Wednesday, 29 January 2020

8! x 3^7 x (12!/2) x 2^11

On this day in 1980 at the British Toy and Hobby Fair, the mechanical puzzle (see previously) by Hungarian architect and professor Ernล‘ Rubik had its international debut.
Demonstrating a prototype to his students around 1974 and seeing the positive reception, Rubik sought out a manufacturer, originally calling it his Magic Cube (Bลฑvรถskocka), and licensed the design to Ideal Toys—formerly known for their line of dolls that included Betsy Wetsy and Rub-a-Dub Doggie, in 1979 for wider distribution under the name Rubik’s Cube. Among his influences, the polymath and educator lists MC Escher for grappling with impossible configurations and contemplating the nature of infinity within the permissible. Discounting the strictures of the mechanics of the cube (only seven of the eight corners can be independently articulated and there are only twelve possible orbits for each square, there are forty three quintillion permutations—that is, if a cube were to represent each possible state a stack of them would tower over two-hundred and sixty light-years high, scraping the sky beyond of our Stellar Neighbourhood.