The Physics of Dominoes


Domino is a generic term for a game of dominoes, which are arranged so that one side bears an arrangement of dots, or “pips,” and the other is blank. They are similar to playing cards and dice in that a variety of games can be played using them. Dominoes are a common sight in homes, schools, and public spaces as they offer an inexpensive way to engage children in learning and social interaction.

The first domino to fall initiates a chain reaction that causes all the remaining ones to topple. The force that causes each domino to topple is the same as the force that drives a nerve impulse down the length of an axon. The speed of the Dominoes’ fall is independent of the size of the triggering domino and can travel only in one direction, just as the speed of a nerve impulse down an axon is independent of the distance it must cover.

In a typical game of domino, players take turns placing tiles on the domino line until it runs out or they pass their turn when they cannot continue. Depending on the game, the players might use fewer dominoes at first or have to choose from a “boneyard” of sleeping dominoes when they cannot place another tile.

Hevesh makes test versions of each section of her domino art in the form of flat arrangements before she puts them together. She then films them in slow motion to see if the pieces work properly. This allows her to make precise corrections before she installs them. In addition, she often sets up a domino rally for an audience to watch.

Like any other object, each domino has inertia, a tendency to resist motion when no outside forces are pushing or pulling on it. A tiny nudge, however, can cause a domino to move. As the domino moves, its potential energy converts into kinetic energy, the energy of motion.

The physics of dominoes is fascinating, and can help explain how nerve cells, or neurons, function. Stephen Morris, a physicist at the University of Toronto, notes that when a domino is standing upright, it stores potential energy. When it falls, much of this energy is converted to kinetic energy, the energy of movement.

David Brandon, the CEO who preceded Doyle at Domino’s, took a more hands-on approach to company business. He made it a priority to speak directly with employees, listening to their concerns and making sure they knew that they were heard. As a result, Domino’s started offering more flexible schedules and a relaxed dress code. This, along with the company’s new leadership training programs and college recruiting system, helped improve employee satisfaction. The new changes also aided in improving customer service, which was a major complaint that customers had been voicing. This was a big change, upending decades of tradition, but it was a necessary one. As a result, Domino’s is able to deliver pizza in more ways than ever before.