Nightly News   |  April 27, 2014

The Rubik’s Cube Is 40 and It’s Still an Enigma for Some

The Rubik’s cube has spent four decades twisting, turning and trying to get us to hit the right single solution to solve the beloved puzzle.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> when you hold it, so compact, so symmetrical, it doesn't seem like it would be so hard to solve. but still, we try. 40 years after it was first introduced, it would go on to become the most popular puzzle of all time. nbc 's kristen dahlgren tonight on the twisted pleasures of rubik 's cube.

>> it is a sort of puzzle called rubk cube, hugely popular, selling in the millions. and if you let it, it will drive you crazy.

>> reporter: there was a time it was everywhere.

>> the idea is to get it back like this. i can only do it with two of them because i can't get this one back to this original state.

>> reporter: but if you think the rubik 's cube lost its luster somewhere in the mid-'80s --

>> go!

>> reporter: -- meet anthony brooks . he can complete a cube in less than ten seconds. brooks is one of thousands celebrating the cube's 40th birthday at a new exhibit at new jersey's liberty science center . for the rest of us, the cube is still fascinatingly frustrating.

>> almost. almost.

>> painful.

>> reporter: there are 43 quintillion ways to twist it and just one solution. paul hoffman teameded up with google for the icon worthy exhibit.

>> thing is something in the human condition that we want to restore order to chaos, that we like patterns.

>> reporter: there is q-bart, an 18-carat golden crusted cube. even a robot who will solve the puzzle in 20 steps or less and then rub it in a little.

>> oh, it's taunting us!

>> reporter: the cube was born in 1974 in the imagination of this man, erno rubik .

>> you never call it the rubik 's cube?

>> no, it's my cube.

>> reporter: first created as a teaching tool for his students. some 40 toy makers turned him away. he has now sold 350 million. count illegal knockoffs and that number is over a billion. ten million are still sold every year.

>> it's fun. i like moving my fingers quickly.

>> reporter: creating a new generation of cubers and ensuring the classic toy won't stop turning any time soon. kristen dahlgren, nbc news, jersey city , new jersey.

>> and i'm done! that's " nbc nightly news" for this sunday. not really. brian williams will be here tomorrow. i'm lester