The Art of Domino


Domino is a popular game that requires two players to place tiles on a board. The goal is to make the chain of dominoes form a cross, which is achieved by playing each tile so that it touches all four sides of another.

A domino is a small wooden cube with pips, or dots, that represent numbers on the board. Traditionally, sets have been made of bone or silver lip ocean pearl (MOP), but now, dominoes can be made from a variety of materials, including wood and metal.

Several domino games can be played, from simple layout games to complex games that require more than one player. The basic rule is that each turn starts with a single tile and ends when all the players have played their tiles.

The first player must choose a domino from the boneyard, or stock, and play it by placing it next to a domino that matches its value. Then, the second player must choose a domino from the stock that has the same number of pips as the first domino. If the second player does not have a domino with matching values, they can choose from the boneyard until they have a domino that is matched.

This is called a “geometric progression,” and it can produce some startling results when used in the right way. In 1983, a physics professor at the University of British Columbia named Lorne Whitehead used it in an article for the American Journal of Physics to demonstrate how exponential growth can be observed.

As the dominoes fall, they store energy in their pips that is released as they tumble down toward Earth, which sends them crashing into the next domino and triggers another chain reaction. This is the so-called “domino effect.”

Lily Hevesh, a domino artist, uses it to build intricate displays that take several minutes to fall. She works with teams of people on these projects, which are often done in conjunction with movies, TV shows or events.

She makes test versions of each section before putting them up to make sure everything works properly. She also films them in slow motion to spot any problems that might crop up.

Her displays are built in layers, each layer stacked on top of the next until they form a 3-D structure. Then, she adds flat arrangements and finally, the lines of dominoes that connect them.

The first step is to determine how many dominoes she needs, weighing each type in her inventory. She uses a formula to calculate how many of each color she’ll need before she starts laying them down.

Once she knows how many of each domino type she needs, she can calculate the exact number of tiles needed to make her design. She starts with the biggest 3-D sections and adds smaller sections as she progresses.

A physicist, Stephen Morris at the University of Toronto, agrees that gravity is key to making a domino arrangement work. When Hevesh stacks thousands of dominoes, they all stand upright, but when she knocks over the first domino, it begins to fall.

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