The finalists for Qatar Foundation’s “edutainment reality” program Stars of Science were selected in an exhilarating episode on MBC4 that saw the last two candidates advance to the final round. In a resounding win, Rania Bou Jaoudeh of Lebanon prevailed in the eyes of the jury to claim a coveted spot in the finals. Qatari candidate Mohammed Al Housani also advanced, surpassing Saudi Arabia’s Khaled AlSulaim to join Thiab Al Doussary and Sultan Al Sobhi as the season’s four finalists who will compete for $600,000 in prize money on 15 November.
Stars of Science, now in its sixth season, pits innovators against each other in a competition to turn their ideas into reality. Twelve candidates aged 18 to 30 come to Doha, Qatar, where they are mentored by world-class engineering and design experts at the Qatar Science & Technology Park (QSTP). The innovators’ resilience, ingenuity and teamwork are tested in challenges throughout the show as they develop their inventions from concept to commercialization with the ultimate goal of winning funding for their projects.
In the final design episode, Rania, Mohammed and Khaled were tasked with building upon their success in the engineering stage by improving their project’s design. The candidates crafted a bespoke design for their projects, aiming to make them more attractive, marketable and practical. The jurors mainly focused on industrial design, challenging the candidates to use art and science to improve the aesthetics, ergonomics and functionality of their projects.
“Designers, innovators and scientists come up with new technologies, materials and paradigms that rejuvenate the fabric of mankind,” remarked VIP juror James Law, founder of the architectural firm James Law Cybertecture International. “A great designer takes a theory and finds a road to a practical reality. However, that is just the beginning. If you want to make something special, you have to discover the magic behind it.”
Mr. Law was joined by perennial jurors Youssif Al-Salhi, General Manager of Qatar Shell Research and Technology Center and Dr. Fouad Mrad, Executive Director of the United Nations ESCWA regional technology center. Rania’s gamble in re-imagining the design of her Automatic Zucchini Corer paid off, earning her high praise from Mr. Law, who said her prototype was one of the best he had seen during his years on the jury of Stars of Science. Dr. Mrad and Mr. Al-Salhi also complimented the project’s cultural relevance and practicality.
The fourth and last spot in the final episode then became a battle between “The Scientist” Mohammed AL Housani and “The Quiet One” Khaled AlSulaim. Both faced feedback from the jury over the design of their projects. The jury agreed that Mohammed’s Efficient Solar Energy System was visually appealing, but urged him to think about designing a system to make deployment and maintenance easier instead of concentrating only on aesthetics. The design of Khaled’s Phone-to-Phone Battery Charger, meanwhile, was questioned by Mr. Law for being too simple. Mr. Al-Salhi and Dr. Mrad argued that though the device was functional, it lacked a distinguishing element, which hindered marketability.
“Every innovator must take both success and failure as yet another opportunity to re-focus and improve,” noted Mr. Al-Salhi. “I have no doubt that Rania, Mohammed and Khaled will continue to persevere and in doing so, inspire many around the region to take an interest in science and technology.” Season 6 of Stars of Science will culminate in a live final episode hosted by Khaled Al Jumaily. The live final, in which voting from the public and a jury deliberation will determine the final outcome, will be shown on 15 November at 8:00 KSA time on MBC4