Soma cube

Though this blog mainly concentrates on logical puzzles, this post is about the Soma Cube, invented by Danish scientist Piet Hein in 1933 during a lecture on quantum physics. The name SOMA may be related to the name of an array.

It is a solid dissection puzzle, where a 3x3x3 cube is divided into 7 pieces:
Somacube pieces
You can easily create your own set with a saw and some wood glue.

The Soma cube has been discussed in detail by Martin Gardner and John Horton Conway, and the book Winning Ways for your Mathematical Plays contains a detailed analysis of the Soma cube problem. There are 240 distinct solutions of the Soma cube puzzle, excluding rotations and reflections.

Piet Hein also published or authorized a booklet with puzzles. I found a copy here. However, I found 2 figures with a number of blocks less than 27, so I have discarded them and added two of the problems listed below in this file.

Here are some problems I did not find elsewhere on the web:
soma cube figure c01
soma cube figure c02
soma cube figure c03
soma cube figure c04
soma cube figure c05
soma cube figure c06 (Thanks go to fellow consultant Harrie Jans for this one!)
soma cube figure c07
soma cube figure c08

Many people noticed that the pieces used are not all tetracubes, and the tricube is a strange duck in the pond. In response several people have suggested something dubbed Soma+, but that is a subject for a different post in this blog.

There is an awful lot of literature on the web. Here are some links:
* Thorleif Bundgaard collected a very nice and very extensive collection of figures which can be made with the soma cube pieces.
* Chapter 24: Pursuing Puzzles Purposefully from the book “Winning Ways II “
* Article on english wikipedia on soma cube
* Article on englsih wikipedia on tetrominoes
* List of figures
* All 240 solutions to the cube
* Instructions for making a soma cube

If you solved it, we have the solution to nr 1, nr 2, nr 3, nr 4, nr 5, nr 6, nr 7, and nr 8


One thought on “Soma cube

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.