Ernő Rubik (pictured) . Born in Hungary in 1944, he became a professor of architecture. Also a sculptor. And an inventor. Of course his best-known invention’s his eponymous cube . He devised it in 1974 and it went on sale in 1980, i.e. 30 years ago. Originally called the Magic Cube and later Rubik’s Cube, it has 54 tiles , i.e. nine tiles of each of six colours. Figuratively it took the world by storm. It sold millions. Me? Like many people, I bought one early on. I solved it a few times by chance, but I couldn’t nut out a method of how to solve it. So I lost interest in it. And eventually I lost it. Or I gave it away. But judging by the internet, it’s still popular. The current world record for solving it’s 7.08 seconds . Wow! Incidentally, cookbook solutions are available to cheaters . Other versions of the cube have been marketed . But predictably Rubik’s original 54-tiled cube’s remained the most popular version. And an industry’s grown up around it . Apparently Ernő Rubik’s somewhat reclusive and media shy. But ten days ago he was interviewed on Science Friday . And last week he attended in person to receive a Lifetime Science Education Achievement Award from the inaugural USA Science & Engineering Festival  (on whose Advisory Board he sits). Well may he deserve it. But he’s a man who’s caused countless people untold anguish and frustration. Me included. Ho hum.
2 days ago