Chain reaction domino toppling record broken at San Jose museum

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- We think of dominos as a game, but for a group of high school students in San Jose, they're building blocks for possible careers in engineering, math and science.

The students set out Friday to set a new state record for a domino chain reaction.

You could feel the tension in the room as the deadline approached. Six high school students spent three days setting up dominos and fine-tuning chain reaction machines they engineered to set a new state record.

The idea was to challenge them and to inspire young visitors to the Children's Discovery Museum of San Jose.

Over 25,000 dominos were set up in a space theme, each one destined to be knocked over in a precise sequence.

The students walked the course in their stocking feet to prevent an accident. But accidents do happen. "Just a few minutes ago, I was taping down the 2-by-4 and I brushed one that was on a crack, and it knocked down about 600," said 15-year-old Hayden Russell.

The chain reaction machines have to work every step along the way, or doom them to failure.

"Sometimes it does lead to failure because it's really difficult to have a lot of small tricks in a row and have each one of them work," Leland High School senior Alex Huang said.

At zero hour came the ultimate test. The machines did their magic, as the force of gravity caused objects to fall and trip reactions, one after another.

Then it was time for the dominos. Everything worked flawlessly, dazzling the kids and impressing even the teen builders.

"I really enjoyed the process," said Gunn High School sophomore Alex Berlaga.

Mission accomplished -- time to celebrate.

ABC7 News Reporter David Louie was tasked with the job of picking up all 25,000 dominos. We think he's going to be there for a while.

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