# How Dominoes Are Used in Art, Architecture, Engineering and Science

Dominoes are small, rectangular blocks of material marked with a sequence of dots on one side and blank or identically patterned on the other. When a domino is placed, it triggers an effect in which the next domino in line either lays down its own dots, or “knocks,” to pass play onto the opposing player. Eventually, the entire sequence ends when all the players have completed their turns. Dominos have been used to play games of chance and skill for hundreds of years.

While dominoes are commonly associated with gambling, they can also be found in art, architecture, engineering and even science. This article explores some of the most impressive domino creations and their impact on history, science, technology, art and culture.

Lily Hevesh, a professional domino builder who has created mind-blowing installations for movies, TV shows and events, follows a version of the engineering-design process when creating her creations. She starts by considering the theme or purpose of an installation, brainstorming images or words she wants to use in her design and then planning how she will arrange the dominoes.

Once she has her plan, Hevesh begins to build the dominoes and connect them using lines of dominoes. Her largest arrangements can take up to several nail-biting minutes to fall. As she works, she omits a few dominoes here and there so that if someone accidentally knocks something over, it won’t bring the whole thing crashing down.

When a domino is played out of turn, it must be recalled by the player and not used in play. When the game reaches a point at which no player can proceed, winners are determined by comparing the total number of spots on their remaining dominoes to the other players’ total number of spots. The player with the lowest total wins.

Hevesh often uses fractions to help her determine how many dominoes she will need for a project and how they will be arranged. She will calculate how many dominoes she can fit in a certain space, then divide the numbers by fractions to find out how many dominoes she needs to fill that space. For example, if she is creating an installation that is 24 inches long, she will need to use dominoes that are 1 3/4 inches apart from each other.

Some dominoes are made of wood and feature inlaid pips, while others are made from metal or ceramic clay. Some sets are painted to add a decorative element, and there are even some that feature frosted glass.

Dominoes are typically twice as long as they are wide, making them easier to stack and re-stack after use. In addition to polymer materials, dominoes are sometimes made from natural materials such as bone, silver lip ocean pearl oyster shell (mother of pearl), ivory and ebony, with contrasting black or white pips. The use of natural materials adds to the weight of a set and gives it a more tactile feel.