Everyone has tried to solve a Rubik’s Cube. Some search for algorithms and move each side of the cube for hours until the blue fades into green and suddenly everything becomes blurry. Others barely last a minute before they throw the aggravatingly bright colored cube across a room. For Collegiate sixth graders Jack (‘23) and Nat (‘23), the Rubik’s cube is not just a hobby, but a passion that they were eager to share.
The cube has been terrorizing its challengers for forty-three years. It was invented by Hungarian architect Erno Rubik, who, after putting it together, could not figure out how to solve the puzzle. There are 43 quintillion different ways to solve the cube, each involves different challenging algorithms that frustrate the cuber.
Jack and Nat are the pioneers of the Middle School Rubik’s Cube Club. The club is BYORC (Bring your own Rubik’s Cube) and currently thrives at eighteen members. Meetings are on Day 2 at 11:15 a.m. in Middle School humanities teacher Kate Cunningham’s classroom, F107.
Middle School Secretary (and my mom) Elisabeth Jacobs was impressed at how they thought of the idea themselves: “They really kept after us about it, they found a faculty member, a room, and a time to do it, all on their own. I think they even had to go in and talk to Mr. Blair.”
When Nat first solved the cube, she “had spent three hours on a youtube video memorizing everything, because it’s hard to get the moves down instantly.” Asked to rate her frustration on a scale of one to ten, she replied, “a nine, it was really frustrating. Each step just got harder and harder.” Nat can now solve the cube in an astounding 33.11 seconds.
Jack told me that he began cubing at “around the age of three,” but he could not solve the intricate cube until last summer. When asked how frustrated he was as a beginner, Jack had to think back a bit. “Like a ten,” he said, “It took me a really long time to figure out how to do it.” After hours of practice, Jack has become much more skilled and can complete the puzzle in just 50 seconds.
But what exactly does a Rubik’s Cube Club consist of? So far the two have only led one meeting, but Nat recalled that “it went a lot better than we expected.” Jack explained that they were able “to go through basic algorithms, and even [teach members to] finish the first layer.” While the club has eighteen members, Rubik’s Cube fans and other Middle Schoolers love to watch the two solve the cube. In fact, even while sitting in the Middle School front hall during our interview, I noticed the growing crowd of other Middle Schoolers gathering around us. I had to even break up the crowd as each one wanted a turn to scramble the cube.
By the end of our interview, I had heard Nat and Jack talk the talk, but could they walk the walk? I challenged each of them separately to a Rubik’s Cube off. Watch below.
Featured image by Mike Gonzalez via Wikimedia Commons.