A classic Rubik’s Cube has six differently coloured faces, is made up of 27 pieces, and has over 43 quintillion possible combinations. In other words, if you twist the cube one turn per second without pausing, it will take you 1.37 trillion years to generate every combination. That’s about 100 times the age of our universe!
This three-dimensional, twisty puzzle was invented by Hungarian sculptor and professor of architecture Ernő Rubik in 1974, and was originally created as a way to demonstrate it was possible to create a mechanism that would rotate in all three dimensions without falling apart. The commercial release of the Rubik’s Cube in 1980 was met with an explosion of popularity, and it quickly became a cultural icon of the decade. That same year, it won Best Puzzle at Germany’s Game of the Year awards.
As cubing grew in popularity, people started challenging each other in speed-solving competitions. A wide range of puzzle solving methods and algorithms were developed. When beginners are first introduced to cubing, they’ll often learn the layer-by-layer method — a simple strategy which allows anyone to solve a cube in only seven steps. Experienced cubers use more advanced methods, such as ZZ or Roux. Using these methods, world record holders can easily solve a cube in under 10 seconds. In the 1980s, Jessica Fridrich invented the CFOP technique, which has since become one of the most popular speed-solving methods due to its efficiency and simple steps. Many more methods have been developed for various other twisty puzzles, including the 3-Style for blindfolded Rubik’s Cube solving.
The first world championship event was held in 1982 in Budapest, with American Minh Thai setting the first world record time of 22.95 seconds. The current Rubik’s Cube world record is held by Yusheng Du with an insane time of 3.47 seconds! The World Cube Association was established in 2004 and is now responsible for announcing and hosting official cubing competitions. The Association recognises 17 events, and sets up a ranking leader board where cubers can view their positions around the world.
In Australia, a legendary cuber named Feliks Zemdegs is well-known in the community. Throughout his 14 years of cubing, he has won over 690 gold medals and broken 121 world records! His persistence and passion for cubing has remarkably influenced the younger generation to be interested in speed-solving cubes.
A common misconception is that Rubik’s Cubes are impossible to solve by the vast majority of the population. This is simply not true. With some simple guidance from online tutorials or experienced cubers, you’ll realise that it’s a far easier task than you imagined. By learning the beginner method, anyone should be able to solve a cube in two days. Another misconception is that you need to be good at math to understand the cube. The truth is, after you solve it a few times and apply some pre-existing algorithms, you’ll quickly understand how it works. By 2022, it’s expected that over 400 million people will be able to solve a Rubik’s Cube.
There are so many benefits in learning how to cube or in joining the speed-solving community, including gaining opportunities to socialise with players around the world, improving stress management, and exercising your mind. Here at the university, the QUT Qube Club (‘Qube’) is the place where you can learn to solve a Rubik’s Cube and socialise with other cubers. Established in 2019, the club has organised over 50 seminars and numerous cross-university competitions. During these seminars, we teach beginners how to solve Rubik’s Cubes, give members the chance to experience a range of shape-mod twisty puzzles, and provide the opportunity for advanced cubers to share their tips and tricks. A successful case was recorded where a member could independently solve a standard 3×3 cube after attending just two seminars! In 2023, Qube is planning to host the first World Cube Association cubing competition at QUT. We welcome every student to come and attend our events!
We are QUT Qube Club, a club that is really passionate about Rubik’s Cube! Each semester we run fortnightly seminars to help beginners develop advance Qubers’ skills. We are open to all QUT students under the QUT Guild’s program.