22 July 2014

Queensland’s “brainiest student” has been announced, with 14-year-old Sophie Watson out-smarting 170 other high school students to become the 2014 Queensland Brain Bee Champion at QBI today.

Queensland’s brainiest student, 14-year-old Sophie Watson. Queensland’s brainiest student, 14-year-old Sophie Watson.

Queensland’s “brainiest student” has been announced, with 14-year-old Sophie Watson out-smarting 170 other high school students to become the 2014 Queensland Brain Bee Champion at QBI today.

Sophie displayed immense knowledge of the brain in a hotly contested competition to emerge triumphant at the Australian Brain Bee Challenge (ABBC) state final hosted by QBI at The University of Queensland.

In the end it all came down to one question, and Sophie beat fellow Somerville House student Hung-Yi Liu to claim the Queensland title.

“It’s a bit of a shock, but I’m delighted to win,” Sophie said.

“I definitely wasn’t expecting to do well, but I put in so much effort to study for the event.”

“I want to do a science-related degree at university, and I think that neuroscience would be an extremely interesting field. Even when I was really little I wanted to be a brain surgeon.”

Students from more than 60 schools across Queensland gathered at the QBI for the competition, touring the world-class research facilities and listening to presentations between competing in individual challenges in the morning.

ABBC coordinator and QBI research group leader Professor Linda Richards congratulated students for taking part in the competition.

“It was an incredibly close final and I’m delighted to call Sophie our 2014 Queensland Brain Bee Champion,” Professor Linda Richards said.

“All of the competitors can be proud of themselves for making it to the Queensland final, with more than 1100 students across the state competing in the first round.”

“They’ve displayed tremendous knowledge of the brain, and I hope this experience has inspired them to following a career in science.”

By winning the Queensland final, Sophie has earned a place in the ABBC national final in Perth in April 2015.

She will compete with other state finalists for the Australian national crown and a shot of becoming the International Brain Bee Champion.

“I’m really looking forward to the final now. I’ll put in a lot of work to study, but you never know how you’ll go,” she said.

It is the second year in a row that a Somerville House student has won the Queensland title.

Queensland students have also won the last two International Brain Bee crowns, in South Africa and Austria.

Media: Darius Koreis, +61 7 3346 6353, d.koreis@uq.edu.au