The Starting Line: A Cube Competition

The summer between my freshman and sophomore years, my brother learned to solve a Rubik’s Cube. After a two-hour teaching session, I too could solve the Rubik’s Cube—in 10 minutes and with a sheet of notes. I became quite dedicated during my sophomore year, to the detriment of my Ph 12a final exam, and practiced more hours than I should have to bring those 10 minutes down to 30 seconds. Soon, my housemates in Fleming had joined me in my new hobby—Mithun Diwakar (BS ’06) and Mark Polinkovsky (BS ’06) were particularly involved—and the Rubik’s Cube craze spread to other communities at Caltech. I played violin in the Caltech orchestra, and fellow musicians Leyan Lo (BS ’07) and Shelley Chang (BS ’07) quickly became hooked on the cube as well. We had all become “speed cubers”—poor souls addicted to the art of solving the Rubik’s Cube faster.

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Photo: Jenny K. Somerville