The Domino Effect

A domino is a small rectangular block, generally thumbsized, with either blank or marked faces resembling those on dice. It is used in a game called dominoes, where it is matched edge to edge with another piece to form a line or a pattern. The pieces can be stood up to create intricate designs. They can also be knocked down to trigger a chain reaction of other pieces that fall. The domino effect is a popular idiom that refers to any situation in which one event may cause many others to follow.

Domino is also a name of a computer program that helps developers create and manage large-scale, distributed applications. It can scale to meet the demands of an application’s users and ensure that all parts of the system work together. Domino supports multiple programming languages and platforms, including Java, Ruby, Scala, and Python. It is available as a cloud service or on-premises and offers self-service access to tools and infrastructure that are secure and compliant.

While some people use the word domino to describe a game, it is most often applied to a set of small, rectangular blocks with a total of up to six dots on each face. These pieces are used to play a variety of games, most involving matching the ends of one piece to that of another or arranging them in lines and angular patterns. The most common sets are double-six and double-nine, though larger and smaller varieties exist. The game was first recorded in the mid-18th century, and the earliest known games are related to Italian and French dominoes, which were introduced to England by prisoners toward the end of that century.

Physicist Stephen Morris, who studies the physical properties of materials such as wood and plastic, says that when a domino is standing upright, it has potential energy, which is its stored energy based on its position. When the domino is knocked down, however, this potential energy is converted to kinetic energy, which causes it to crash into the next domino and trigger a chain reaction.

Hevesh, who has worked on team projects involving 300,000 dominoes and helped set a Guinness World Record for the most dominoes toppled in a circular arrangement, says that gravity is crucial for her creations. She has found that the larger a domino is, the more gravity affects it.

When Hevesh is working on a new design, she spends up to two hours setting up the pieces and then waits for them to fall naturally. When they do, she captures the moment on camera and then begins to analyze what caused them to topple in a particular way. In her mind’s eye, she imagines the process that might have created the pattern and tries to replicate it. Using her scientific knowledge of dominoes, she is able to create stunning displays that are a testament to the power of simple science.