The 2010 National Brain Bee Challenge final here in Auckland at Sky City

31 January 2010

Kirsten McEwan North Island (left) and Rachael Wiltshire
Kirsten McEwan North Island (left) and Rachael Wiltshire

The 2010 National Brain Been Challenge final took place as part of the 31st Australian Neuroscience Society national conference held this year at Sky City in Auckland.

The students met and had dinner together on the evening of Sunday 30 January before the competition began. Parts 1-3 of the competition were hosted by the University of Auckland's Faculty of Medical and hosted by the Centre of Brain Research. Parts 1-3 took place on Monday 31 January with a day of challenge presented through Anatomy, Patient Diagnosis and a Short Answer Sections. The students attended the conference Welcome in the evening where they meet prominent international scientists and visited Poster presentations with a background of Trade Displays.

This was a very full and exciting day. Round 4, the Live Question and Answer session took place from 12 -2.00pm at Sky City on Tuesday 1 February (Day 1 of the Conference) and was supported by a large audience of family friends, and conference attendees. At the start of Part 4 the students did not know their scores from the previous day.

The slow release of scores from Parts 1-3 during the Live Grand Final added to the excitement of the competition that developed into a 'cliff hanger' with the North Island's RachaelWiltshire and South Island's Kirsten McEwan competing neck in neck! Rachel's lead on Kirsten, byone point on the Short Answer section was maintained by half a point whenanatomy scores of 22.5 for Kirsten and 22 for Rachel were added in.

The live questionsquiz, concluded with 25.5 points for Kirsten and 21.5 points for Rachel bringing a grand total on the scoreboard of 71 points for Kirsten and 67.5 point for Rachel. But then Part 3, the Patient Diagnosis scores were disclosed, 13 points for Kirsten and 16.5points for Rachel.

A sharp gasp for breath was heard around the room as the scoreboard rolled over to reveal both girls were even with 84 points each. The tension was electric until "sudden death" claimed Kirsten on the fifth tie breaker question.

Prizes were presented by Professor Sir Peter Gluckman, George Paxinos, Sarah Dunlop and Richard Faull (from right to left)
Prizes were presented by Professor Sir Peter Gluckman, George Paxinos, Sarah Dunlop and Richard Faull (from right to left)

The 2010 competition ended with Rachel on 89 points and Kirsten a very close second on 88 points. Congratulations to the New Zealand Champion, Rachael Wiltshire from the North Island's Samuel Marsden Collegiate School in Wellington, and our Runner Up Kerstin McEwan from Riccarton High School in Christchurch, South Island.

New Zealand First Place Prize

Trip for two to Italy to compete in the International Brain Bee Final in Florence, Italy in 2011. Sponsored by the CatWalk Trust, The Centre for Brain Research and the Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences University of Auckland.

  • Cup (to be held for the year), a trophy, certificate and medal of achievement
  • A copy of 'The Brain An Introduction to Functional Neuroanatomy' book by Watson, Kirkcaldie and Paxinos kindly donated by Charles Watson and George Paxinos.

Runner-up received

A cheque for $500 from The Centre for Brain Research and the Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences University of Auckland

  • Certificate and medal of achievement
  • A copy of 'The Brain An Introduction to Functional Neuroanatomy' book by Watson, Kirkcaldie and Paxinos kindly donated by Charles Watson and George Paxinos.

All participants received

  • Certificate and medal of achievement, sponsored by Queensland Brain Institute.

The Australian Champion was Ben Thompson ACT and the Runner Up was Wasiul Hoque NSW.