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The Domino Effect

This week's podcast is about falling dominos. Very large falling dominos. Everyone knows that a line of standing dominos creates a fun chain reaction when you knock the first one over; but did you know you can use increasingly larger dominos and get the same result? Theoretically, there is no limit to how large your dominos can get. Watch Stephen Morris of the University of Toronto knock down a domino that's over 1-meter tall, and weighs over 100 pounds:

Morris uses a size ratio of 1.5, meaning each domino is one and a half times larger than the last one. This is the generally accepted maximum ratio that dominos can have to successfully knock each other over.

But this month, Hans Van Leeuwen of Leiden University in the Netherlands, published a paper online showing that, theoretically, you could have a size ratio of up to two. That's in an ideal (and probably unrealistic) situation. But the team at the Dutch Science Quiz (which is a whole cool thing by itself) wanted to test the theory—and nab a world record in the process. So they built some really huge dominos (the largest is 26 feet high and weighs over 1000 pounds), and this is what happened: (sorry, this video takes a bit of time to load; the big domino demonstration is at 6:00. Before that is a lot of talking in Dutch).


Check out the podcast to hear more!


  1. What are your Dominoes made up of?
    Please help Us!
    We need to do this experiment for our science project.

    Awaiting your reply.
    Reply soon.

    Vibhu and Udai (from India)


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