the theme of the world famous puzzle on sale.
Simultaneously, there is also a movement of those who cannot solve the Rubik’s cube. For instance, in the 80s people were able to buy the Cube Smasher set which consisted of a cube and a hammer. Thus, the manufacturers hinted that the puzzle could be solved instantly.
Inventor Ernő Rubik advises not to give up and focus on the solution. “If you’re angry that you cannot solve the puzzle, the puzzle is clearly not the problem,” he tells those who have not finished with their cube.
Englishman Graham Parker listened to his advice. He received a Rubik’s cube for his 19th birthday, made a promise to solve it and completed the task at the age of 45, spending more than a quarter of a century on the solution.
Ernő Rubik, the inventor of one of the most interesting things in the world, does not rest on his laurels, but continues to work: he develops video games, works with students, consults.
Any glory is dangerous. And I am happy that I calmly accepted my popularity without changing inside. I am still a teacher, architect, designer, creator of the Cube and dozens of other puzzles and challenges.