Dick and Dom learn about defensive engineering, including impregnable castles, concrete bunkers and efforts to protect Earth from asteroids.
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-Welcome to the genius world of...
'Each show, we're going to introduce you to three geniuses...'
..whose ideas have quite literally built the world.
'We put all their epic brilliance...'
-'..to the test...'
-Hit it! Hit it!
'..when we tackle our own genius monster build.'
Don't you dare demolish this!
-Why is it swinging?!
Oh, no! No!
'..all in the name of science.'
That is a massive piece of construction.
What could possibly go wrong?
-On this show...
All right, you fighter.
Oh, I got the camera!
'Help!' HE SCREAMS
-'Cos we're under attack!'
we've needed to defend ourselves against attack,
and what better way than through the work
of our three engineering geniuses who've helped keep us out of danger?
For as long as we've walked the earth,
people have found things to fight about.
Arguments over land, water and even ideas can all end up in,
well, a punch-up, basically.
And as we got better at launching attacks,
engineers have had to come up with smarter and smarter ways
of keeping the baddies at bay.
THEY LAUGH MOCKINGLY
Let's start back in a time when knights were bold
and damsels always seemed to be in distress.
Life in the Middle Ages was a pretty dodgy affair.
Yeah, it was. There were loads of warring armies and bandits,
which meant that staying out of danger was top of the list.
So, what better way to stay safe
than through the work of our first genius?
Please welcome castle builder extraordinaire,
James of Saint George.
-Keep out of my beautiful castle, you naughty men!
THEY BLOW RASPBERRIES
Euryn Roberts is a medieval history expert.
What he doesn't know about Beaumaris Castle
and the man who built it isn't worth knowing.
Why is this castle so significant to James of Saint George?
Well, this is his last castle in Wales.
He built a number in Wales and a few in Scotland,
as well, but this is the last one, the greatest in terms of its scale.
When the warring armies came along,
how difficult would it have been for them to storm this castle?
Well, as you can see,
we've got two massive curtain walls in front of us.
We've got a moat surrounding the castle, as well.
It's designed to keep people out.
This incredible castle is fortified to the max.
Anyone who wanted to storm this place would've faced no fewer
than 14 separate obstacles.
But it's never been put to the test by a besieging army until now.
There's only one way to find out
whether James of Saint George's genius defences were the real deal.
It's time for a Dick versus Dom castle concrete challenge.
I'm sticking with Euryn, who's giving me the inside track
on James of Saint George's finest creation.
While I'm on the attack.
Right, that castle is under siege.
Just have to remember how to row.
What was it about the moat that made it so difficult to cross?
So, the moat is the first line of defence.
As you can see, it's pretty wide.
It would've been up to a man's chest.
And if you've got people throwing things down at you,
shooting at you, it's going to be pretty difficult to get over.
OK. Right, what's the next one?
Don't go! I'm about to siege!
I'm going to attack you! Oh!
If Dom does eventually make it across that moat,
he'll come face-to-face with these huge, 12m-high stone walls.
Right, I'm hot on your heels,
but not before I've slipped into something a little, well,
He's going to be terrified when he sees me.
We're pretty high up. Why is this a good defence?
So, we're on top of the inner ward.
If you remember, there was the moat, then there's the outer ward.
But in between the inner and outer ward,
we've got this area of grass here.
People would've been throwing things down at you,
firing arrows at you.
It wouldn't have been a nice place to be.
King Dickie, I'm coming for you! Argh!
We've got just the thing to dampen the enthusiasm of troublemakers -
-All right, you fighter.
-Oh, missed again.
-Have some of that.
You, sir, are French toast.
Come on! I'm invading your castle!
We're getting the range. We're getting the range.
He's getting off really lightly,
but of course, in the medieval period,
we'd be shooting arrows at him, throwing boiling water on him.
Your chain mail is all soggy now, monsieur.
'Right, that's it. I'm trying another way in.
Around the other side of the inner ward
is the South Gate passage.
It's one of only two routes into the heart of the castle,
and there's certainly no welcome mat here.
You'd have had to get through a big wooden door
to get into this area.
-You would've had to get past a portcullis.
-What's a portcullis?
A portcullis is a big iron gate, and there's two in here.
One on the front and one towards the back.
You can see this is the groove where it would've fallen down.
And then, above us, there were murder holes.
Oh, don't like the sound of them.
So, murder holes were kind of spaces
where people would throw down boiling water, stones.
And then, just behind you, we have arrow slits.
They're quite narrow in the front,
but they're wider inside and there would've been room there
for people to fire arrows at you.
So, not only you get melted, you get an arrow in the head, as well.
-Yeah. And you're trapped, as well.
You're not getting any further.
Don't like this place. Let's move on.
It doesn't scare me.
-I'm going to get my castle back. WHISPERS:
-Here he is coming.
Right, that's it. I admit, it's terrifying.
It's a naughty castle and I can't cope.
-Ha-ha! He's legged it.
It's victory for engineering.
-Thank goodness that's all over.
-Why, was it heavy?
No, it was just ridiculous, wasn't it?
But anyway, the point has been proved
-that I could not enter your castle.
-No, I am the king of the castle.
No, no, no, c'est moi. I am the king of the castles!
Engineering against attack
isn't always about the design of the building.
No, it's also about the materials that you use to build it.
Yeah. Since the 19th century,
one genius material has withstood bombs, bullets and blasts
more than any other material.
Introducing reinforced concrete
and its inventor Monsieur Joseph Monier.
Come and have a go if you think you're 'ard enough.
-He's a concrete kisser.
We love concrete, we do.
Frenchman Joseph Monier was a keen gardener
with a big problem.
The clay pots that he used to hold his plants would often break.
Needing something stronger,
he put a layer of iron mesh inside cement.
Monier's new material was much tougher to smash
and it wasn't long before he realised its potential
for building bigger things.
May the reinforced be with you. Ha!
But it was during World War II
that Monier's genius idea came into full force.
Yeah, the British and the Germans
were making massive use of reinforced concrete.
They were using it to build barriers, bunkers
and other defensive buildings.
The biggest and the best of the lot was this.
This huge dome is called La Coupole.
During the Second World War, this site in Northern France
was used by the German army to store and launch V-2 rockets.
This made it a massive target for Allied attacks.
But nowadays, it's kept as a museum.
And Genius helper Cyrille Delattre is going to show us around.
Right, we're in the top of the building,
but what was this dome used for?
Actually, this dome is very special.
What is very important is under our feet, actually -
the preparation room for the rockets.
It needed to be protected,
so they needed to build this kind of huge shield of concrete
to protect what is underground.
So, this is like basically a giant umbrella.
-It is a giant umbrella.
-A big, concrete umbrella.
And it's, as you can see, very much reinforced.
-You can see up there...
..these big bars of metal crisscross.
It's like a giant Shreddie.
This would go like this and then this and then this...
-..all the way up.
In total, the Germans used about 55,000 tonnes of concrete here.
The reinforced dome is 5m thick,
which gave the builders a real headache when it came
to fitting the museum's fire exits.
It took almost ten months just to dig this small exit.
What?! But that's the same amount of time
as it took the Germans to build the whole building.
That gives you a good clue of the efficiency of the construction.
So, why did it take so long to dig through, what is it, 5m?
Well, yes, 5m.
But you must think of the resistance of the concrete in itself
and the reinforcements.
You can see it's everywhere.
Reinforced concrete is clearly no soft touch.
But why exactly is it so resistant to attack?
In case you haven't noticed, we're not engineers.
So it's a good job we have superstar engineer Yewande
to call on when structures get us scratching our heads.
-Yewande, what have you got in there?
-I've got cake mixture in here.
Of course you have. Why have you got cake mixture?
We're here to talk about reinforced concrete.
Yes, but you know what?
Cake and concrete actually have a lot in common.
-Is it rock cake?
-What is this? What is that?
-This is plastic.
'It's baking mesh.'
Now, this is like the reinforcement -
the iron or the steel, right?
It is able to withstand bending forces, right?
It's got the right give.
And the concrete - our cake mixture -
is able to actually bear compressive stresses.
Concrete alone can shatter when hit.
Add in the flexible strength of steel, and voila,
you have one mega-strong material.
Joseph Monier, that was his genius.
He combined two different materials
with two different physical properties
to create one material that is stronger than either
of the two materials would've been on their own.
And Yewande has come up
with a little experiment to prove exactly that.
One of these cakes is reinforced with layers of plastic baking mesh,
and the other, well, it isn't.
Here's two we made earlier.
Now, which will survive this 6m drop?
One, two, three.
Right, let's have a look.
-OK. I'll and try and pick it up.
-Oh, my God.
-Oh, look at that.
-How about we try that one?
That is intact thanks to the reinforcement.
The bad news is my cake is in pieces.
The good news is it tastes blooming good.
Put the kettle on. We'll have a nice cup of tea.
Have a brew, yeah. Come on, let's go and have a brew.
The proof is in the pudding.
Back on the other side of the English Channel,
Cyrille has arranged a special treat.
A trip to the very top
of La Coupole's reinforced concrete dome.
-Wow, look at the view.
-Yes, it is a beautiful view,
-although, around here, 3,000 tonnes of bombs fell...
..that was dropped by the Royal Air Force
during the Second World War.
One of the biggest bombs of the time, a Tallboy -
-five tonnes - just fell 20 yards from here.
It should have shaken everything off,
and the dome resisted because of the reinforcement.
Since the end of World War II,
Monier's genius idea has kept everything,
from the world's tallest buildings
to the most famous bridges, standing.
Joseph Monier, you are one tough cookie.
-And of course an absolute genius.
Tastes like concrete.
Still to come, we head to the seaside to build,
and then attempt to knock down...
No! My beautiful wall!
..a massive castle of our very own.
But now prepare yourselves for a barrage of random genius-nesssss.
This is the Great Wall of China.
Originally believed to stretch to an incredible 13,000 miles,
this is easily the biggest defensive structure in the world.
Meet BigDog -
a prototype rough-terrain robot that walks, runs,
climbs and carries heavy loads.
The plan is that, one day, soldiers will use this robotic hound
to carry equipment on the battlefield.
Walkies! DOG BARKS
No, this isn't the set of Star Wars.
In fact, these fortified towers in the Thames Estuary off Kent
were used to defend Britain from attack during World War II.
-We're in California!
-Is that in America?
You're very clever. And it's home to our final genius.
Medieval castles and reinforced concrete bunkers
were at the cutting edge of defensive engineering.
Our third genius has come up with a way to give protection
from things flying at us, which is what I need right now.
No, not baseballs. Asteroids.
Let's smash it out of the park for our next genius,
Megan Bruck Syal.
The one and only!
Oh, hang on. What's going on here? Is this supposed to be me?
And who the heck are you?
Sorry, Megan. She's very rude, you know.
Nice to meet you. A real-life genius!
Come in here. Come and meet the other one.
Absolutely useless. Right, I've got a friend for you.
-Oh, hi, Megan.
-Nice to meet you.
-Nice to meet you.
What is it about playing baseball, then,
that ties in with your genius idea?
Baseball is a really useful way of understanding the threat
that we're under from asteroids.
So, in the future, an asteroid might be coming right at the earth,
just like the baseballs are coming right at you.
Ah, that's the asteroid. Right.
And we need a way to deflect the asteroid off course
-from the earth, just like you're using the bat.
But that's not actually a real threat, is it -
an asteroid hitting planet earth?
Actually, there's many thousands of asteroids out there undiscovered,
and some of them will be likely to hit us in the future.
We just don't know when.
NASA estimate nearly 15,000 asteroids can be classified
as near-earth objects, but hardly any of those
will actually make it all the way to earth.
Most are small and burn up in the earth's upper atmosphere,
creating shooting stars.
But every once in a while, one comes a little too close for comfort.
In 2013, this 20m-wide meteor exploded in the skies above Russia.
This amazing footage from mobile phones and security cameras
shows just how powerful the blast was.
At this hi-tech US government facility,
Megan and her colleagues are working to defend our planet
against future threats from space.
-Looks like a spaceship.
Megan, we've been in some labs before,
but this looks like the daddy of all labs.
What goes on in here?
We're hoping to learn more about how these asteroids will respond
to the ways in which we're likely to try to deflect them.
So, in here, we're using a laser.
We fire that laser at the meteorite samples.
We have some really sophisticated cameras and mirrors...
They'll be looking in at the target as it's being zapped.
We'll watch how that meteorite responds to the laser.
So, let's say, in hundreds of thousands of years' time,
a meteorite is coming towards earth, what would you do?
So, if an asteroid really were going to threaten the earth,
there's two main techniques we'd use.
The first is called a kinetic impactor.
It's very straightforward.
-A spacecraft would just crash into it at high speeds...
..dump all of its momentum into the asteroid
so it would just be nudged off course with earth.
Plan A - fire an unmanned rocket and knock the meteor off course.
Second option -
and we need to use this for somewhat larger asteroids
or asteroids where we don't have a lot of warning time -
we could use a nuclear explosion
that would be deployed some distance from the surface of the asteroid,
so we'd hopefully deflect it.
Plan B - blow up a massive bomb and send the meteor flying.
That's it. Get out of it!
For your genius idea to protect planet earth
from an asteroid attack...
Megan Bruck Syal, you are an absolute genius.
-You don't look like me.
-YOU don't look like ME!
-Now, get out of my lab!
From the medieval castle
to the very latest in planet-saving technology...
We've seen how some truly genius engineering
has kept people safe from the threat of attack.
Now then, we're going to have a go at building...
And attempting to demolish.
-..our very own castle.
And where better place to build a castle...
-Cas-tle. ..than here at the seaside?!
But if we're going to build a castle out of sand,
then it needs to be big.
And for that, we need the help of an expert.
Ah, that's better.
Meet professional sand sculptor Mark Anderson.
He's built everything you can possibly imagine,
and all out of sand taken straight from the local beach.
I've got a monster build Genius challenge,
which is to build a humongous sandcastle.
-I'm going to flatten it.
-Squash it to the ground.
You're not, cos I'm going to reinforce it.
Nice and strong so you can't flatten it.
-That's what you think.
-Look, we need... I need some inspiration.
-OK, well, let's go and have a look around.
See if there's anything we can inspire you with.
Then we'll go into the sandpit,
make a mock-up and then see how we're going.
Get to play sand castles! Amazing.
'So, while I'm busy planning my castle...'
-Is this the tallest one here?
-It is, yeah. 5m.
I'm working out how to reduce it to rubble.
-So, just mix the sand with some water.
-Get a nice, big handful of that.
-Dream job, this.
So, you and your team are going to construct the real thing now.
-And I'll come back later
when you're nearly done and add the finishing touches.
Many, many, many hours later,
and at our beach building site, Mark and I are almost done.
It's great round the front, but round the back,
there's some tissue sticking out. What's this?
Well, this is one of the ways of reinforcing concrete,
so we thought we'd give it a go with the sand.
So, we've learned all about reinforced concrete.
This is reinforced sand, folks, right here. OK.
I don't care how reinforced it's going to be
cos I've got watermelons.
I reckon it's going to take more than melons
to knock this beauty down.
James of Saint George would be proud.
The castle wall is 2m tall and almost a metre thick,
and safely behind it, my magnificent Trojan pig.
In total, this truly monster build weighs more than 20 tonnes.
Dick, you may take my castle, but you'll never take my pig!
Here's how it's going to work.
Mark and I - well, just Mark, really -
has lovingly sculpted my Trojan sand pig.
It's reinforced with layers of tissue paper
and protected from frontal assault by a supersized sand wall,
just like castles of old.
Dickie has no chance.
I wouldn't be so sure.
Just wait till you see the awesome selection of weapons
-I've got to choose from.
Let battle commence.
Come on. Come and get my pig.
'Anyone for tennis?'
Making a bit of damage. It's a good start.
My castle's rock-solid.
Ooh! I got the camera!
It's advantage Dick.
Here he comes. Here he comes.
Come on, then.
70mph tennis balls -
scary for me, but no problem for the wall.
-I'm running out of balls!
My castle is still intact, but what about my prized porker?
My beautiful pig!
It hit the swine on the backside,
but the only other damage concerned - nothing.
My pig is in place.
Yes, I may have lost the battle, but I haven't lost the war.
Slice of melon, Dom?
It's melon time!
This honeydew is coming to you.
-That's my turret!
Oi, you put that honeydew away.
-Right in the window.
These beauties are doing way more damage.
Back of the net. Now for the pig.
-Did that hit my pig?
-It's a honeydew blitz.
It's actually really tough to damage. Look. See?
Did that hit my pig?
No, it's not hit my pig.
No more Mr Nice Guy.
Right, time for a big one.
These watermelons are more than twice the weight of the honeydews.
But my oinker has yet to take a direct hit.
He's got a new technique, folks.
At last, I've found my range.
That castle is firmly in my sights.
But, alas, my watermelons can't weasel their way
through Dom's defences. Time for a change of tack.
He's melting my castle. It's melting like it's made of wax.
This high-pressure washer could strip paint off a shed...
..and it's really doing the trick.
That wall is my first line of defence.
As long as he doesn't get through it and attack my pig,
I don't care what he does to the outside.
Don't be so cocky. I'm going in.
It's popped out the other side! My oinker's getting wet!
Pig. I'm nearly at the pig.
This is hogwash!
I'm defending it! You can't get my pig wet!
Argh! Right, I've had enough. It's not working.
There's more on me than I'm destroying the castle.
There's only one thing for it.
Is he finished?
That's it. Look at that! My pig's still intact.
A little bit damp around the edges, but it doesn't matter.
I have got an indestructible hog!
You have left me no option.
You, sir, and your pig have brought this on yourselves.
It's a thing of beauty. ENGINE APPROACHES
Pig, we're coming to get you.
This is a British Scorpion tank - eight tonnes of tracked fury.
You don't need melons. You don't need tennis balls.
You just need a tank.
It's designed to move across virtually any terrain,
You leave my castle alone! Don't you...
-Here we go.
Don't you dare demolish this!
What have you done to my castle?
That's one corner gone.
It's smashed to pieces!
That's how you demolish a castle.
Well, that's the castle accounted for.
Don't you worry. Everything's fine. You'll be fine.
Now your porker's for the chop.
Here we go. Come on, pig.
Leave our tank alone.
Not the pig. Not the pig. Don't you dare.
-Leave my pig alone.
Bye, pig. Yeah!
You've knocked his head off!
He's got no head.
That's the pig down, ladies and gentlemen.
Even my super-strong swine is no match for a tank.
He's made a right pig's ear of that one, eh?
Well, better go and get a bucket and spade and start again.
We've seen how some nifty engineering has come up
with brilliant defensive ideas.
Thanks to these three geniuses,
we are now relatively safe from the threat of attack.
Unless your house is built out of sand
and it's being driven over by a tank.
James of Saint George, Monier and Bruck Syal,
you are all absolute genius.
Smashing work, fellas. Now then, let's have a paddle.
He's loving it.
I hate it!
Dick and Dom are under attack in this high-octane tour through defensive engineering. The boys delve into the work of three geniuses whose ideas have given us impregnable castles and reinforced concrete bunkers and may one day protect planet Earth from asteroid attack! To top things off, they head to the seaside for a mega-sized game of smash the sandcastle.