“If you are curious, you’ll find the puzzles around you. If you are determined, you will solve them.”
Rubik Cube turns 40!
Rubik was born in 1944, son of Ernő Rubik, an internationally respected aerospace engineer who held several patents, and poet Magdolna Szántó. After specialising in sculpture in secondary school, he attended the University of Technology, Budapest between 1962-67. It was in 1974 that the Budapest-born architect invented his famous 3-D combination puzzle. At the time he was teaching interior design at the Academy of Applied Arts and Crafts and needed a teaching aid in which he could move the parts independently. He did not realize he had created a puzzle until he tried to return the parts to their original position. What started out as a demonstration tool became all the rage and the word’s best-selling puzzle game.
Since its international launch in 1980 an estimated 350 million Rubik’s Cubes have been sold but it wasn’t easy for a toy from Communist Hungary to go on the world market. Overcoming the initial difficulties, the cube became a pop culture icon, featured in cartoons, films, TV series and comics. Artists have used the cubes as mosaic pieces and called to life a new art form called Rubik’s Cubism. The most spectacular piece of art created from a staggering 85,794 Rubik's Cubes by Toronto-based Rubik's enthusiasts Cube Works Studio has made it into the Guinness Book of World Records as the 'Largest Rubik's Cube Mosaic Ever Created'. All of the Rubik's Cubes had to be individually twisted and placed onto panels before being assembled into the 67 metres long and 4 metres tall mosaic showing the skyline of Macau in China.
The popularity of the cube is well demonstrated by the fact that the first Rubik Cube’s World Championship was held in Budapest only two years later, in 1982. Speedcubing, which means attempting to solve the cube in the shortest time possible, is a very popular competition and the current world record for single time on a classic 3 x 3 x 3 cube is held by Dutch Mats Valk. It’s extremely hard to imagine that one can solve the cube in an unbelievable 5.55 seconds, and Feliks Zemdegs’s record is even crazier: he managed to do the cube in 9.03 seconds using only one hand!
Ernő Rubik, who has acknowledged the influence of Leonardo, Michelangelo and M. C. Escher on his work, went on to invent other puzzles, like Rubik’s Magic, Rubik’s Domino and Rubik’s Snake but these didn’t catch on as much as the cube. Variations of the cube are also available: from the mini cube of 2 x 2 x 2 up to 7 x 7 x 7, and various computer games can be played with even more layers.
The 40th anniversary of the cube was marked by a major New York exhibition exploring the history of Rubik’s Cube. It also included the world’s most expensive cube, worth an estimated 1.5 million USD: an 18 karat gold cube set with 1360 gems: diamonds for white, emeralds for green, rubies for red, blue and yellow sapphires and purple amethyst to represent the six sides. As part of the celebrations, significant New York buildings, including the top of the Empire State Building were lit in the colours of Rubik’s Cube. “I never imagined the Cube would become as universal as it has, “said Rubik. “I’m hoping that this wonderful exhibition will finally answer the question of why: Why has the cube connected with hundreds of millions of people everywhere on Earth?”
determined - eltökélt, határozott
to solve - megoldani
patent - szabadalom
sculpture - szobrászat
University of Technology - Műszaki Egyetem
interior design - belsőépítészet
teaching aid - taneszköz
to realize - rájönni
demonstration tool - bemutató eszköz
it’s all the rage - divatba jött
estimated - becsült
to overcome - legyőzni
comic - képregény
staggering - döbbenetes
to twist - eltekerni
to assemble - összeállítani, összeszerelni
competition - verseny
to acknowledge - elismerni
to catch on - népszerűvé válik
exhibition - kiállítás
to be worth - ér valamennyit
gem - drágakő
to be lit - kivilágítják
to connect with - kapcsolódik valakihez