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Rubik's Cube Still Turning Our Logic at 40

The Rubik’s cube turns 40-years-old this year, and yet some of us still are unable to solve it quickly.
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The colorful, cubed puzzle has become synonymous with ‘80s pop culture, but the Rubik’s Cube actually was created in the ‘70s by a Hungarian teacher.

When creator Erno Rubik first thought of the idea for the brainteaser, he said he didn’t envision it would have such longevity. For him, it began in 1974 when he was a third-year teacher and looking for a way to engage his students.

“I was searching about interesting tasks for them and for myself. I was, in age, I was very close to them,” Rubik said. “I liked to teach to learn together.”

That was more than 300 million Rubik’s cubes ago, and that figure doesn’t include the sales of illegal copies of the puzzle. The achievement is stunning by any measure and perhaps more so considering Rubik had to convince toy manufacturers that his invention was destined for marketplace success.

“It was a dream. And in three years we sold out more than 100 million,” he said.

The world knows the twisting, turning toy by its inventor’s name, but he calls it something different.

“I have called it magic, because for me it was really magic,” Rubik said. “That's my cube.”

That magic has translated into generations of cube lovers and an exhibit at the Liberty Science Center, where “the world's first museum exhibition about the Rubik's Cube” is hosted. It showcases artists’ works using Rubik’s cubes to make mosaics, said Liberty Science Center CEO Paul Hoffman.

The display has 7,000 square feet devoted to the toy’s history, engineering and art, according to the exhibition’s website.

“I say the power of the cube is the potential of simplicity,” Rubik said. “If you have something so simple and at the same time, so complex, that gives the power and that's one thing.”