The Rubik’s Cube Turns 50

by | Jul 1, 2024 | Science

Bright and early on the first Saturday in January, Tomas Rokicki and a few hundred fellow enthusiasts gathered in a vast lecture hall at the Moscone Center in downtown San Francisco. A big math conference was underway and Rokicki, a retired programmer based in Palo Alto, California, had helped organize a two-day special session about “serious recreational mathematics” celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Rubik’s Cube. Erno Rubik, the Cube’s inventor, was top of the show at 8 a.m., via videoconference from the south of Spain.Rubik, a Hungarian architect, designer, sculptor and retired professor, took part in a Q&A session with Rokicki and his co-organizers, Erik Demaine, a computer scientist at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Robert Hearn, a retired computer scientist, of Portola Valley, California.Rokicki asked Rubik about the first time he solved the Cube: “Did you solve corners-first?”Sign up for The Morning newsletter from the New York TimesThese days, new cubers learn on YouTube, watching tutorials at 1.5x speed. Rokicki instead recommends the old-fashioned strategy: Set out on a lone path and discover a solving method, even if it takes weeks or months. (It took computer scientist Donald Knuth less than 12 hours, starting at his dining table in the eve …

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[mwai_chat context=”Let’s have a discussion about this article:nnBright and early on the first Saturday in January, Tomas Rokicki and a few hundred fellow enthusiasts gathered in a vast lecture hall at the Moscone Center in downtown San Francisco. A big math conference was underway and Rokicki, a retired programmer based in Palo Alto, California, had helped organize a two-day special session about “serious recreational mathematics” celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Rubik’s Cube. Erno Rubik, the Cube’s inventor, was top of the show at 8 a.m., via videoconference from the south of Spain.Rubik, a Hungarian architect, designer, sculptor and retired professor, took part in a Q&A session with Rokicki and his co-organizers, Erik Demaine, a computer scientist at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Robert Hearn, a retired computer scientist, of Portola Valley, California.Rokicki asked Rubik about the first time he solved the Cube: “Did you solve corners-first?”Sign up for The Morning newsletter from the New York TimesThese days, new cubers learn on YouTube, watching tutorials at 1.5x speed. Rokicki instead recommends the old-fashioned strategy: Set out on a lone path and discover a solving method, even if it takes weeks or months. (It took computer scientist Donald Knuth less than 12 hours, starting at his dining table in the eve …nnDiscussion:nn” ai_name=”RocketNews AI: ” start_sentence=”Can I tell you more about this article?” text_input_placeholder=”Type ‘Yes'”]
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