The Domino Effect
The domino effect is a chain of events that starts with one small action that eventually leads to larger, sometimes catastrophic, consequences. It is often associated with behavior change, but it also applies to many other areas of your life, including health and happiness.
Originally, the word “domino” was used to refer to a game that uses a stack of matched tiles in which players try to knock down or draw certain combinations of dots. It is a game that dates back centuries, and has been played in many countries around the world, in both commercial settings and at home.
In the United States and Canada, domino sets consist of a set of 28 tiles that are typically referred to as “double six” or “double nine.” These games can be played in a variety of ways, such as by adding matching pieces from your hand to a layout in the center of the table or by drawing tiles to build specific patterns.
A single domino varies in size from a few inches to several feet, with values ranging from 0 to 6 pips (see Dominoes for more information). Each tile is separated by a line that divides the square into two sides, or ends. The two ends are numbered in a sequence from left to right, with each number corresponding to a suit of cards: spades, hearts, diamonds and clubs, in that order.
These tiles are usually made of wood, stone or metal. Some are frosted glass or crystal, and some feature an inlaid design.
The game can be played by a single player or by two people in pairs, seated opposite each other. It is a popular game for children and adults, and is widely enjoyed in pubs throughout the world.
Lily Hevesh started playing dominoes as a child, using her grandparents’ classic 28-pack of tiles. As she got older, her domino collection grew and she began to make incredibly impressive designs that took multiple nail-biting minutes to fall.
She’s now a professional domino artist, and her YouTube channel, Hevesh5, has more than 2 million subscribers. She has created mind-blowing displays for movies, TV shows, and even an album launch for pop star Katy Perry.
Her most impressive domino installations feature hundreds of thousands of tiles, each arranged in a curved line that’s about twice as long as it is wide. She creates her displays in a way that mimics the engineering-design process, following a series of steps to ensure that the dominoes fall according to physics and that energy is transmitted from domino to domino.
Physicist Stephen Morris, who has studied the domino effect, says that it’s important to note that the energy of motion is converted from potential to kinetic before dominoes fall. Standing a domino upright, Morris explains, gives it the ability to store energy based on its position in space. But as it falls, much of its stored potential energy is transformed into kinetic energy–energy of motion–which is transmitted to the next domino and causes it to topple over.