The Trebuchet Challenge | Space Time

Published on March 12, 2018

Captions provided by CCTubes – Captioning the Internet! Do you have what it takes to calculate the awesome power of the trebuchet?

You can further support us on Patreon at

Get your own Space Time t­shirt at

Tweet at us! @pbsspacetime
Email us! pbsspacetime [at] gmail [dot] com
Comment on Reddit:

Help translate our videos!

Previous Episode:
Death of the Sun

Kinetic and potential energy are defined as combinations of more basic quantities: position, velocity and mass. These combinations are chosen so that their sum is conserved. It’s actually remarkable that there’s any such combination of quantities that is conserved. This fact gives us insight into the fundamental symmetries of nature. It’s something we’ll get back to. Today I want to highlight the power of energy as a tool in calculation. We could get into fluid or stellar dynamics, or even quantum mechanics. But no, we’re going talk about something cooler – the trebuchet.

If you’re not familiar, shame on you, but here’s the deal: the trebuchet is, I suppose, a type of catapult, but it’s so much more. The internet agrees that the trebuchet is the greatest of all medieval siege engines. Opinion is divided on whether Chuck Norris would win a fight against a trebuchet. The hyperbole is kind of warranted. The trebuchet is incredibly efficient at converting the potential energy of a massive counterweight into the castle-destroying kinetic energy of a projectile. It relies on the mighty power of the lever.

Hosted by Matt O’Dowd
Written by Matt O’Dowd
Produced by Rusty Ward
Graphics by Grayson Blackmon
Assistant Editing and Sound Design by Mike Petrow and Linda Huang
Made by Kornhaber Brown (

Special thanks to our Patreon Big Bang, Quasar and Hypernova Supporters:

Big Bang
David Nicklas
Faisal Saud
Anton Lifshits
Joey Redner

Tambe Barsbay
Mayank M. Mehrota
Mars Yentur
Mark Rosenthal
Dean Fuqua
Roman Pinchuk
Frank Secilia

Shaun Williams
Edmund Fokschaner
Matthew O’Connor
Eugene Lawson
Martha Hunt
Joseph Salomone
Chuck Zegar
Jordan Young
John Hofmann
Barry Hatfield
Craig Peterson

Thanks to our Patreon Gamma Ray Burst Supporters:
Kris Fernet
Jane Myers
Brandon Cook
James Flowers
Greg Allen
Denys Ivanov
Nick Virtue
Alexey Eromenko
Nicholas Rose
Scott Gossett
Mark Vasile
Patrick Murray
Sultan Alkhulaifi
Alex Seto
Michal-Peanut Karmi
Erik Stein
Daniel Lyons
Kevin Warne
JJ Bagnell
J Rejc
Avi Goldfinger
John Pettit
Florian Stiglmayr
Benoit Pagé-Guitard
Nathan Leniz
Loro Lukic
Brandon Labonte
David Crane
Greg Weiss
James Hughes
TJ Madison

View More »
Category Tags:
CCTubes - get your videos captioned!