I rarely reblog something but this got me really excited! The original paper was written by Dr. Lorne Whitehead in my department. We actually have the exact demo built by him, and we used it in our science shows! I saw the demo a few times – usually we get a little kid to come up and blow the dominoes down. Pretty awesome. One of my favourites.
Thanks Dave for sharing this on his blog!
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“A domino can knock over another domino about 1.5x larger than itself. A chain of dominos of increasing size makes a kind of mechanical chain reaction that starts with a tiny push and knocks down an impressively large domino.
See http://arxiv.org/abs/physics/0401018 for a sophisticated discussion of the physics.”
First presented by Lorne Whitehead, American Journal of Physics, Vol. 51, page 182 (1983). – pdf