In May, 2008, I was honoured to participate as a judge in the 2008 World Virtual Science and Engineering Fair in Doha, Qatar. The event was initiated by Wilf Riego, a former Canada Wide Virtual Science Fair (VSF) judge now teaching at the Doha campus of the College of the North Atlantic (CNA). As with everything in Qatar, the event was done on a grand scale. Both our Qatar and CNA hosts treated all visitors with incredible generosity and warmth.
Two former VSF teams participated in the event along with teams from Pakistan, Australia, Germany, Malaysia, and Qatar. Robert Young and Jordan Chin participated in the post secondary category with their 2007 VSF project Finding F(x) with Genetic Algorithms .See Video. Vlad Ternosky entered his 2007 VSF project A Hole in the Wing . See Video. Vlad won first prize in the high school category and was awarded a $20,000.00 scholarship to any university of his choosing. At the spectacular awards ceremony, all teams were presented many gifts including laptops.
Qatar is a small country with less than 500,000 citizens. Qatar is making a huge effort to become the centre of higher learning for the Middle East. Many prestigious North American universities have opened branch campuses in Doha to create a top level educational environment. These include Cornell University , Carnegie Mellon , Texas A&M , University of Calgary and Georgetown University .
On a personal note (see
, I think being accompanied by our incredibly welcoming Qatar hosts provided us an unique experience unavailable to tourists. Another highlight was the time spent with Roberta Bondar, also a guest judge. See Roberta Bondat Talk.