Photo: Akshay Rajagopal accepting his prize for the 2008 National Geographic Bee
Akshay Rajagopal from Lincoln, Nebraska, won the 2008 National Geographic Bee.

Photograph by Rebecca Hale

Akshay Rajagopal, an eleven-year-old sixth-grader from Lincoln, Nebraska, won the 2008 National Geographic Bee held today at the National Geographic Society's Grosvenor Auditorium. He did not miss a single question in yesterday's preliminary rounds or today's final and championship rounds. He is taking home a $25,000 college scholarship and lifetime membership in the National Geographic Society.

The winning question was: "The urban area of Cochabamba has been in the news in recent years due to protests over the privatization of the municipal water supply and regional autonomy issues. Cochabamba is the third largest conurbation in what country?" Do you know the answer? It's Bolivia. The dictionary definition of a conurbation is "a continuous network of urban communities."

The second-place winner and recipient of a $15,000 college scholarship is Alabama's Hunter Bledsoe, 13, an eighth-grader. Third place and a $10,000 college scholarship went to William Lee of Massachusetts. He is a 13-year-old eighth-grader.

The seven other finalists were Nikhil Desai of California; Benjamin Geyer of Washington, D.C.; Erik Troske of Indiana; Isaac Pasley of Missouri; Joseph Perea of Montana; Milan Sandhu of New Hampshire; and Taylor Morris of North Carolina.

Nearly five million students take part in the National Geographic Bee each year. Fifty-five state and territory winners took part in the preliminary rounds of the 2008 National Geographic Bee on Tuesday, May 20. The top 10 contestants met in today's final round, which was moderated for the 20th year by "Jeopardy!" host Alex Trebek.