# How Dominoes Create the Domino Effect

When we think about domino, we usually imagine a car crash or a rocket launch – something big and exciting. But it’s the chain reaction that is truly the power of a domino effect. One domino can tip over a thousand pieces at once, instead of just one at a time.

Dominoes are flat, thumbsized blocks that each have one or more blank sides and bearing from one to six pips (or dots) at one end. They are used in positional games where players place them edge to edge, forming a line or angular pattern. Dominoes can also be placed so that both ends touch, a configuration known as a double.

Physicist Stephen Morris explains that when you stand up a domino, it stores potential energy, or the amount of energy it has based on its position. But when you push down on a domino, it converts some of that energy into kinetic energy, the energy of motion. That energy then transmits to the next domino in the line, providing the push it needs to topple over. And so on, until the last domino has fallen.

When author Hevesh creates her mind-blowing domino setups, she follows a version of the engineering-design process. She considers the theme or purpose of the installation and brainstorms images or words that might be a good fit. From there, she starts to build out the structure of the layout. This includes identifying the overall shape and the type of domino that will be required to create the desired result.

Once Hevesh has the overall structure in mind, she starts to connect the dominoes together, working from the center outward. This helps her to create the domino effect that she is after and can be a great source of entertainment for both herself and her audience.

As she connects the dominoes, Hevesh has to make sure that every single one matches the requirements of the game she is playing. For example, she can’t have a 6-6 that’s touching a 6-5 because it wouldn’t work in the position of the line. If she is unable to play a domino with matching ends, she must move the existing dominoes around to make room.