Dominoes are a game that has been around for centuries. They are a variant of playing cards, with identical patterned tiles on one side and identifying marks on the other. These are arranged on a board and played by placing dominoes edge to edge, similar to the method of play in a draw game.
These games are most commonly played in European cafes but are also popular in some areas of North America and in Japan. They are played by alternating turns, with each player in turn choosing a domino from their boneyard, placing it edge to edge on the layout, and then selecting another domino of matching value to play. The game is usually played with a single set of dominoes, but double sets can be used to play the same game with more than two players.
When you place a domino edge to edge against another, it creates a cascade of events. The knocked over domino is pulled toward the Earth, crashing into the next domino and setting off a chain reaction that causes all of the other dominoes to fall as well.
In order for this chain reaction to take place, there are a few physical factors that need to be in place. Most notably, gravity is key to the domino effect, says Stephen Morris, a physicist at the University of Toronto.
The force of gravity is a powerful force that pulls on a domino when it is placed on the ground, says Morris. It is the same force that lifts a car off the ground, and it’s the same force that keeps a person seated in a chair.
This is the same force that helps a domino fall, and it’s the same force that pushes a ball into a net or an airplane into the sky. It’s also the same force that makes a domino rise or fall, and it’s the same force transforming potential energy into kinetic energy as it falls.
Once this first domino falls, it’s all of the potential energy stored in its position that becomes available to move the next domino to the top of its path. This energy is then used to help push the next domino to its tipping point, and so on, until the whole set of dominoes is falling in an endless spiral, creating a breathtaking display that’s impossible to miss.
A domino artist called Lily Hevesh uses science to create amazing displays, including an installation of 76,017 dominoes in a circular arrangement, which was a Guinness World Record-holder. The artist has a YouTube channel with more than 2 million subscribers, and her work is regularly featured in newspapers and magazines.
To make her large installations, Hevesh designs each section individually before assembling them into a larger, more complicated design. She makes test versions of each section to ensure they work properly before she puts them together. She films the tests in slow motion, which allows her to make precise corrections as needed.