Weird & Wonderful

The World of Maths beyond the Textbooks!

It’s Mathematics Day on December 22 and this article is dedicated to maths lovers across the world. Some of us love maths, while others dread it. But whether you love or hate it, you have to admit that mathematics is cool and sassy and has a rich and vibrant history. Let’s delve in!

Illustration of young girl playing with a Rubik's cube.
Illustration: © Rama Ramesh

The 43 quintillion puzzle: the amazing Rubik’s cube

For years since its invention, the Rubik’s cube was one of the most coveted toys not just among kids, but adults, too. Apart from entertainment, it also offered bragging rights! With six sides of different colours, 21 total pieces and 54 surfaces on the outside, the standard Rubik’s cube can be solved in 43 quintillion ways (43 followed by 8 zeroes — that’s more than the number of grains on the Earth’s surface and possibly more than the number of stars in our observable universe). Yet, this ingenious puzzle that relies on permutations and combinations can be solved in 20 movements! The World Cube Association and speed-cubing bring together fans from around the world who think this puzzle toy is just too ‘cubetiful’!

Cover of the December 2023 issue of The Teenager Today — a Christmas Special!

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Rama Ramesh is a creative writer who has written stories and features for children’s magazines and has co-authored a series of nanotechnology books for kids.

Rama Ramesh

Rama Ramesh is a creative writer who has written stories and features for children’s magazines and has co-authored a series of nanotechnology books for kids.