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Wednesday, May 23, 2018

The 20th Annual Battle of the Brains | Features - New University

The UCI campus was quiet by 7 p.m. on the night of Monday, May 14, but inside the Student Center, a group of students scurried about, as New University reports. 

Photo: courtesy of Maggie O’Hara

They were handing out raffle tickets, munching on cookies and snacks and practicing for the evening’s event, the 20th Annual Battle of the Brains.

The Battle of the Brains is a faculty and alumni-versus-students trivia competition held each year by the Campuswide Honors Program. Students in the program tested their knowledge against faculty from different departments, as well as alumni from several graduating classes. This year, professors Kieron Burke of the chemistry department; Nicola Ulibarri from urban planning and public policy; and Kyle Stanford, Jeff Barrett, JB Manchak, Cailin O’Connor and Jim Weatherall from logic and philosophy of science participated in the competition.

Student volunteers adorned the walls of Crystal Cove Auditorium with carefully painted images suited to the theme of the evening: fairytales. One banner showed Little Red Riding Hood skipping down a stone path. Another depicted  Goldilocks with three bowls of porridge. A third portrayed the giant’s famous “Fe Fi Fo Fum” from “Jack and the Beanstalk” in swirling green script. Meanwhile, the soundtrack to Stephen Sondheim’s “Into the Woods” played in the background. In the audience, a purple rope separated the auditorium into two sections: supporters of the faculty and alumni sat on on the right and students on the left.

The stage was set up with two tables and a podium between them. Each of the tables had a set of colored lights — red for the students and yellow for the staff and alumni — connected to a set of four handheld buzzers for contestants to press when they knew the answer. Behind the contestants, an automated scoreboard and clock, also decorated to fit  the fairytale theme, kept time for each of the three 20-minute rounds.

Source: New University