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The Soma Dice, Once more » Cleve’s Nook: Cleve Moler on Arithmetic and Computing

The Soma Dice brings again recollections.


Piet Hein

Piet Hein (1905-1996) was a rare Danish inventor, mathematician, poet and thinker. He invented the Soma Dice puzzle in 1933. I wrote a weblog publish about Hein and a few of his creations a number of years in the past, Soma Dice 2016.

The Soma Dice puzzle has seven items. Considered one of them is a V-shaped piece produced from three cubelets. The opposite six items are L, T, Z, R, S, and Y with 4 cubelets every. That is a complete of 27 cubelets, simply sufficient to make a 3-by-3-by-3 dice. Sound acquainted?

Invoice McKeeman

Invoice McKeeman and I have been buddies in grad college. He was a professor at U. C. Santa Cruz for some time, after which on the ill-fated Wang Institute of Graduate Research in Tyngsborough, Mass. He labored for DEC in New Hampshire for a very long time, taught compilers at Dartmouth, and even consulted for the MathWorks. As an train to study MATLAB, he wrote the fashionable model of our why command.

The unique soma demo

Invoice and I grew to become obsessive about the Soma dice after Martin Gardiner described the puzzle in his Scientific American column. You might not have seen it earlier than, however certainly one of Invoice’s applications, soma, is within the MATLAB demos listing. Invoice generated all the 240 distinctly totally different puzzle options and saved them in a 240-by-27 matrix, demos/somasols. His program enables you to web page via the options.

A brand new Soma demo

My new Soma code makes use of expertise from Qube, the digital Rubik’s Dice simulator, to plot the 240 options. Listed here are the seven Soma items, surrounding an animation stepping via each tenth resolution.

Do you acknowledge the colours?

Software program

Soma is offered from this hyperlink. You have already got somasols, however one other copy is offered from this hyperlink.


I’ve mixed my new show code and McKeeman’s previous program that finds all of the options. The self-extracting archive is offered at <>

Revealed with MATLAB® R2022b



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