How Dominoes Work

The domino is a small, flat, rectangular block used in many different games. Its name comes from the Chinese game of zhi jin, or “one-two-three,” where the object is to knock all of the tiles off a board. Dominoes come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but all are designed to be played in a similar manner.

One of the most fascinating things about dominoes is that they can be used to create complex designs, like a line of dominoes falling one after the other. When spaced correctly, this process can lead to very intricate setups.

Lily Hevesh, a professional domino artist who has more than 2 million YouTube subscribers, is obsessed with this phenomenon and has spent years building her skill at creating impressive installations. She works with teams to design the perfect layout and then sets up the dominoes one by one.

She starts with the largest 3-D sections and then works her way down, making sure each section is working as it should before she adds the next. She takes test versions of each section before putting the whole installation together, so she can see any problems in advance and make corrections quickly.

Hevesh explains that the key to her domino-topping masterpieces is the way gravity interacts with them. When she sets up a domino, it stores potential energy that can be released when it’s tipped over. Then, when she nudges a domino with her finger, it pushes that potential energy to the point of being enough force to knock over the next domino in line.

As a result, the chain reaction can create an almost endless number of dominoes that fall down. Then, those dominoes can create even more chain reactions until the entire arrangement collapses.

Another important factor in domino toppling is friction. The dominoes slow down when they get in contact with other dominoes or the ground. This slowing forces the dominoes to fall more slowly and eventually, their tops fall off of the bottoms of the other dominoes in the line.

This effect can be very powerful, even if the dominoes aren’t all that big. Physicist Stephen Morris, from the University of Toronto, demonstrates that even a domino as small as 5 millimeters can be enough to cause an impact that knocks down one-and-a-half times its size.

The same principle applies to personal development and goal setting. When you set a goal, you want to pick out a few good dominoes that will help you reach it.

When you focus on the right dominoes, they’ll have a positive ripple effect on your other goals. For example, if you want to work on your finances, you might pick out some dominoes that involve analyzing your income and expenses, planning for the future, and establishing a budget.

These tasks may be challenging and require a significant amount of time to complete, but they’ll contribute to a larger objective in the long run. The trick is to find a balance between the time it takes to complete these dominoes and the impact they have on other activities that aren’t as important.