The Art and Science of Dominoes

Domino is a popular game that requires skill and a keen eye. These large, flat, rectangular tiles can be stacked on their ends in long lines or in 3D structures like towers and pyramids. When you play, the goal is to knock over all of the dominoes before your opponent.

Dominoes are also used to create elaborate art installations. Known as domino art, these pieces can be arranged to form straight or curved lines, grids that form pictures when they fall, or stacked walls. Some of these artistic pieces are so complex that the person designing them must carefully plan out the entire installation in advance.

When planning a domino track, the engineer-designer must consider the theme of the piece and how much energy it will take to topple all of the dominoes. For example, a straight line of dominoes will need less energy than a curved line. The designer must also calculate how many dominoes they will need to make the track complete. Hevesh, a domino artist who creates mind-blowing setups for galleries and museums around the world, follows a version of the engineering design process when creating her works.

The word domino is derived from the Latin for “flip” or “turn.” Historically, it also denoted a garment worn by priests over their surplice. However, by the 18th century, it had acquired its current meaning of a playing piece. Dominoes are normally twice as long as they are wide, and their ends feature markings called pips. The number of pips on each end gives a domino its value; a domino with more pips is ranked higher than a dominant with fewer pips.

One of the most famous examples of a domino effect occurred in 2009 when Domino’s Pizza ran a successful campaign that was widely hailed as bold and self-aware. The company admitted that it had made a lot of mistakes in the past and set out to right those wrongs. Several high-profile Domino’s leaders and employees even read scathing critiques of the company and its pizza in an online video that went viral.

Although some people use the term domino to refer to a political event, the phrase is actually an idiom that can be applied to any situation in which one small trigger causes a larger chain reaction. The term is also often used in sports as a metaphor for a team’s momentum.

Dominoes are normally asymmetrical, with six pips on one side and none or blank on the other. The pips were originally designed to represent the results of throwing two six-sided dice. The term domino also applies to other games that involve placing a tile edge to edge against another in such a way that their sums are divisible by five or three. One of the most common is a scoring version of 5s-and-3s, which is commonly played in British public houses and clubs. One point is scored for each time the domino at one end of the row is divisible by five or three.