During the elimination process, Big Brain Theory's host Kal Penn, the show's judges Christine Gulbranson (Nanotechnologist and Renewable Energy Investor), Mark Fuller (Owner of WET, red shirt) and guest judge Mike Massimino (Nasa astronaut and Engineer, blue shirt), address the contestants after the test, during which both their projects failed and exploded. Each team built an apparatus that they hoped would limit the G-force applied to explosives on the back of two pick-up trucks as they collided at approximately 35 mph; avoiding an explosion. (Gilles Mingasson/Getty Images/DISCOVERY CHANNEL)
“The Big Brain Theory: Pure Genius,” Wednesdays on the Discovery Channel

Prime-time television is packed with reality shows that search for the next great singer, dancer, designer, model, chef and entrepreneur. This month, the Discovery Channel unveils a program seeking the next great innovator.

In “The Big Brain Theory: Pure Genius,” hosted by Kal Penn of “Harold and Kumar” fame, competitors must use creative thinking and skills in the STEM disciplines — science, technology, engineering and math — to proposed solutions to an engineering problem. A panel of judges chooses the two strongest proposals; the competitors then form two teams that each have three days to execute each of the plans. The people on the team that best handles the challenge remain in the game, while one person on the losing team is sent home. Then the rivalry begins again, with a new task, new proposals, new teams and new eliminations.

Challenges in the eight-episode series will include creating a machine that can cook and arrange a meal for a group of famished tourists; building a portable bunker that can withstand fire, pressurized water and winds from a jet engine; and constructing a robot capable of competing in three different athletic events.

The winner will be awarded $50,000 and a one-year contract to work with WET, a design firm specializing in large water installations that one of the judges heads.