Domino effect
Encyclopedia
The domino effect is a chain reaction
Chain reaction
A chain reaction is a sequence of reactions where a reactive product or by-product causes additional reactions to take place. In a chain reaction, positive feedback leads to a self-amplifying chain of events....

that occurs when a small change causes a similar change nearby, which then will cause another similar change, and so on in linear
Linear
In mathematics, a linear map or function f is a function which satisfies the following two properties:* Additivity : f = f + f...

sequence. The term is best known as a mechanical effect, and is used as an analogy
Analogy
Analogy is a cognitive process of transferring information or meaning from a particular subject to another particular subject , and a linguistic expression corresponding to such a process...

to a falling row of dominoes
Dominoes
Dominoes generally refers to the collective gaming pieces making up a domino set or to the subcategory of tile games played with domino pieces. In the area of mathematical tilings and polyominoes, the word domino often refers to any rectangle formed from joining two congruent squares edge to edge...

. It typically refers to a linked sequence of events where the time between successive events is relatively small. It can be used literally (an observed series of actual collisions) or metaphorically (causal linkages within systems such as global finance or politics).

## Demonstrations of the effect

The classic demonstration involves setting up a chain of dominoes
Dominoes
Dominoes generally refers to the collective gaming pieces making up a domino set or to the subcategory of tile games played with domino pieces. In the area of mathematical tilings and polyominoes, the word domino often refers to any rectangle formed from joining two congruent squares edge to edge...

stood on end, and toppling the first domino. That domino topples the one next to it, and so on. In theory, however long the chain the dominoes will still fall. This is because the energy required to topple each domino is less than the energy transferred by each impact, so the chain is self-sustaining. Energy is stored by setting domino in the metastable
Metastability
Metastability describes the extended duration of certain equilibria acquired by complex systems when leaving their most stable state after an external action....

upright position, and that energy is what keeps the chain toppling. The mechanics of domino toppling is described by W. J. Stronge as a system with two attractor
Attractor
An attractor is a set towards which a dynamical system evolves over time. That is, points that get close enough to the attractor remain close even if slightly disturbed...

s. Two theories are described: independent action and successive destabilization by cooperative neighbors.

Often Rube Goldberg machine
Rube Goldberg machine
A Rube Goldberg machine, contraption, device, or apparatus is a deliberately over-engineered or overdone machine that performs a very simple task in a very complex fashion, usually including a chain reaction...

s will involve a complicated chain of reactions succeeding each other in a domino fashion.

## See also

Relevant physical theory:
• Causality
Causality
Causality is the relationship between an event and a second event , where the second event is understood as a consequence of the first....

• Chain reaction
Chain reaction
A chain reaction is a sequence of reactions where a reactive product or by-product causes additional reactions to take place. In a chain reaction, positive feedback leads to a self-amplifying chain of events....

• Butterfly effect
Butterfly effect
In chaos theory, the butterfly effect is the sensitive dependence on initial conditions; where a small change at one place in a nonlinear system can result in large differences to a later state...

Mathematical theory
• Mathematical induction
Mathematical induction
Mathematical induction is a method of mathematical proof typically used to establish that a given statement is true of all natural numbers...

Political theory
• Domino theory
Domino theory
The domino theory was a reason for war during the 1950s to 1980s, promoted at times by the government of the United States, that speculated that if one state in a region came under the influence of communism, then the surrounding countries would follow in a domino effect...

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