The Hungarian inventor gained international success with his brilliant brainchild, the world-famous Rubik’s Cube. Besides several acknowledgements, in 2014 he was awarded by honorary citizenship of Budapest.

The engineer-inventor was born on July 13, 1944, in Budapest. His father was an aircraft designer, thanks to whom Ernő Rubik inherited an inventive spirit that could be improved during his studies. In 1967, he graduated as an architect at Budapest University of Technology, that was followed by studying interior design at the Academy of Applied Arts from 1971. Then, he worked as an architect-designer and taught at the College of Applied Arts (recently called Moholy-Nagy University of Art) between 1970 and 1988.

In 1974, he designed his invention for teaching purposes – illustrating spatial movements and engineering modelling.


In an interview, he described how the idea of the “Magic Cube” was born – while teaching at the college; he was wondering how he could demonstrate 3D movement for students. The idea of the cube’s rotation mechanism was born by observing how water flew between the rocks of the River Danube – described by the Hungarian news portal

It turned out that the illustrational tool was an enjoyable game as well.

According to legends, Rubik’s Cube prototype was assembled by the Hungarian inventor after experimenting with wood, rubber and paper clips at his mother’s apartment. After some further developments, it reached its final version.


Rubik's Cube Hungarian invention

Initially, the Magic Cube did not have colours. In order to differentiate the units, he chose the primary colours, thanks to which its rotation became visible and tangible. He also admitted that it took him weeks to solve the riddle of the cube.

In 1975, by Ernő Rubik officially presented his invention which obtained a patent on October 28, 1976, under the name of “Three-dimensional puzzle game”. Soon, the cube became an amazing success among the players.

Rubik's Cube Rubik Ernő

Rubik’s Cube became the most popular game in the world; more than 500 million units have already been sold around the world.

International acknowledgements:

  • In 2014, for the inventor’s 70th birthday, an impressive exhibition was organised by the cooperation of Google in Jersey City.
  • At the exhibition “Beyond Rubik’s Cube” in Liberty Science Center – near to New York Statue of Liberty – various scientific fields are interactively presented to the audience. The exhibition – that was constructed from five million dollars shows how the cube affected arts and engineering sciences.
  • In 2014, a gigantic magic cube was floated down on the Hudson River, saluting the brilliant invention of Ernő Rubik.
  • Since 1987, Ernő Rubik is an Honorary Professor; 1990-1996 President of the Hungarian Academy of Engineering; 1996 – Honorary Chairman.

The following prizes have awarded his work:

  • 1983 – Hungarian State Prize for demonstrating and teaching 3D structures and for the various solutions that inspired scientific researches in several ways;
  • 1995 – Dénes Gabor Prize from the Novofer Foundation as an acknowledgement of achievements in the field of innovation;
  • 2007 – Kossuth Prize the most prestigious cultural award in Hungary;
  • 2009 – EU Ambassador of the Year of Creativity and Innovation;
  • 2010 – Prima Primissima Prize;
  • 2012 – My Country Awards;
  • 2014 – Grand Cross of the Order of Saint Stephen (The highest medal awarded by Hungary);
  • 2014 – Honorary Citizen of Budapest.


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