Domino is a game in which dominoes are arranged on end to form long chains, each numbered by the number of spots on its two exposed ends. The first domino to fall begins a chain reaction that eventually causes the rest of the line to topple over. It’s a popular way to spend time with friends, and can be used to create intricate designs and layouts. In addition, dominoes can also be played alone by a single player, with varying rules to guide the sequence of play.
Dominoes have been used for centuries as a form of art, entertainment and learning. They can be made from a variety of materials, with many sets featuring a traditional look of bone, silver lip ocean pearl oyster shell (mother-of-pearl), ivory, or a dark hardwood such as ebony, with contrasting white or black pips inlaid or painted. More recently, dominoes have been fashioned from marble, other stones; metals, including brass and pewter; ceramic clay; and even frosted glass or crystal. These modern sets have a more unique, novel aesthetic, and their heavier weight makes them feel more substantial when held in the hand.
A simple set of dominoes consists of 28 tiles, with each end bearing a different color or symbol that represents a specific number. The most common domino sets have a double-nine configuration, with each end having either six or three dots. However, larger sets are sometimes available, with some containing more than twice as many tiles. Generally, the more spots on each end, the higher the total number of dominoes that can be placed on the table.
As a child, Lily Hevesh loved setting up dominoes in straight or curved lines, then flicking the first one to watch them all tumble down in a chain reaction. She has since expanded her hobby into a successful business, creating mind-blowing domino installations for movies, TV shows and events, including a concert tour by singer Katy Perry. Her most elaborate creations take several nail-biting minutes to fall, and the key ingredient is a little something called gravity.
When a domino falls, it converts its potential energy into kinetic energy and transfers some of that to the next domino in the line, giving it the push needed to topple it over. This continues until the entire line is wiped clean. The physics behind this process is remarkably similar to that of a nerve impulse firing down an axon, although it takes a lot more energy to reset a chain of dominoes than a neuron.
While the mechanics of a domino chain are fascinating, there’s also a lot to be said for good old-fashioned human connections and empathy. When Domino’s faced crisis in 2004, for instance, it sought to refocus on its core values, one of which is “Champion Our Customers.” This meant listening closely to what they had to say and taking action. In the end, it was this line of communication that helped them turn things around and stay in business.