Our Monday Motivation series on GuinnessWorldRecords.com profiles the inspiring stories of commitment, courage and dedication behind some of our most extraordinary titles. This week we're placing the spotlight on a global team of domino engineers who came together to break a huge record in spectacular style. 

The Incredible Science Machine Team functions like a domino collapse.

Each person has a unique role that contributes to a greater outcome.

Separately, they are strong pieces capable of mesmerising results – but together, their hard work, dedication, and meticulousness lead to a topple of record-breaking proportions.

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Though each of the eighteen members of the team come from different parts of the world, including the US, Canada, Germany, and Austria – they all seem to share a striking enthusiasm for constructing something out of nothing.

Before coming together, each team member was a YouTuber focused on bettering their skills in the field of domino collapse art.

Mostly teenagers, they had all spent years honing in their talents to make extreme rube-goldberg inspired domino collapses.

They all knew of one other from the distinct online community, but never dreamed they would ever be working together as a team.

That was until 22-year-old domino-artist Steve Price decided it was time to change that.

“I started the Incredible Science Machine to create the first opportunity in North America for domino and chain reaction artists to work together on a large scale project that would introduce domino art to a large live and online audience.”

Steve, who had previously competed on America’s Got Talent for his machine-building skills, managed to get members of the team to be sponsored by Zeal Credit Union for the purpose of creating a live art demonstration to show attendees what these incredible domino designers were really capable of.

For many involved, this would be the first time they would interact with others who shared their unique hobby.

“Having the opportunity to meet others with the same niche interest has strengthened all of the builders’ love for chain reaction and domino art. Many of the builders have become great friends in real life first meeting. Everybody now looks forward to the team events because it’s not only an opportunity to advance our passions, but also a chance to spend time and have fun with a lot of really great people.”

The newly formed Incredible Science Machine team would not only have the task of using their strategic minds and steady hands as a cohesive force for the live showcase, but they would also be put to the test by being asked to break a Guinness World Records title for the Largest circle bomb field.

Fittingly, the team decided to make an elaborate “world-themed” domino floor plan to represent the world record attempt as well as the universal nature of the team.

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The circle bomb, which would be the only component judged for the record, would be the final and most crucial step to an “around the world” step by step domino collapse.

To live up to the challenge, the Incredible Science Machine team needed to appoint a few key players to take the lead.

Lily Hevesh, spearheaded the execution of the domino building, ensuring that all designs were precisely built according and in turn meet the minimum domino requirement as well as ensure enough of a single colour was available for the final result.

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The young student had a six and a half year history of posting her intricate domino-collapsing videos on her YouTube channel, which has recently reached 1 million subscribers.

With her individual success, Lily was well qualified to fulfil the high-pressure role.

As a kid, she found a pack of dominoes at her grandparents’ house, and began to play with them, which sparked her interest in the pastime.

“I thought dominoes could be set up in just lines, but you could do words, you could do portraits, you could make 3D structures, and that completely amazed me.”

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Setting up complex domino structures has given the passionate engineers more than just a means to express themselves creatively; it has also provided members of the team with outstanding opportunities within the realm of the art form.

Before being involved with setting new record titles, Lily was commissioned by Campbell’s Soup to create a topple for a commercial, as well as being offered a complimentary flight to Canada to set up 25,000 dominoes for an advertising agency.

Her fellow engineer Marcel Purrer would also prove to be an exceptionally useful member of the team, as his expertise in previous European competitions would give the Science Machine Team further insight.

Marcel was comfortable with the grand scale that the team had set their sights on – as he himself was once part of a multi-record breaking domino collapse team named Sinners Domino Entertainment.

The organisation currently holds four records, for Most dominoes toppled underwater by a team, Most books toppled in a domino fashion, Most mini dominoes toppled, and Most dominoes stacked on a single piece. 

As Marcel was a key builder in these past attempts, his main role for this record would be guiding the younger artists into making a creation of magnificent sizes.

Steve Price, team leader, headed up his domino-collapsing crew by putting a substantial amount of work into the attempt.

His passion for the construction of simple machines and LEGO building was eventually channelled into him becoming a mechanical engineering major at Michigan State University.

Steve, also known as “Sprice” by his fans, has a knack for creating elaborate YouTube videos of self-made Rube Goldberg machines (which often involve dominoes) performing basic tasks like putting sunglasses on.

His long-term experience and ability to produce successful full-functioning machines in 50 tries or less made him the ideal candidate to chief the project.

For this attempt, Steve not only managed the budget, coordinated domino artists’ travel expenses, but he was now also a key member responsible for planning the set up and design of a potentially record-breaking domino collapse.

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“At the event, I take on the responsibility of making sure the chain reaction elements come to life. With the record being much larger than anything the team has done before, I knew the attempt would be a momentous undertaking, but I had confidence that our team could pull it off.”

The rest of the team, which consisted of Lyle Broughton, Timothy Dunsmore, Alex Berlaga, Joel Yantha, Michael Fantauzzo, Chase Blanchette, Joseph Naberhaus, Nathan Heck, Joe Parks, Alex Huang, Brayden Dolan, Evan Voeltner, Hayden Russell, Sascha, Wilzewski, Alexandra Benz, and Tejas Soni quickly got to work on constructing their domino art masterpiece.

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Developing a structure with so many moving parts is no easy feat, especially when there is risk mid-set up for an imbalanced domino to topple hours of work.

Thus, they needed to be extremely calculated.

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“Before starting the attempt, we had to estimate the diameter and number of black and white dominoes based on the image we decided to create inside the circle. We estimated this based on the relative size of the previous world record circle field and our typical domino building density in dominoes per square foot. Before building, we had our artist, Tejas Soni, draw a to-scale model of the plane image on the ground, so that the builders would know where to place white and black dominoes when building the circle.

“We knew that the dominoes had to be toppled from the centre of the circle outwards, which means something needs to land in the center of the circle to trigger the dominoes on all sides. It made sense to use a ball to do this. We also knew that the action had to originate from outside of the circle and trigger that ball to hit the centre. This was tested several times before starting the final circle.”

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Each domino engineer spent ten hours for ten days prior to the main event crafting three-dimensional domino structures, domino towers, domino images, and domino lettering – all of which would need to trigger another piece to the massive “around-the-world” collapse.

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Many would find the idea of spending so much time on something with such high levels of precision as too big a challenge; but for the Incredible Science Machine team it was second nature – they simply used the time to bond.

“We had a lot of time to talk about hobbies, music, how the past school year went, and other domino projects we've worked on since we last saw each other. During our meetings, we crack a lot of jokes (lots of inside jokes that only domino builders would understand), puns, and sarcasm, especially when someone's filming for the behind the scenes video. Occasionally there are pranks, such as tricking someone into thinking that you toppled a large domino structure by dumping out a domino container onto the floor. Hanging out in the evenings after working definitely contributes to team members bonding. Sometimes it's watching funny videos or other domino videos on YouTube, and sometimes it's playing a game or domino duel (i.e. competitions to see who can build dominoes the fastest or tallest).”

After becoming such good friends, a teamwork mindset became natural to the group of domino lovers.

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They even survived a collapse during the placement of the last few dominos of the circle field, causing them to reset a few thousand dominoes of the 76,017 in the circle component alone, back into place. 

Nevertheless, when it came to unleashing the final product to a crowd of very excited witnesses, the final results were superb:

Upon the final collapse of the circle bomb field, the team rejoiced in all of their hard work, knowing they had become record holders.

“This experience taught me that dedication will trump any challenge, no matter how momentous of an undertaking it is,” said Price. “The number one objective of the team is to introduce domino and chain reaction art to the world. We are all very passionate about what we do and want more people to know about it and understand it as a creative art form.”

The ISM also wishes to showcase the importance of STEM education in their work, as the engineering and physics behind a record attempt of this size correlate so directly with the proficiencies needed for domino building.

In fact, next year’s ticket sales for their event will benefit a local engineering program for children, to inspire the pastime of domino toppling to cultivate. 

“I hope that this shows everyone how dominoes and chain reactions can be such a beautiful and exciting art form. I am happy to have seen many kids start building as a result of seeing our work. More generally, I hope that this inspires everyone to follow their dreams and take their passions to the next level.”

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