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The Rubik's Cube

A Fascinating Puzzle with a Rich History

By Myka YamiPublished 5 months ago 3 min read

For many years, the Rubik's Cube has been a source of fascination and challenge for people of all ages around the world. It is a 3D puzzle consisting of six faces, each composed of nine individual squares of different colors. The object of the puzzle is to twist and turn the faces until each side is a solid color.

It may surprise some to learn that the Rubik's Cube was invented in 1974 by a Hungarian sculptor named Erno Rubik. Mr. Rubik was playing around with blocks and strings in his bedroom when he came up with the idea of using 26 different cubes marked with stickers to create a puzzle. He began rearranging the cubes, but when the colors got mixed up, he realized that he had created something truly unique.

It took Mr. Rubik a whole month to solve the puzzle he had created. He realized that the key was to align the eight corner cubes first, and then apply that same technique to the remaining cubes. Once he had found a solution, he applied for a patent, and the first Rubik's Cubes were produced in late 1977.

Originally called the Magic Cube, the Rubik's Cube was changed to its current name to patent it in other countries. However, it was not an immediate success. For years, the cubes were stored in boxes at fairs and other events, among other toys, with no one taking much notice of them. But one seller saw their potential and decided to promote them, demonstrating how to solve the puzzle, and soon the Rubik's Cube became a raging success. Today, it is one of the best-selling toys in history, with over 450 million cubes sold worldwide.

Since its creation, the Rubik's Cube has been the subject of fascination and study by mathematicians and speedcubers alike. The standard 3x3 cube has 43 quintillion possible arrangements, and mathematicians have been working for decades to find the most efficient algorithm to solve the puzzle.

The original solution devised by Mr. Rubik was to align the eight corner cubies first, but the most common technique used today is to complete the top layer first. This method requires up to 120 twists to solve the puzzle. However, mathematicians have calculated that the most efficient technique would require just 22 twists, though this technique has yet to be discovered.

Speedcubing, or solving the Rubik's Cube as quickly as possible, has become a popular sport around the world. The current world record for solving the Rubik's Cube is held by a Chinese speedcuber named Yusheng Du, who set the record in 2018 with a time of just 3.47 seconds. However, there are two people who have beaten that record unofficially: a 14-year-old Filipino speedcuber who solved the puzzle in 2.78 seconds and a 12-year-old Chinese boy who completed it in 2.68 seconds.

Despite these impressive feats, it is unlikely that humans will ever be able to beat a Rubik's Cube-solving robot in terms of speed and accuracy. In 2018, a team of MIT students built a Rubik's Cube-solving robot that can solve the puzzle in just 0.38 seconds, with the ability to make 55 turns in a second. By comparison, the best human speedcubers can perform up to 12 turns in one second.

The Rubik's Cube is a fascinating puzzle that has captured the imaginations of people around the world for nearly five decades. Its inventor, Erno Rubik, never could have imagined the impact his creation would have on popular culture and the world of mathematics.

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About the Creator

Myka Yami

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