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High Schooler Becomes Educator: Young Fencer’s Neuro-Revolution Goes International

High schooler brings neuroscience to a fencing tournament in Paris.
Neurofencing in Paris. (All photos Supriya Nair)

[Updated February 2024]

There’s one thing that beats inspiring kids to take up neuroscience: Watching them not only catch the spark but pass it along! High schooler Supriya Nair is our case in point. Through scientific outreach using our SpikerBox, she has already ignited the interest of hundreds of her peers who got to see and feel the power of action potentials for the first time.

Her latest outreach triumph happened just this month at the 2024 Marathon Foils Tournament in Paris! There, she sparked the NeuroRevolution in dozens of young fencers from France, Italy, Germany, UK and other parts of the globe.

The reception in Paris was warm, and there was quite a lot to be learned too. “Most of my fellow fencers at the event were impressed with the data behind the adage that warming up is good,” Supriya tells us. “When we discussed a reduction of over 50 milliseconds in a 6ft lunge, there was a lot of excitement and cheering. I was humbled and really appreciated their time, everyone of the fencers from these countries were friendly, receptive and welcoming.”

Neuroscience workshop on a fencing tournament in Paris

The young neurofencer thus kick-started a string of international appearances where she is to empower fellow athletes to take up science and use it to level up their performance on the piste. And it’s not just fencers who may get interested in neuroscience. It’s also the other way round, as she’s about to prove in her next workshop in July, on the sidelines of Japan’s biggest annual neuroscience conference Neuro2024!

She has conquered much of America too, conducting upwards of 15 neurofencing workshops in California, Oregon, Arizona, Minnesota and at the SfN 2023 in Washington, D.C., where we met her in person.

Neurofencing at SfN 2023: High Schooler Becomes Educator
Supriya Nair with BYB co-founders Tim Marzullo and Greg Gage at SfN 2023

Quite a meeting it was, and not just because we love cake! It was the annual Society for Neuroscience conference with over 25,000 attendees where she got to present her neurofencing poster in front of PhDs and postdocs.

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Our New Book “How Your Brain Works” Launched at SfN 2022!

We almost ran out of pens at the world’s biggest neuroscience conference! This year’s Society for Neuroscience (SfN) was the first in-person meeting since 2019. And we’re really happy that it happened. Firstly, we’ve so missed the nerdy vibes of sci-comm bustle. Secondly, taking a stroll under palms in sunny San Diego feels really nice in November! Last but not least, it would have been downright impossible to sign copies of our new book online.

Because that’s right, our new book, “How Your Brain Works: Neuroscience Experiments for Everyone” written by our co-founders, Drs. Greg Gage and Tim Marzullo, has just been released by MIT Press! It’s a lengthy volume yet easy to digest, and even easier to keep open as you fiddle with electrodes, insects or your own nervous system in your classroom or home lab.

The book contains over 50 experiments you can do anywhere you want if you have one of our SpikerBoxes. But even if you don’t, you can always flex your engineering abilities and DIY one using our open-source schematics!

The classroom-ready, open-ended experiments include:

  • What does our brain do when we exercise or hold our breath?
  • How do our brains tell our bodies to jump, dance, or sing?
  • How fast do signals travel down a neuron?
  • Can we really enhance our memories during sleep?
  • How does the brain get your attention?
  • How do brain stimulators (used in treating Parkinson’s disease) really work?
  • How long does it take the brain to decide?
  • And many more!
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It’s The Backyard Brains 10-Year Anniversary!

In March 2019, Backyard Brains turned 10 years old! We’re officially double-digits! We have grown so much since our inception as a grad school side project, and we’d like to take some time to look back on the years that got us here. Thank you to our customers and our supporters for 10 great years. Here’s to 10 more!

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