For Fun – and Mathematics

This was a real “blast from the past” for me.

This week, Google celebrated the 40th anniversary of the Rubik’s Cube.  Who doesn’t remember the frustration of trying to solve this exasperating puzzle?  I can recall friends who took theirs, tore off the little coloured stickers and reapplied them as one way to “solve” the puzzle!  I don’t exactly recall how, but there did come a time when I learned how to solve the puzzle.  Once solved, it was then a task to solve it faster and faster.  I’ll be honest; while I don’t recall how I learned, I will admit to spending way, way too much time doing so!

Google’s presentation not only paid tribute to the puzzle but allowed you to at least try to solve the puzzle via your computer.  Like all Google Doodles, it remains online.  You can drive yourself crazy here.

Since it’s confession time, I’ll publically admit that I have lost the touch.  Moving from the physical device to a virtual one, plus the passing of years has left me cube-deficient.

A very good question would be – how many different ways can the colours of the cube be displayed?

That’s where this fabulous read comes into the picture.  Mathematics of the Rubik’s Cube breaks it all down for you.  Just a warning before you click the link – there’s a very active image with a great deal of flashing on the screen if that sort of thing bothers you.  I’ll shortcut you to the answer.  43 quintillion.  Read on to discover how the author made the calculation, along with a number of other fascinating facts about the cube.

Who says that mathematics can’t be fun?

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