2019 France Brain Bee

Seung-Bin Joo wins 2019 france brain bee.

Twenty-one students competed in the France Brain Bee, a neuroscience competition where students are tested on their knowledge of the brain. The event was hosted and sponsored by the ICM Brain and Spine Institute in collaboration with Gifted in France, a not-for-profit association based in Paris. Here’s a video of the competition, courtesy of ICM.

Seung-Bin Joo, from the International School of Paris, 1st place winner

Seung-Bin Joo from the International School of Paris took home the first prize trophy, while second place trophy went to Jihee Cheong  from Ecole International Victor Hugo and Maryam Ali from the American School of Grenoble won third place trophy. Joo is in 10th grade( seconde), Cheong and Ali are in 11th grade (première).

France Brain Bee is an affiliate of the International Brain Bee (IBB) whose mission is to encourage high school students around the world to learn more about their brain, help dispel stigma around neurodegenerative diseases and psychiatric disorders, and pursue careers in neuroscience.

After kicking off the day with ice-breaking events to ease the nerves, all contestants had to finish four stages of the competition: A Written Quiz, Patient Diagnosis, Neuroanatomy Identification and Rapid Question and Answer section. Once scores were tallied, five finalists with the highest marks were chosen to compete in the final ‘Jeopardy Stage,’ where they were given the same questions and were asked to write down their answers in front of a live audience. Five finalists were: Seung-Bin Joo and Amélie Haloxová both from the International School of Paris. Jihee Cheong from Ecole Bilingue Victor Hugo, Nora El Doughbshy from Lycée Louis-le-Grand and Maryam Ali from the American School of Grenoble.

Top three winners were awarded trophies and the latest edition of The Atlas of the Brain (Le grand Atlas du cerveau).

The American Library in Paris awarded the top two winners a one year complimentary membership. ICM awarded first place winner Seung-Bin Joo a two week internship and a paid trip to participate in the International Brain Bee (IBB) Championships. IBB will be hosted by the International Brain Research Organisation (IBRO), during their World Congress in Daegu, South Korea, 19-23 September. Winners from over 25 countries will be eligible to compete in the IBB.

The International Brain Bee is a non-profit educational organization consisting of partnerships with the American Psychological Association (APA), the Dana Foundation, the Federation of European Neuroscience Societies (FENS), the International Brain Research Organization (IBRO) and the Society for Neuroscience (SfN).

2019 France Brain Bee Competitors at ICM

Asked about her participation in the event, 2nd place winner Cheong, said, “I thought that it was very meaningful. I got to learn new material that I probably won’t cover at all in school. I was very excited and it was a very beneficial opportunity for me.”

“Without a doubt, I would 100% recommend Brain Bee to other students. Regardless of whether pursuing neuroscience as a career is within your interest or not, knowledge about the brain is valuable,”  Joo, winner of the event. “Understanding the command center of the human body can help us reach a deeper understanding of many aspects of our everyday lives such as behaviour, emotions, senses, learning and brain diseases. The way in which trillions of signals from billions of neurons translate into bodily actions, emotions and intelligent thinking, is in my opinion one of the greatest and most interesting mysteries scientists are faced with today. And with the Brain Bee, students are given a great opportunity to explore the big and active field of neuroscience,’ Joo added.

Many of the students present had been studying hard for several months.  Fourteen students came from six different schools in Paris: ISP, EIB Victor Hugo, Ecole Jeannine Manuel, Collège Pierre et Marie Curie and Lycée Louis-le-Grand; 6 students came from the American School of Grenoble, and one student is homeschooling in Paris.

To be eligible, students had to be in grades 9-12th (3ème- terminale) and register by 28 February.  Questions at the competition were based on the Brain Facts: A Primer on the Brain and Nervous System book, which is free and available for download to all interested students.  Online links were also provided to help prepare for the neuroanatomy section of the competition.

We look forward to sharing news about the 2020 France Brain in the weeks and months ahead. To sign up your students or school for the 2020 France Brain Bee, or to find out how to start a brain bee at your school, please contact Helen Sahin Connelly: francebrainbee@gmail.com or visit francebrainbee.org.

Thank you to all the volunteers and staff from ICM, Gifted in France and others who helped make the 2019 France Brain Bee a success.

2019 France Brain Bee Team

Written by: Helen Sahin Connelly
(Photo credits to Michelle Wilson, Helen Sahin Connelly, François André,  Elodie Likhtart, Julia Connelly, Laura Ulysse, Prat Srivastava. Share your photos with francebrainbee@gmail.com)