Start with twenty-seven cube-shaped boxes, lots of packing tape, and a
group of helpers.
Phase 1 is to tape up the boxes into two-foot cubes. Neatness
Work in a big space. We're in the Stony Brook University Computer
Science building lobby.
We've now proudly mastered the individual cube. (Don't sit on them!)
Phase 2 is to join cubes into the soma shapes, being careful to have
each team do a different shape.
Having a set of small models helps, especially for getting the two
chiral ones correct.
OK, all seven parts are done. End of phase 2.
Phase 3: Build a 3-by-3-by-3 cube. How hard can it be when there
are 240 different solutions?
It is slower than you think, as each move takes group coordination and
Phase 4: After the cube, there are lots of other challenges to
This is either The Dog
or The Sphinx
, depending on who you
Here is The Tunnel
The top of The Skyscraper
pretty high. What to do?
Luckily, there is a balcony around this lobby.
fourteen feet tall.
What happened to the parts later is a mystery, but there are
rumors of a 14-foot dinosaur being seen on campus that night...
My favorite is The Sphinx
The Soma puzzle was designed by Piet Hein in the 1930s.
There are lots more challenges on the websites here
, from which
I borrowed these drawings.
The boxes for this event were provided by The
, where attendees
can play with many cool things, including more giant Soma and other big
This project appeared as part of the Math Monday
series on the
Makezine blog, sponsored by the Museum of Mathematics