Frequently Asked Questions
The Brain Bee is a program designed to motivate high school students (usually ages 14 to 18) to learn more about neuroscience. No student is allowed to participate in more than one local brain bee per year. No student is allowed to represent their country in the International Championship more than once. For countries that conduct National Championships, no student is allowed to compete more than once.
Awards for the participants and winners of the local and national competitions vary. They usually include certificates, prize money, trophies, and trips for the winner to the next level of the competition. In the IBB Championship, the third place winner receives $1000; the second place winner receives $2000, and the first place winner receives $3000, an individual trophy, a traveling trophy for his or her high school to display, and a summer internship with an esteemed neuroscientist (prizes may vary).
By participating, high school students learn about the brain and its vital function in our lives. They gain an appreciation for neuroscience that might one day lead them to become neurologists or neuroscientists to treat and conquer the very diseases covered in the Brain Bees. Local and National Brain Bee coordinators gain publicity for their companies, programs and institutions when students, their friends and families and even the press come to see the competition. These local and national coordinators as well as our many sponsors can take pride in knowing that they have helped inspire students to become future researchers and physicians.
Formats vary within and among local and national Bees. Most commonly, individuals give short answers orally on stage to questions about the brain. Some Bees ask the entire group the same questions, one at a time, and they write their answwers on a pad of paper. Depending on local resources, some competitions may also include neuroanatomy laboratory components, patient diagnosis components, group components, or other forms of testing. Depending on the number of competitors, some competitions may have preliminaries in written form or on the Internet.
Questions in Local brain bees are created from material in one of two books. Most English-speaking countries use Brain Facts which is freely downloadable from www.sfn.org. Most Non-English speaking countries use Neuroscience: The Science of the Brain which is freely downloadable from www.bna.org.uk/ publications. Most National Championships use Neuroscience: The Science of the Brain. If a neuroanatomy laboratory component is included, students should also be prepared to know the name and function of the surface parts of whole and half brains by reading a basic neuroanatomy textbook. If patient diagnosis is included, students should also know the signs, symptoms and diagnostic criteria of common neurological and psychiatry disorders. A concise place to fine this is in the Medical Encyclopedia of Medline Plus which can be found at the National Library of Medicine website: www.nlm.nih.gov. The International Championship will use different source material. Please see the "Study Materials" page under "Student" in this website.
Copies can be freely downloaded from the web site of the International Brain Research Organization. Go to www.ibro.org and click on Brain Campaign. Students or bee coordinators interested in requesting a hardcopy of the publication should also visit that site for more information.
Because it is difficult to create questions that will thoroughly challenge our competitors, only a few sample questions have been released. These questions can be found near the bottom of our For High School Student Competitors page.
If there are no local bees in your area, we welcome you to participate in any bee that is convenient to you. Please review our list of current local brain bees to see if any of our current competitions might work for you.
If there are no local brain bees in your area, we would love to start one! Starting a local brain bee is a fun and easy way to enhance neuroscience awareness and to expose high school students to local colleges and universities. If you are a high school student interested in starting a brain bee in your area, please have one of your science teachers or school administrators contact founder Dr. Norbert Myslinski directly. Neuroscientists and college professors are also encouraged to contact Norbert Myslinski, or to visit our page How to Start a Local Brain Bee.
We love opening new chapters of the local brain bee! If you would like more information on how to bring the competition to your area, please visit How to Start a Local Brain Bee.
The International Brain Bee was started by Dr. Norbert Myslinski of the Department of Biomedical Sciences at University of Maryland School of Dentistry in Baltimore. The first Brain Bee was held in Maryland in 1998. The following year, 1999, fifteen cities in the USA and Canada conducted Brain Bees. Twelve of them sent their winners to Baltimore for the first International Championship. Today there are Brain Bee Coordinators in 150 cities in 30 countries and 6 continents. Dr. Myslinski still directs all the coordinators, as well as the International Championship, the USA National Championship. The organization is not for profit and is funded by the donations of individuals and organizations who believe in the cause. The new home for the IBB is the new foundation called Mankind for International Neuroscience Development, Inc (MIND, Inc).
Not only do our students gain invaluable knowledge about human anatomy and physiology for their personal enrichment, they have the potential to serve others through continued research in this field. Neuroscientists are currently on the verge of discovering treatments for many devastating diseases like autism, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's, and we hope that some of our student competitors will eventually go on to serve the world community in similar ways.