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UCLA Magazine Summer 2004
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Summer 2004 Bruin Walk


Smarty Pants

Photograph Courtesy of Charles Meigs

Smart Kids: Charles Meigs, Matthew Sherman and Dwight Wynne
Bruin brainiacs (from left): Charles Meigs,
Matthew Sherman and Dwight Wynne

Some kids are just different. Take freshman Dwight Wynne, who was reading at age 2, or sophomore Charles Meigs, who knew all the world capitals when he was still in training pants, or junior Matthew Sherman, whose photographic memory earned him $32,000 on TV's Who Wants to Be a Millionaire before he was even out of high school.

In April, the trio put their mental muscle to the test at the National Academic Quiz Tournaments intercollegiate championship in St. Louis, Mo., and took home the winner's trophy in the undergraduate division. Meigs was the top scorer in the nation with more than 70 points per game.

The battle of the brains tests knowledge in academic subject areas as well as sports, current events and pop culture. In the St. Louis finals, the Bruin trio's familiarity with Madame Bovary helped them send the University of Illinois packing, 385-200.

Meigs, Sherman and Wynne (pictured from left) have such vast knowledge at their command that even their folks are baffled at how they acquired it all. "My husband and I just look at each other," says Wynne's mom, Rita '77.

The Bruin brainiacs met on the high school quiz-bowl circuit — Wynne and Sherman competed for Capistrano Valley High in Mission Viejo and Meigs for Los Alamitos High in Los Alamitos. Each was drawn to UCLA in part because of the university's highly regarded College Bowl Club. Members get together twice a week to challenge each other with fun factoids, like how many triangular sides in an icosahedron* or the code names for the five beaches attacked in Operation Overlord on D-Day**.

"We call him a nerd," Nanci Sherman says of son Matthew. "But we say it with love."

*20 **Gold, Juno, Sword, Utah, Omaha



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