Domino is a game in which players place domino tiles on the table and then knock them over to create chains of adjacent dominoes. They may then score points by matching exposed ends of the dominoes in a specified way (one’s touching, for example, or two’s touching). Dominos are normally twice as long as they are wide. The sides of each domino feature a number of dots or pips, called values, that range from six to none or blank.
The most basic game has one domino per player and begins when the first domino is positioned on the table with its values facing up. Then each player takes turn playing a domino onto the table positioning it so that its values touch the exposed ends of the previous tile played. The value of the domino is the sum of its pips, or the numbers on its faces, or the total value of all the exposed dots.
When a domino is set up correctly, its values are arranged in such a way that when one is knocked over, it will push down and cause the next domino to fall. This chain reaction continues until all of the dominoes are either knocked over or all of their values have been used up, or until a domino has no more pips to give.
Dominoes are also used for artistic and other creative purposes. These can involve curved lines, grids that form pictures when they fall, or even 3D structures such as towers and pyramids. Creating these works of art requires precise planning to achieve the desired effect. Hevesh, who has worked on projects that use more than 300,000 dominoes, says she follows a version of the engineering-design process when she creates her installations.
A key factor in Hevesh’s success is gravity, which she explains plays a major role in a good domino setup. She describes how she sets up her projects using a series of tools in her garage, including a drill press, radial arm saw, belt sander and welder. During this process, she creates the shapes needed to make her mind-blowing domino installations.
Then, as she places each domino on the floor, she considers its position and how it will interact with other pieces in her design. She then calculates how much energy will be required to convert the potential energy of each domino into kinetic energy as it falls. She then transfers this energy to the next domino in her design. She repeats this process until her project is complete.
Stephen Morris, a University of Toronto physicist, agrees that the key to Hevesh’s domino art is gravity. “When you stand a domino upright, it has potential energy, or stored energy, based on its position,” he says. “But when you knock it over, that energy is transferred to the next domino and the chain reaction begins.” Hevesh has explained that she relies on this principle when building her massive projects. “When you have a big project that’s going to take several nail-biting minutes to fall, it has to be perfect,” she said in an interview.