Péter Sebestény

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Péter Sebestény
Background Information
Born: 31 December 1946 (age 73)
Years Active:
WCA ID: [1]
Claim to Fame: Rubik's Revenge

Péter Sebestény is the Hungarian-born inventor of the 4x4x4 Cube or Rubik's Revenge.

Péter Sebestény was born 31 December 1946 in Budapest, Hungary. His father was in the film distribution business before the Second World War, and his mother worked as a fashion designer. He studied mathematics in 1966 at the Loránd Eötvös University of Budapest, and he also studied architecture at the Technical University in Budapest. Between 1973 and 1975 he worked as a mathematician and computer programmer at the Hungarian Ministry of Finance. Fed up with the political and economic situation in communist Hungary, he left Hungary in 1980, moving to Hamburg, Germany.

He got the idea for making a 4x4x4 Rubik's Cube in Autumn 1980, when a marketing friend suggested he should make one. Sebestény had previously seen the concept of 4x4x4 Cube discussed as a theoretical concept in the writings of David Singmaster. Sebestény studied the problem further and discovered that a 4x4x4 cube could be engineered:

The crucial point was whether an internal sphere in the large 4x4x4 cube could reach and hold a small unit cube at the corner. I made some elementary calculations that took only one minute or two and found out, to my great surprise, that a 4x4x4 cube was feasible. To construct the rest of cube was not that difficult. I came to the idea of splitting the centre axis of the 3x3x3 into four parts and let the parts rotate freely around a core. They were held in place by shield-formed parts. These centre parts held the edge and corner pieces, preventing the cube from falling apart. Basically I had the solution in some 15 minutes.

Many engineering challenges remained, in particular he had to invent a "blocking system of different spherical triangles" to ensures that the core always moves along with one half of the cube when the half sides are rotated.

It took about two months to make all the necessary calculations and the drawings of the various parts of the cube. He applied for a patent for the 4x4x4 cube on the 3rd February 1981. After negotiations, he signed a contract with Ideal Toys (sellers of the original Rubik's Cube), assigning them the patent rights, ensuring Sebestény got paid a royalty for each cube they sold. He originally hoped to call it "Sebestény's Cube", but he abandoned this idea and let it be called "Rubik's Revenge" (or "Rubik's Master Cube" in parts of Europe).

He has since worked as a Computer Software Consultant, and moved to Wiesbaden, near Frankfurt. In 2004 he was a guest at the European Cube Championship in Amsterdam, on the invitation of Ton Dennenbroek. He regards the 4x4x4 cube as the "only achievement that most probably will survive me."


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