The Art of Domino

The word domino comes from the Latin for “flip.” Like playing cards and dice, domino is a generic game tool that can be used for many types of games. From professional domino competition to just setting them up and knocking them over, this simple yet powerful gaming element is a great way to test one’s patience, skill, and creativity.

In addition to being fun, domino is a fantastic learning tool for kids and adults alike. Often, a child’s first experience with domino is simply setting them up, and then observing the result. They’re amazed by the beauty and rhythm of the result, a cascade of motion. It is this type of visual learning that teaches them the importance of momentum and force.

The first domino that is pushed down has potential energy, which is stored in its shape and structure. When that domino falls, most of its potential energy converts to kinetic energy, the energy of motion. This kinetic energy is transferred to the next domino, and it provides the push needed to fall it as well. This continues, domino by domino, until all the pieces are set in motion.

A domino has a rectangular form and is usually twice as long as it is wide. The dominant side is typically marked with an arrangement of spots, called pips, that are identical to those on a die, while the other side is blank. Some domino sets also have a line down the center that divides the tile visually into two squares, called ends. Each end is identified by its value, which ranges from six to zero.

While there are many different kinds of domino games, they all involve emptying a player’s hand while blocking their opponents’ play. Some games also allow players to score points by counting the pips in lost tiles. For example, a scoring version of the game 5s-and-3s involves placing a tile on an end so that its sum is divisible by five or three.

When Hevesh begins designing one of her mind-blowing domino setups, she starts by considering the theme or purpose of an installation. Then, she brainstorms images or words that might be represented by the dominoes she will use. Once she has her idea, she can begin creating the actual domino pieces. Hevesh has created numerous amazing Domino Effect installations, and her YouTube channel features videos of some of them. In her largest creations, it can take several nail-biting minutes for the dominoes to fall. Hevesh describes her creative process as a variation of the engineering-design process: she considers the physical limitations of her materials, the overall design goal, and then works backward to determine how each domino should be built. For instance, she might decide to make the first domino thicker in some areas than others. Then she might plan the layout of the rest of the dominoes based on that decision. This is just one of the ways that Hevesh maximizes the effect of her amazing domino creations.