Rubik's Cube Part 1- by Grace

You might have seen many people whipping out little cubes with colourful squares all over them, and turning it row by row, column by column, until all the sides have the same colour. You might even do it yourself: in which case you’ll know that I’m talking about the Rubik’s Cube, a gadget which has increased in popularity lately.

Now, I can’t solve it myself (I always said I’d learn, but guess what, I haven’t), but my brother can and I’ve always watched him spin it expertly round, or lubricate it slowly and carefully, with awe. It’s an item of interest to me, and one day when I find the time, I might just borrow his and try to solve it. Who knows?

Do you play with the Rubik’s Cube? Some do it for fun, while others do it competitively. The World Cube Organisation (WCA) takes charge of such competitions, which aren’t just for the cube. The competitions also involve other puzzles labeled as ‘Rubik puzzles’ or ‘twisty puzzles’ since they are played by twisting the sides of the object. On September 19-21 this year, in Spain, the European Rubik’s Cube Championship 2008 will take place, and people from around the world will compete to win the official European Championship titles.

Maybe you don’t play it competitively, but you might want to know a little bit of history behind this multicoloured gadget. Erno Rubik was a Hungarian professor of interior design, and he was interested in finding out how the blocks could move independently without falling apart. After he had fixed the little blocks together, he marked each side with colourful adhesive paper and twisted the cube, thus inventing the Rubik’s Cube puzzle in the spring of 1974, when he wanted to discover ‘the way home’, back to the original cube with each side having the same colour.

Something you might not have known before is that it’s much, much easier to solve the Cube quickly when you’ve lubricated it. This can be easily done by placing a tissue on the table, or wherever you’re doing it (it can get a little messy so try to keep your surface clean), take apart the Cube and, using Vaseline (you can buy it in small containers), lubricate it.

Rubik’s cubes are available in sizes as small as 2 x 2, or even 6 x 6. The one most people use is 3 x 3.

Now that you know a bit more about the Rubik’s Cube around the world and its history, look out for Rubik’s Cube: Part 2, by Shawnie, which will attempt to teach you how to solve the cube!

Information was taken from http://inventors.about.com/od/rstartinventions/a/Rubik_Cube.htm, and from Rubik’s official site, http://www.rubiks.com/. The picture was taken from http://yuripanda.deviantart.com/art/Rubik-s-Cube-83023469.

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