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Solving the Rubik’s puzzle: Sixth Former Imogen cracks the cube

Friday 13 November 2020
Since 1974, when Erno Rubik developed a movable art piece for his architecture students, which then became his first 'Magic Cube', the Rubik's Cube has provided enjoyment and frustration in equal measure for puzzle players across the globe. Whilst reaching the height of its popularity in the early 1980s, 'cubing' continues to captivate puzzle fans and competitors regularly pit their solving skills against the clock and each other at national and international competitions. Last weekend at the Red Bull Rubik's Cube World Cup, British record holder Chris Mills, an engineering student from Surrey, solved the cube in 8.288 seconds, securing him 12th place. Pipping Chris to the post was American speed-cuber Max Park who cracked the cube in an incredible 5.87 seconds, making him the World Champion.

So why should we all dust off our Rubik's Cubes and attempt to join the 5.8% of the population who can beat the the cube?
Muscle memory - solving a Rubik's Cube improves your 'muscle memory' just like using a keyboard or playing a piano. Experienced cubers can recall multiple solution algorithms whilst twisting the cube, all at lightning speed. Faster reflexes - these speedy reflexes will not only help with cubing, but also visually identifying items more quickly, typing faster and messaging on mobile devices more proficiently. Focus - concentrating on the cube also helps players to improve their focus, a skill often impacted by living in the digital age. Patience - this puzzle requires dogged perseverance and may improve your patience generally. Problem solving - Erno Rubik said "The problems of puzzles are very near the problems of life". Teaching ourselves to solve the cube can boost our wider problem solving skills and support independent learning. It teaches us to break down an issue into smaller components and to address each one in turn.

Here at Queenswood, we have our very own Rubik's Cube star, Imogen in the Lower Sixth. Imogen taught herself to crack the cube in an afternoon and is now designing and crafting her own cube for her Extended Project Qualification.

If you would like to have a go at solving the Rubik's Cube you may want to use this helpful solution guide shared by Mr Payne, Head of Maths at Queenswood.

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