2017 Atlanta Regional Brain Bee
On February 4, 2017, 27 students from Georgia and surrounding states competed in the Atlanta Regional Brain Bee. In this elimination-style competition, students answered questions about the functioning of the brain and nervous system one by one until a single winner remained.
First Place: Anish Bikmal, South Forsyth High School, Cumming, GA
Second Place: Jung Yun Oh, Lakeside High School, Evans, GA
Third Place: Aayush Setty, North Gwinnett High School, Suwanee, GA
Our first place winner, Anish Bikmal, went on to represent our region in the National Brain Bee March 17-19, 2017, in Baltimore, MD. Congratulations to Anish for making the Top 20 in the National Brain Bee.
More about our 2017 First Place Winner
Anish Bikmal is sophomore at South Forsyth High School, in Cumming, GA, who enjoys math, chemistry, and biology. He loves to spend his free time playing tennis, ping pong, and basketball. Passionate about giving back to his society, Anish started a non-profit organization called Motivate and Inspire Inc. just a few years ago with his brother through which he has raised about $23,000 to date. The completely student run organization's mission statement is "To motivate and inspire students by giving quality academic help while raising funds to serve those in need."
Interview with Anish Bikmal with our 2017 Atlanta Regional Brain Bee Coordinator, Desirée De Léon, prior to traveling to Baltimore
ATL Brain Bee: How did you prepare for the Atlanta Regional Brain Bee and how are you preparing now for the national competition? What are you most looking forward to? What are you most nervous for?
Anish: I studied for the Atlanta Regional Brain Bee solely by reading the Brain Facts Book. Something I found particularly helpful while studying was making a Quizlet to help me remember terms. I am preparing for the National Brain Bee in a similar way on a wider scale since there are now many more parts and a wider variety of material to study from. I am really looking forward to the neuroanatomy and MRI imaging parts of the competition, but I am nervous for the neurohistology portion of the contest because I have heard that it has been difficult in the past.
ATL Brain Bee: Who has been the most interesting scientist to learn about?
Anish: I found it very interesting to learn about Dr. David Hubel and Dr. Torsten Weisel because I found their work in the area of visual processing really cool. Their work revealed some amazing properties including orientation selectivity and the surprisingly high plasticity of neurons in the visual cortex.
ATL Brain Bee: If you could any neuroscience experiment what would you do?
Anish: If I could do any neuroscience experiment, I would go into the field of artificial intelligence/machine learning/computational neuroscience and experiment on different things using the Bayesian theorem. The Bayesian theorem is a theorem of conditional probability in mathematics and using it allows a human to use neural networks to program a computer to "learn to learn." If a model is able to do this effectively, it can open up many new doors in science.
ATL Brain Bee: What is the most intriguing neuroscience fact you’ve learned and why?
Anish: The most intriguing neuroscience fact that I have learned is the extent of plasticity that the brain has. It is amazing that a brain part can "take over" the function of another part if it is not present. I also think it is fascinating that there is a constant change in synapses (the connections between neurons) and that the brain's connections can be strengthened - they are not constant.
ATL Brain Bee: What would you like to be doing in 10 years?
Anish: In 10 years, I would like to be a neuroscience researcher. I would like to specifically research in the field of computational neuroscience.