St Paul's School excels in testing brain challenge

14 Mar 2007

Brisbane’s St Paul’s School has powered home in the Australian Brain Bee Challenge (QLD) finals, winning both the individual and team events.

Winner of the prestigious Individual Final, 15-year-old James Bennett from St Paul’s School, said he had worked hard preparing for the challenge.

“Most of my studying was done after school or during the half-hour it takes for me to travel to school,” James said.

Clutching an armful of prizes and trophies, James, who is a member of the school debating team, said while he enjoyed learning science and maths, he still liked to go fishing 'every now and then’ in his hometown of Caboolture.

James will now compete in the national round of the Australian Brain Bee Challenge (ABBC) at the International Brain Research Organisation meeting in July.

Runners up in the individual competition were: Nigel Thomas (Somerset College) and Sophie Hill (Kelvin Grove State College).

James Bennett was also a member of the St Paul’s School team that won the group competition, while second and third prizes went to Somerset College (Mudgeeraba) and Kelvin Grove State College, respectively (see team members listed below).

The 2006 ABBC individual winner, Tim Mew, also came from St Paul's.

Tim is currently in the USA, competing in the International Brain Bee Challenge.

National ABBC coordinator and Queensland Brain Institute neuroscientist Associate Professor Linda Richards said she was very impressed at the passion and enthusiasm shown by all the contestants.

“It was an absolute delight to have these students on our campus,” Dr Richards said.

“This year’s competition sets another benchmark for neuroscience education in Queensland. The competition showcased the brightest students from across Queensland, selected on merit from a preliminary round, and rewarded them with a fun and informative day at UQ,” she said.

 “Among some of the day's events was a lecture from Queensland Brain Institute Professor Mandyam Srinivasan, winner of the 2007 Prime Minister’s Prize for Science on honeybee vision and how this knowledge can be applied to flying unmanned aircraft”.

 “The teachers and schools who entered this year should be very proud of their students. It was a tough competition and they had all obviously worked very hard preparing for the event”.

The brain bee is a live question-and-answer competition, where students from as far away as Rockhampton and Collinsville were quizzed on their neuroscience knowledge. The competition is a test of important facts concerning intelligence, memory, emotions, sensations, movement, stress, ageing, sleep, Alzheimer’s disease and stroke.

The finalists received microscopes from Zeiss Australasia for their school and iPods to take home donated by Infinite Systems.

ABBC 2007 (Qld)

Team Competition Winners

1. St Paul’s School

  • James Bennett
  • Louise Horsley
  • Fraser James-Pearson
  • Courtney Landers
  • James Nightingale
  • Mitchell Webster

2. Somerset College

  • Colin Finke
  • Julia Medland
  • Jennifer Richards
  • Nigel Thomas

3. Kelvin Grove State College

  • Michael Copson
  • Mathew Hardman
  • Sophie Hill
  • Frank Hu
  • Joseph O’Neill

QBI Director's Prize

Sophie Hill from Kelvin Grove State College also received the QBI Director's Prize of $200 for achieving the highest overall score on parts A and B of the Individual Competition.


For more information, please contact:
QBI Communications Office
Tel: +61 7 3346 6434

Notes to the Editor
The Queensland Brain Institute was formed in 2003 as part of the Queensland Government’s Smart State Initiative, building on a long history of neuroscience at The University of Queensland. QBI is dedicated to understanding the molecular basis of brain function and applying this knowledge to the development of new therapeutics to treat brain and mental health disorders.

The Australian Brain Bee Challenge (ABBC) is the country’s largest neuroscience competition for high school students. The competition is designed to test school students’ knowledge about a range of topics, including intelligence, memory, emotions, sleep, Alzheimer’s disease and stroke.  In 2010, more than 10,000 students are expected to take part nationally.