As far as coaches go, WA State finalists in the annual Brain Bee competition - to be held at The University of Western Australia on Tuesday 26 June - couldn't have scored a better one.
The 101 Year 10 contenders in the neuroscience knowledge contest are being prepared by someone who knows more about this subject than almost anyone on the planet.
Professor Charles Watson is co-author of a book that is ranked among the 50 most cited items in the history of science. He also set up the Quit campaign, established breast cancer screening in WA and was made a member of the Order of Australia in 2004 for his work in brain research and public health.
His landmark publication, The Rat Brain in Stereotaxic Coordinates, which he wrote 25 years ago with Professor George Paxinos, is in its sixth edition and boasts 30,000 citations.
Professor Watson, an examiner in last year's final, is a research fellow at both Curtin University and Sydney-based Neuroscience Research Australia.
"I was amazed at the level of neuroscience knowledge shown by last year's State finalists," Professor Watson said. "I look forward to my coaching sessions with this year's State finalists over the next six months."
Brain Bee State coordinator UWA Associate Professor Jennifer Rodger said the Brain Bee gave students a great introduction to the fascinating field of neuroscience.
"It also encourages them to explore science in general," she said. "We hope to motivate young people to learn about the brain, maybe capture their imagination and inspire them to pursue careers in biomedical research."
The finalists will be in the running to win a Zeiss microscope and individual prizes for their schools. Students will take part in a tour of UWA's neuroscience labs and meet researchers and undergraduates.
Coordinated by the Queensland Brain Institute at the University of Queensland, the preliminary round attracted more than 10,000 of Australia's and New Zealand's cleverest high school students. Those who make it through the WA final will take part in national finals in Melbourne in January 2013, and the national winner will travel to an International Neuroscience conference to compete at international level later next year.
The 2012 WA finalists come from the following schools:
Australind Senior High School
Belridge Senior High School
Bunbury Catholic College
Emmanuel Catholic College
Georgiana Molloy Anglican School
International School of Western Australia
John Calvin School
Methodist Ladies' College
Mount Lawley Senior High School
Newton Moore Senior High School
Perth Modern School
Santa Maria College
Somerville Baptist College
St Hilda's Anglican School for Girls (Inc)
St Mark's Anglican Community School
St Mary's College
St Mary's Anglican Girls' School (Inc)
Swan Christian College
Thornlie Senior High School
Willeton Senior High School
The Brain Bee State final at UWA will be held from 9am-3pm (prizes awarded at 2.45pm) on Tuesday 26 June in the Social Sciences Lecture Theatre.
Media are welcome to attend any part of the finals but should first contact Associate Professor Rodger.
CRICOS Code: 00126G