It's a puzzle, a metaphor and a hit toy _ and in a couple of years, the Rubik's Cube will be a museum exhibition in celebration of its 40th anniversary.
The toy's creator, Erno Rubik, 67, is being honored Friday at a gala at the Liberty Science Center in Jersey City. He has traveled from his native Budapest, Hungary, to help develop the exhibit, which will open in April 2014.
The exhibit is scheduled to travel for seven years to design and science museums around the world.
Rubik was an architect teaching a class at the Budapest College of Applied Arts in 1974 when he decided to build a cube to teach students about 3D space. He soon realized it could become a hit toy when students and fellow teachers couldn't put it down.
It was mass-marketed in the West in 1980 and has been an enduring sales hit, selling more than 500 million all over the world, not counting the counterfeits, according to Rubik.
Rubik insists he "discovered" the cube rather, than invented it.
"In my view it's part of nature, and it's not an artificial object; it's a natural one," he said.
One feature of the exhibit is a diamond-encrusted version created by Fred Cuellar, the founder of Diamond Cutters International, a company that creates NFL championship rings and other high-profile jewelry.
"My dad puts a Rubik's Cube into my hand and I remember looking at it and thinking "God, I feel good. I couldn't explain it," he said.
"You can learn it. You can learn it from other people, you can learn it from books, you can learn it from different notes, and explanations on the Internet, but the best is if you find your own solution," he said.