Domino is a small flat rectangular block used as a gaming object, often with numbers or symbols printed on each end. The term domino is also used to describe a series of these blocks that form a line or shape when they are set up. Dominoes are usually made of wood, although plastic and other materials have been used. Depending on the game, dominoes can be played with one or more players. In a traditional domino game, each player has seven dominoes in their hand and the goal is to place them in a line or other arrangement so that the end of the domino touching the ground causes the next piece to fall. This creates a chain that continues until all of the pieces have fallen, or a player wins by having no remaining tiles to play.
While many people enjoy simply setting up a domino line and flicking it over, some take the art of domino design to an extraordinary level. This involves arranging the dominoes in intricate shapes and creating patterns that will occur when the line is completed. In addition to straight lines and curved shapes, the dominoes can be arranged in grids that form pictures, stacked walls or even 3D structures like pyramids. The resulting designs can be breathtaking and the chains that are created when these elaborate arrangements are set in motion can be mesmerizing.
When domino artist Lily Hevesh creates a new installation, she begins by planning the overall design on paper and then breaking it down into sections that will need to be completed. She then tests the smaller parts of the design in order to ensure that they work correctly before putting them together. She has worked on projects involving 300,000 dominoes and helped to set the Guinness World Record for the most dominoes toppled in a circular arrangement. Her largest installations can take several nail-biting minutes to complete.
Hevesh says that while there are a lot of physical forces at work when she is working on a project, one in particular is crucial to her success: gravity. When a domino is knocked over, the potential energy stored in it converts to kinetic energy, which then pushes on the next domino and causes it to fall.
The word domino was first recorded in English in 1750, although it may have been in use in France earlier. The word was probably derived from the Latin domina, meaning “rule.” In the late 19th century, the popular game of dominoes became well-known and it was then that the modern sense of the word developed. By the late 20th century, Domino’s Pizza was a national chain with over 200 stores. The company’s initial success was attributed to founder Dominic Monaghan’s focus on placing the pizzerias in locations near college campuses. This ensured that he could reach the young, fast-food-loving college crowd with his quick and affordable product. The success of this strategy was later replicated by other fast-food franchises.