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Science Comes to Reality TV

The Qatar Foundation is getting ready for the second season of its science reality show, Stars of Science. The show, which first aired in May 2009, invited 16 competitors to showcase their scientific innovations in front of three judges for a chance to win a cash prize. According to an article from the time on, the 16 contestants came from all over the Arab world — Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Oman, Lebanon, Palestine, Syria, Sudan, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, and Morocco — and were given challenges in engineering, design, and business, but also had a chance to develop their own inventions. According to the Season 1 highlight reel, this was meant to be a contest of innovation and engineering, and of "technology without limits," but it was also meant to teach the audience about inventions from all over the world and what the rest of the scientific world was innovating at the time. In the four weeks of the show, the Science and Technology Park in Doha hosted the contestants, with the viewing audience encouraged to vote for their favorite scientists, à la American Idol. The first prize winner received $300,000 to continue working on their invention, according to an article in the Kuwait Times in 2009. The second season is set to start soon.