Being six when the Rubik’s Cube was hot back in the 80’s meant that each Christmas for a few years there you were guaranteed someone would get you one of the damned puzzles. For me the only thing worse than opening up a box Christmas Day and finding a Rubik’s Cube was opening that box and finding underwear.
The only way I was ever able to solve one of the things was by peeling the stickers off and rearranging them. One geek in the UK liked the cube so much that he decided to make a career in mathematics just to figure out the least number of moves that the thing could be solved in. It took the guy 30-years to get that answer.
According the man, Professor Morley Davidson from Kent State University the magic number of moves is 20. Some configurations can be solved in fewer moves than that though. Apparently finding the solution involved a “good PC” and about 30 seconds for each solution with about 20 billion possible configurations.