How Do Dominoes Work?


Domino is a small rectangular block used in games of chance and skill. The most common game uses a standard set of 28 dominoes, each with a value on one or both ends. These values, sometimes called spots or pips, range from zero to six. Other sets can be extended to include more than 28 unique tiles, but these are rarely seen in play. The most common types of domino include a double-six, double-nine and double-twelve set. The tiles are normally twice as long as they are wide, and the longer side of a domino is open for play. This allows additional dominoes to be placed against it in all directions.

As a result, each domino has some potential energy that’s stored in its position, based on the forces of gravity pulling down on it. If a domino is pushed, however, that potential energy turns into kinetic energy, or the energy of motion. This movement is what causes other dominoes to fall, setting off a chain reaction. “When a domino is set up and not moved, it has inertia,” says Stephen Morris, a physicist at the University of Toronto. “It’s only when you push on that first one that it’s turned into kinetic energy.”

Lily Hevesh became interested in dominoes as a young girl, watching her grandparents line up the pieces in straight or curved lines. When she got older, she started creating her own domino creations and began posting videos of them online. Now, she has more than 2 million YouTube subscribers, and is a domino artist who has made setups for movies, TV shows and events — including a recent album launch for Katy Perry. Hevesh has a special ability to make her dominoes look amazing even before the chain reaction begins. She can create intricate patterns, and then nudge the first domino past its tipping point with only a slight touch.

For Hevesh, the name domino has always been symbolic of a bigger principle: the idea that if you change one thing, other things will follow suit, like a sequence of dominoes falling over each other. It’s an idiom that she’s taken to heart in her career as a public speaker and educator.

Domino, both the word and the game, have a complex history. The term appeared in the English language after 1750, and may be related to a French word meaning “hooded cloak” that was worn with a mask during carnival season or at a masquerade.

The original CEO of Domino’s, David Brandon, was determined to fix the company’s problems. His changes included a relaxed dress code and new leadership training programs, as well as listening to Domino’s employees, which led to better communication and a more positive atmosphere. As a result, Domino’s employee turnover rates declined and its financial outlook improved drastically. The company also started paying attention to its customers and addressing their complaints. All of these changes were designed to be the first dominoes in a new direction for the company.