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Rubik’s cube and beyond

It has huge fan basis all around the world, but only a few knows it is a Hungarian invention. Or has it changed? The 40th anniversary of the invention is celebrated even in New Jersey!

The idea of Ernő Rubik doesn’t have to be presented to anybody, the toy is very popular since its 1974 invention all over the world. The architect originally designed a puzzle to represent spatial movements to his students; finally he created a cube which contains nine squares in each faces. Faces of the game have different colors, and it can be turned along its three axes.


But did you know that there are different kinds of cubes? Have you ever heard about the World Championship of Rubik’s cube? Did you know that magic cube is sold in the highest number of all toys over the world? Do you know who Tom Kremer is? Do you know other toys by Ernő Rubik?


Varied form, exciting world championship


For the first look Rubik’s cube is an artwork. There are other types of the cube beside the original 3x3x3, for example Rubik’s Revenge which is 4x4x4 and the Professor’s Cube with its 5x5x5 form or the 7x7x7 variation. However, the cube is not the only formation; it could be tetrahedron, dodecahedron, sphere or even mushroom.

The magic cube is so popular by now that world championship has been organized regularly. The world record of the original 3×3×3 cube is 5.55 seconds. But there are several categories such as playing with different sized cubes, with one hand, blindfolded and even with feet. It is proved that the cube can be solved from any starting position within a maximum of 20 steps. But it is also true that there are around 43 trillion different compositions.


And what about you? Have you ever solved the mystery of the cube?


Without whom this dream would have never come true…


At the beginning, Ernő Rubik did not find any company that would have seen potential in his invention. After contacting 40 toy factories and different design companies, he met Tom Kremer in 1979. The subsequent founder of Seven Towns Ltd. toy factory could see the fantasy in the magic cube immediately. So the little firm became a huge, billion dollar company and the cube became a world known invention.


Rubik’ toys


The Rubik’s cube has several roles in movies, it appeared not only in the Hungarian film “Magyar Vándor”, but in Hellboy, Harry Potter and even in Armageddon. Moreover, it had some scene in the Pursuit of Happiness, in Amazing Spiderman, and in The Machinist as well. The game gave inspiration beside the movies to the music, fashion, architecture, theatre and to political speeches. There is even a substantive artistic movement which is called “Rubikcubism”.


However, the magic cube is not the only invention of Ernő Rubik, there are two other less known toys too. One of them is the Rubik's Magic. The puzzle consists of 8 black square tiles and has a special construction which allows the squares to attach in every position and form different shapes.

Rubik’s Snake is a very simple generative toy, which contains 12 dark and light triangles. Several different forms can be shaped from the snake just like in origami. Similar to the cube, the snake has infinite number of planar and spatial forms.


Exhibition in New Jersey


The exhibition has opened its doors in New Jersey in the middle of May and is celebrating the 40th anniversary of the cube. The exhibition was introduced by the 70 years old Ernő Rubik in the biggest scientific museum of the city, in the Liberty Science Center. It contains very special exhibits, for example a cube made of 18 carat gold with diamond, an 8 meters high cube, and a robot which can solve the puzzle. All of the toys, puzzles, stories, arts and engineer solutions of the exhibition in the 650 square meter big museum are inspired by the ideas of Ernő Rubik.

The „Beyond Rubik’s cube” exhibition can be visited for the next nine months in New Jersey, and then it is going to travel the world. It could be seen in Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Canada, but several European countries would like to host the exhibition as well.


The memorial is not just the idea of Americans. In Hungary, a whole museum will be built in honor of the cube, expectedly by 2017. Hopefully, the construction is going to start already this year. The museum will be placed next to Danube and will form a magic cube. It wishes to represent the Hungarian intellectual capacity and creativity.


Alexandra Soós


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