THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Rubik’s Cube, both a brainteaser and a delight to many, celebrated its 40th birthday on 19th May. It is said to be the most popular puzzle game in the world, with one in every eight people on the planet having tried their hand at it. This colour-matching, geometric cube is much more than a game. For years, those who can finish this game were seen as geniuses. For many others, it is a thwarting toy holding an insoluble puzzle.
Initially named the Magic cube, it was invented by Erno Rubik, a Hungarian sculptor and professor of architecture in 1974. His invention won the German Game of the Year special award for Best Puzzle that year. Erno, himself, found the game a little tough to solve. He even recalled the moment in one of his writings, “It was like staring at a piece of writing written in a secret code. But for me it was a code, I, myself had invented! Yet I could not read it. This was such an extraordinary situation that I simply could not accept it.” With six coloured sides, 21 pieces and 54 outer surfaces, there are a combined total of over 43 quintillion different possible configurations to solve this puzzle. Soon after its invention it gained rapid popularity. As of now, over 350 million Rubik’s cube have been sold worldwide, making it the best selling puzzle ever.
Though 1980s was when Rubik’s Cube found its maximum, it is still widely known and used across the globe. Since 2003, The World Cube Association - the Rubik’s Cube’s international governing body – has organised competitions and even kept the official world records for further reference. The current world record holder is Mats Valk from Netherlands who completed the puzzle in 5.55 seconds. Even the Google homepage saluted Rubik’s cube by giving an exact replica of the game in their home page on its anniversary with facilities to play the game. It gave a wonderful opportunity to those who have never experienced this brilliant piece of pure mathematics genius with hands. While learning to solve the Rubik’s cube, some of us can also delve deep into mysterious world of mathematics in the process. Depending on your patience and presence of mind.