Aidan Crank from Stroudsburg High School in Pennsylvania has won the fifth annual National Brain Bee Championship.
The brain bee is a two-day neuroscience competition for high school students, founded by Norbert Myslinski, PhD, an associated professor at the University of Maryland School of Dentistry. This year, a record number of 44 of the nation's brightest high school students came to the competition, held in Baltimore, from 26 states.
Crank will represent the United States in the International Brain Bee Championship, which Myslinski also created 14 years ago. The cerebral youth said he was "really happy" to win the U.S. competition and relieved that it was over, for now. The international competition will be held in conjunction with the convention of the International Union of Psychological Science in Cape Town, South Africa, in July.
Parents and teachers have told Myslinski many times that for months before the competition student competitors study hard for the brain bee, soaking up knowledge of the human brain including such topics as intelligence, emotions, memory, sleep, vision, hearing, sensations, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, schizophrenia, addictions, and brain research. The competition involves oral exams, a neuroanatomy laboratory practical with real human brains, neurohistology with microscopes, brain imaging identification, and patient diagnosis with nurse actors.
Myslinski said the competition is designed to inspire young people to pursue neuroscience and eventually contribute to therapies or even cures for brain and nerve disorders. Currently, there are 150 chapters of the brain bee in 30 countries on six continents. About 30,000 students compete in the national brain bee each year.
The second-place winner this year was Sidharth Chand from Detroit Country Day School representing East Lansing, Mich. Tied for third was Danling Chen from Staten Island Technical High School representing New York City, and Shivangi Goel from the Bergan County Academies representing Newark, N.J. In fifth place was Carly O'Connor from Shaler Area High School representing Pittsburgh.