Unfortunately, this didn’t happen when I was home, but Chris told me all about it. My sister got Aaron a Rubik’s Cube for Christmas, and he enjoys messing around with it. The cube was in one of its 4.3 x 1019 configurations, and, according to Chris, sufficiently randomized. Well, Aaron looked over the cube and then he started twisting. Then he’d stop, look at it a little more, and start twisting again. After six or seven minutes of effort, he had the cube looking like this.
He handed the cube to Chris and told her to finish it because he couldn’t figure out how to do it himself. I wish I had been there to see the look on her face. She told Aaron that she didn’t know how to do it either, so they’d have to wait until I got home. When I got home, they showed me the cube. I took the pictures and then finished it for him.
Is my boy a mathematical genius? Could be, but that has nothing to do with nearly solving the cube. Cue up my inner skeptic: the cube was probably in a friendly configuration that just looked random: (RDLU)n, or something like that that’s easy to undo. Nevertheless, it’s pretty cool that Aaron took it as far as he did, and as soon as he’s ready, I’m going to teach him group theory.