Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The Man Behind the Magic Cube

Nearly everyone has one, and almost everyone has used one - I'm talking about the best selling toy of all time of course, the Rubik's cube! Released internationally in 1980, the Rubik's cube is still considered one of the world's foremost puzzle toys, yet nobody knows the creative mind behind the cube.
Born in Hungary near the end of World War II, ErnÅ‘ Rubik grew up studying the arts. An architect by trade, Rubik's motivation in creating the cube had nothing to do with math or technology, but rather was rooted in his fascination with physical space. Rubik always wondered how objects could interact with the things around them, and how space played a role in the functions of these objects. He wanted to experiment and push the boundaries of space to see how it could be altered.

As a professor of architecture at the Budapest College of Applied Arts, Rubik was searching for ways to challenge his students; and after some experimenting in the wood shop of the university, he came out with the first prototype of his well know cube.

In regards to Ward, Finke, and Smith, Rubik is an evident creative. According to them, forming mental images leads to creativity. They state that mental images allow people to determine spatial relations and transformations. That people can manipulate objects in space with their mind and see how these objects might act. Rubik was interested in precisely these aspects of space, but was looking to represent them physically rather than just mentally - hence the Rubik's cube. It was Rubik's understanding of space and the manipulations possible that displayed his true creativity. Then, by sharing his imagination in the form of the cube, Rubik hoped to provoke thought and creativity in others.

Since his creation of the cube, Rubik has been active - he has created more puzzles, designed furniture, and become a tenured professor. However, Rubik is interested in leaving behind a different legacy. Claiming his life and success is a direct result of his education and schooling, Rubik is trying to bring opportunities to young minds. He founded the International Rubik Foundation to support talented engineers and designers, and performs lectures and tours focused on promoting education. Whether through his current efforts or from the concept created over 35 years ago, Rubik and his cube continue to inspire children to imagine space differently and engage in creative thought.


  1. It's amazing how one man's simple curiosity and exploration thereof can result in such a huge craze. I remember in middle school there was a period when every single person had their own Rubik's Cube and was set on memorizing the algorithms to solve it, yet none of us ever thought to find out who had created this timeless toy. I feel that this happens way too often, and that people need to be more aware of the creative individuals who have so much to offer, so thank you for sharing this.

  2. Wow! This is the first time I am hearing about Rubik the man, and it's awesome to know that his motivation for the cube came from a desire to challenge his students. Lately, so many of the creatives that I have been reading about seem to be educators or mentors, and I think it is interesting to take that particular role into account when examining the creativity of individuals. The creative has such a fundamental grasp on their field of work that they are now a source of knowledge for others and in that process, they arrive at something unique and innovating.

  3. I was very surprised he was an art student! I figured he would have been a math major or something along those lines. This post reminded me a lot of the presentation on Nick Metzler. I wonder if Rubik's upbringing had as much of an effect on his creativity as Metzler's did. Thanks for sharing this with everyone!


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