Domino’s Pizza is a household name, but did you know that its founder started out in a garage? The company’s origin is an example of how a good idea can have positive consequences, even when it initially seems small and simple. Like domino, the best ideas often grow and spawn other ideas that become larger and more impactful over time.
In a game of domino, players draw tiles from the deck until they have seven in their hand. Then they must decide whether to play them or to “take sleeping tiles.” These are tiles that have a pips on one side but blank or identically patterned on the other. If taken, these will not be able to be played against for the remainder of the game and will count as zero points.
The first player to complete their dominoes wins the round. This can be done by matching the pips on a domino with the pips of another. It can also be accomplished by playing a double against a single domino (double-six counts as 12, for example). The winner is the player who reaches the target score or who amasses the most points over a given number of rounds.
There are many different games of domino, from basic blocking and scoring to complicated pattern-matching or arithmetic variants. Each of these has its own rules and objectives, but the most important aspect is that every domino must be matched with another domino or with a domino that can count as the pips on the other tile.
Physicist Stephen Morris, who studies the laws of gravity, says that when a domino is picked up and stood upright against the force of gravity, it stores energy. When it’s knocked over, that potential energy is released, sending the next domino crashing down and starting a chain reaction. Hevesh’s colossal creations, which have included dominoes in the shape of animals and people, can take up to several nail-biting minutes to fall.
But, if the domino is set up right, the effect can be astonishing. Hevesh has worked on projects involving 300,000 dominoes and helped to set a Guinness World Record for the most dominoes toppled in a circular arrangement. And while her biggest installations require several nail-biting minutes to set up, she says that one physical phenomenon is the key: gravity.