Harman gets head start

Knowing his amygdala from his cerebellum has paid off for Broome student Harman Sharma, who topped the State final of the Australian Brain Bee challenge.

His school, St Mary's College, also placed second in the team section of the neuroscience quiz held at the University of WA yesterday.

After proving themselves smarter than 500 students around the State, about 80 short-listed Year 10s tested their knowledge of how the brain works, covering topics such as memory, emotions, sleep, Alzheimer's disease and strokes.

Harman, 14, said the knowledge he gathered while studying for the competition would help him later if he fulfilled his ambition to study medicine.

St Mary's head of science Diane Latchman said the country school had also produced the State champion two years ago.

"I think we are picking the kids who are motivated and driven and who have this love of science," she said. "And they're not afraid to put the time, energy and effort into it."

Challenge co-ordinator Jennifer Rodger said she was amazed at the students' level of understanding.

"These Year 10 students have a depth of knowledge expected of university graduates in the UWA neuroscience major," she said.

The West Australian

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