Nearly 40 years ago, a Hungarian architecture professor, Emo Rubik, created a puzzle to use with his design students- a puzzle with 43 quintillion possible combinations and one solution. Within five years, it had been played by over 20% of the world’s population, and has so far sold over 350 million units (not counting “unofficial” versions).
As we twist and turn, we might spare a thought for Ulugh Beg; he died on this date in 1449. Probably Mongolia’s greatest scientist, Beg was a Timurid ruler and sultan, a mathematician, and the greatest astronomer of his time. In his observatory in at Samarkand he discovered a number of errors in the computations of the 2nd-century Alexandrian astronomer Ptolemy, whose figures were still being used; his star map (of 994 stars) was the first since Hipparchus’.