Domino is the name of a game, but it also describes a process of arranging something in orderly and precise ways. Hevesh, who is renowned for her domino art installations, uses an engineering-design process when she creates these mind-blowing setups. She makes prototypes and test runs before putting the final pieces together. During these tests, she films the pieces in slow motion, allowing her to make precision adjustments before they go live.
Each domino is a rectangular tile with square ends that are marked with numbers or symbols. The values on each end are called spots, and the total number of spots (or pips) is used to determine the rank or weight of a domino. Larger dominoes have more pips, while smaller ones have less. The most common type of domino is a double-six, with six pips on each end.
A domino is normally twice as long as it is wide, but there are also other sizes and shapes, including a circular domino that can be used as a spinner. The most common type of domino is white, with black and ivory variants also available. The earliest known dominoes are thought to have been made in China in the 12th or 13th century.
When a domino is arranged on a flat surface, the first tile in the chain must be played adjacent to the second. This starts a chain of dominoes that gradually grows in length. The chain is then manipulated to develop its shape. The chain is manipulated by playing tiles on top of one another, positioning them so that their matching sides touch. Each time a tile is added to the chain, it changes its shape and may even break the chains in the middle, or “stitch up” the ends of other tiles in the chain.
Once a domino falls, it converts some of its potential energy into kinetic energy (energy of motion). This kinetic energy pushes on the next domino, and so on, until all of the dominoes are fallen. The result is a beautiful and eerily mathematical sequence of collisions, often called the domino effect.
The domino effect can be observed in many settings, from the physical world to the realm of the human psyche. For example, when Jennifer Dukes Lee began making her bed every day, she triggered a chain reaction of new behaviors that led to a shift in her personal beliefs about herself. Similarly, when you commit to a small behavior like eating healthier or exercising regularly, it’s important to keep the momentum going. Focus on the tiny habits that are starting to form, and soon they’ll be causing bigger shifts in your life.
The word domino comes from the Latin domini, meaning “heavy.” Earlier, in English and French, it denoted a long hooded cloak worn by a priest over his surplice. It may also have referred to a hooded cape or mask worn at carnival season or during a masquerade. The modern sense of domino is believed to date from the late 18th century.