The Amazing Power of Domino

Domino is a small, flat, rectangular block used as gaming object. Also referred to as bones, men, cards, or pieces, the domino is typically twice as long as it is wide, and its face has a square pattern of dots called pips that determine its value in a game. The most common domino set has 28 tiles and players draw them from a stock or boneyard to form their lines of play. The game may be played by two, four, or more players. When a single domino is laid on its side it forms a doublet, and a tile that is played to a double must be positioned so that the matching ends touch. The value of a domino is determined by counting the number of pips on its exposed ends, and points can be scored for laying a line of doubles with a number on both sides (i.e. one’s touching and two’s touching).

Physicists have discovered that the power of a single domino is much greater than most people realize, as demonstrated by this video. The first domino in the clip was only a few millimeters tall, but it was still enough to set off a chain reaction that grew and grew until the 13th domino—about three feet tall and 100 pounds—collapsed. The video shows that this isn’t some kind of trick; dominoes really can knock over objects one-and-a-half times their size when the proper conditions are present.

For anyone who has ever sat down to a game of dominoes, the sight of all those overlapping tiles can be pretty mesmerizing. Dominoes can be used to make straight lines or curved ones, grids that form pictures, and even 3D structures like towers and pyramids. A domino artist can use a variety of colors, shapes, and sizes to create intricate designs that will impress both children and adults.

Some artists have even incorporated the laws of physics into their domino art by designing structures that will collapse in specific ways, such as using gravity to make them fall into rings or squares. For example, a domino artist named Heather Hevesh has worked on team projects involving more than 300,000 dominoes and helped set a Guinness World Record for the largest circular arrangement of dominoes. In her videos, Hevesh explains that the most important aspect of creating a domino art is understanding how the force of gravity works to ensure that a structure will tumble according to plan.

In the world of business, domino can mean something much less whimsical than a small toy; it can refer to a large corporation that is outgrowing its market or facing another kind of obstacle. For example, a domino effect can be seen when a company’s leadership changes; this often results in a cascade of events that ultimately upends the business. For instance, a change in the CEO of Domino’s Pizza in 2004 resulted in the company adding pizza toppings to its menu and introducing home delivery service.