Erno Rubik is a name that is known worldwide…well, maybe not the name Erno, but certainly the name Rubik. Erno Rubik Jr was born on July 13, 1944, in Budapest, Hungary, to Erno Rubik Sr, a flight engineer at the Esztergom aircraft factory, and Magdolna Szántó, a poet. He was born during World War II and has lived all of his life in Hungary. He credits his father as his inspiration for his successes. The younger Rubik became famous for inventing the Rubik’s Cube and other puzzles, but his work isn’t all about puzzles. In fact, much of his recent work involves the promotion of science in education. Rubik is also involved with several organizations such as Beyond Rubik’s Cube, the Rubik Learning Initiative, and the Judit Polgar Foundation. All of these organizations aim to engage students in science, mathematics, and problem solving at a young age.
All his life, the younger Rubik displayed artistic abilities. He attended the Secondary School of Fine and Applied Arts, from 1958 to 1962, specializing in sculpture. He attended the Budapest University of Technology from 1962 to 1967, where he also became a member of the Architecture Faculty. He then attended the Hungarian Academy of Applied Arts and was in the Faculty of Interior Architecture and Design from 1967 to 1971. While a professor of design at the academy, Rubik pursued his hobby of building geometric models. One of these became the prototype of his cube. It was made of 27 wooden blocks, with seems common to Rubik’s Cube experts of today, but when it was built, it actually took Rubik a month to solve the problem of the cube!! Go figure!! As of June 2018, the world record for solving the Rubik’s Cube is 4.22 seconds.
The Rubik’s Cube proved to be a useful tool for teaching algebraic group theory, and in late 1977 Konsumex, Hungary’s state trading company, began marketing it. From there, in 1980, the Rubik’s Cube went global. It was marketed throughout the world, and over 100 million authorized units, with an estimated 50 million unauthorized imitations, were sold, mostly during its subsequent three years of popularity. I guess you could say that Erno Rubik had arrived!! Approximately 50 books were published describing how to solve the puzzle of Rubik’s Cube. Following his cube’s popularity, Rubik opened a studio to develop designs in 1984. One of the products that came out of that studio was another popular puzzle toy, Rubik’s Magic.