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Arab TV show awards scientists of the future

posted 29 Nov 2010, 07:30 by Sam Mbale   [ updated 29 Nov 2010, 07:33 ]

Five candidates who have made it to the semi-finals of the 'Stars of Science' Pan-Arab TV innovation contest compete for the ultimate prize. The semi-finalists completed a "design" phase during the sixth prime-time episode of the programme, when they presented to the jury a fully functional and aesthetically-designed product. "Stars of Science" aired across the Arab World, on 15 public and private channels.

DOHA, QATAR (NOVEMBER 28, 2010) REUTERS - Four budding Arab scientists were awarded cash prizes in Doha, Qatar on Sunday (November 28) for their science and innovation skills on a televised competition.

The scientists, who are all students, were taking part in Qatari produced TV show Stars of Science, which

looks out for the hottest young innovator in the Arab region.

The total amount of the prizes was 600,000 U.S dollars, with the first prize being awarded to 26-year old Kuwaiti Sadek Qassim. Qassim scooped 300,000 U.S. dollars.

The winners included scientists from Kuwait, Egypt, Lebanon and Saudi Arabia. They reached the finals by competing with their scientific projects and designs in the weekly show, which has a similar format to that of a TV talent show, where viewers and the judges vote on their favourite projects.

Leading the jury was Egyptian-American scientist Farouq El-Baz who has worked at leading institutions like NASA.

Before the final, Egyptian jury member Farouq El-Baz said he has seen the competitors grow in their fields.

''It was very interesting to watch the candidates develop and evolve through the process. I have seen the footage from the previous event and then watch them evolve with what they have. It is wonderful to see how much self-confidence they gain, how much more serious about the job they became and how much forward to life they think, their experience can prepare them to a much wider and better life in the future,'' said El-Baz .

The Middle East has a long and famous history of science and innovation, and the show builds on that reputation.

Kuwaiti winner Sadek Qassim's project was called 'Alchemist.' His invention was the production of a multi-functional lab tester, which can be used by the oil and gas industry to test samples.

Speaking after the competition he said all the participants were winners.

'' I can't describe this feeling. This contest has a winner, second and third runners up. For me we're all winners and we all presented products that make the Arab world proud. I learned a lot from my fellow candidates. I learned to be patient and other things. I thank them and appreciate their team work, spirit, and their perseverance to implement their projects. Success is for all of us not only me,'' said Qassim.

The second prize was awarded to Egyptian Abdallah Abou Zeid for his Omni Joint, a mechanical "arm" which can move in many directions and angles.

Abdallah said the competition has now provided him with the exposure needed to develop and continue with his work.

"Whatever the result would have been, I was determined to carry on with my project. If I was conducting the project by myself not on TV it will be my own. It doesn't matter if I win or lose. But since it was shown to the public to inspire them, we are not allowed to step back or change our mind. I hope we're up to the expectations and able to finish the work until the end,'' said Abou Zeid.

The competition was dominated by male finalists, but female Lebanese scientist Hind Hobeika was awarded the third prize of 100,000 U.S dollars for her Butterfly invention.

Twenty-two-year old Hobeika designed goggles which enable swimmers to measure their heart rate, among other functions.

Those taking part in the competition are all students, who are affiliated with organisations.

The programme is an initiative set up under the Qatar Foundation and Qatar Science and Technology Park (QSTP) which aims to develop young scientists.

With season two of the show now over, preparations are in place to find next year's innovators of the future.