Brains were a buzz at UWS during the NSW Brain Bee school students challenge

Sustainability Month Launch 2013
Sustainability Month Launch 2013
Sustainability Month Launch 2013
Sustainability Month Launch 2013
The University of Western Sydney School of Medicine recently hosted the State finals of the 2013 Australian Brain Bee Challenge.  Students from high schools throughout, NSW – including, Greater Western Sydney, remote schools in Dubbo, Bathurst, Orange, Wagga Wagga and Tweed Heads – have tested their knowledge on a range of neuroscience topics. 

Over 130 of the brightest Year 10 students, from 43 schools came together on Thursday 8 August for the State finals.  The students competed in live question and answer rounds where they were tested on topics relating to the structure and function of the human brain - such as intelligence, memory, emotions, sensations, movement, stress, sleep and addiction.

After an intense and close competition, Ricky Chung, from James Ruse Agricultural High School, won the individual event, with second and third places respectively awarded to Riyan Fahim, from Hurlstone Agricultural High School and Neha Mahajan from Baulkham Hills High School.

For the team event, James Ruse Agricultural High School was awarded first place and Baulkham Hills High School second place and third went to Meadowbank Educational Trust School, Wagga Wagga.

Professor Vaughan Macefield, from the UWS School of Medicine and NSW Coordinator of the Australian Brain Bee Challenge, was delighted to see such a thrilling and close competition and congratulates all the contestants.

“It is critically important that we foster the curiosity that young people have for science, and which good science teachers continue to encourage.” 

 “In particular, we need more people to enter the exciting world of neuroscience: our understanding of the brain and nervous system is increasing exponentially, and we are now entering a stage where the brain-computer interfaces of science fiction are becoming a reality,” says Professor Macefield.

The NSW State Champion, Ricky Chung, will proceed to the national finals, held next year at the Australian Neuroscience Society meeting in Adelaide, and may well go on to represent Australia at the International Brain Bee Challenge.  Last year, Australia won the international competition, held in Cape Town, after coming a close second in the 2011 competition in Florence.

In addition to the thrill of competing, the first, second and third place, individual winners received iPods and neuroscience books, donated by UWS, and a conditional Scholarship valued up to $20,000.00 to study at UWS. The winning team won a Zeiss microscope and neuroscience books for their school, with members of the winning team also receiving iPods from UWS.

Ricky, says preparation was very intense for a number of weeks before the competition.

“I meticulously worked my way through the set text ensuring that I had memorised the content from cover to cover.”

“I became involved in the Brain Bee Competition because at my school all the smart science kids were doing it and bragged about how much fun it is, so I figured I should give it a go.  However, my primary reason for getting involved was because of my interest in medicine, and the hope to study it in the future.”  

Schools in the NSW finals of the 2013 Australian Brain Bee Challenge were:
  • ASC St Josephs Campus Lochinvar
  • Bathurst High School
  • Baulkham Hills High School
  • Bethlehem College
  • Beverley Hills Girls High School
  • Burwood Girls High School
  • Cambridge Park High School
  • Catherine McAuley Westmead
  • Caroline Chisholm College
  • Dubbo Christian School
  • Georges River Grammar
  • Hurlstone Agricultural High School
  • James Ruse Agricultural High School
  • Kadina High School
  • Kinross Wolaroi School
  • Macquarie Fields High School
  • Marian College, Kenthurst
  • Mary Mackillop College
  • Merewether High School
  • Meadowbank Educational Trust School, Wagga Wagga
  • Moriah College
  • Mount Carmel Catholic High School
  • Muirfield High School
  • North Sydney Girls High School
  • Prairiewood High School
  • Penrith High School
  • Port Hacking High School
  • Presbyterian Ladies’ College, Sydney
  • Randwick Boys High School
  • Santa Sabina College
  • St Josephs College, Banora Point
  • St Philip’s Christian College – Port Stephens
  • St Ives High School
  • St Mark’s Catholic College
  • St Scholastica’s College
  • St Vincent’s College
  • Stella Maris College Manly  
  • Sydney Secondary College Balmain
  • Tempe High School  
  • The Armidale School
  • The Hills Grammar School
  • The Illawarra Grammar School
  • Xsel-Western NSW


12 August 2013

Contact: Tanya Patterson, Media Officer. 

Photos by: Sally Tsoutas & Anne McLean