July 13, 1944: Ernő Rubik is born in Budapest, Hungary. His father was a flight engineer at a local airplane factory and his mother was a poet. He graduated from the Technical University in Budapest in 1967 with a degree in architectural engineering. His post graduate studies were in sculpting and interior architecture. He worked as an architect from 1971 to 1975 and then became a professor at the Budapest College of Applied Arts. He has always lived in Hungary. He also invented a little puzzle game that came to market in 1974. In the early 1980s he began editing a game and puzzle magazine called ..És játék (“…and games”).
The Rubik’s Cube is a 3-D mechanical puzzle originally called the Magic Cube. The game was licensed by Rubik to be sold by the Ideal Toys company. The cube is six-sided with each side made up of nine smaller cubes or “cubies” or “cubelets” with nine of these smaller cubes faced with one, two, or three of the six colors available. The small cubes are affixed to the core mechanism so they can be rotated. The cube is made up of 21 pieces: a single core with three intersecting axes holding the six center squares in place while still letting them rotate and 20 smaller plastic pieces which fit into the assembled puzzle.
There are twelve edge pieces, each with two colors, and eight corner pieces which each have three colors. The six center squares each have only one color. The original 3 x 3 x 3 Rubik’s Cube gives several different ways to arrange the smaller cubes. There are 40,320 ways to arrange the corner cubes and 239,500,800 ways to arrange the edges. There are exactly 43,252,003,274,489,856,000 permutations or ways to arrange the cube’s smaller cubes. That is about 43 quintillion, not the billions usually advertised.
There are algorithms used to solve scrambled Rubik’s Cubes. The easiest way to solve the puzzle may be to take it apart and simply put it back together with the sides properly sorted. Some of these algorithms are easy enough to be memorized by people, but these aren’t the optimal solutions. There is not a “least moves” solution for any instance of the Rubik’s cube, but the latest claim is 22 moves. The algorithm to arrive at this is called God’s Algorithm. Many mathematicians believe the number to be 20 moves, but haven’t yet figured the supporting algorithm. You can also solve Rubik’s Magic, Rubik’s Snake, and Rubik’s 360 if the Cube is too easy.
I do not truly consider myself an icon, but the Cube has been quite successful.
Usually we are saying only part of the truth.
The problems of puzzles are very near the problems of life.
I wanted nothing else than to make the object as perfect as possible. – all from Ernő Rubik
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