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Science - For good measure

What it's all about

I manage the global team of Guinness World Record adjudicators, who are based in London (our headquarters), New York, Hamburg, Beijing, Tokyo, Sydney and Mumbai. If a record is being judged by Guinness anywhere in the world, I know about it, says Andrea Banfi.

The most demanding part of my job is keeping abreast of records. We have 40,000 current record categories and new ones are opened all the time. Whether it's the smallest dog or longest fingernails, I need to keep up to date.

The most rewarding part of the job is being involved in life-changing moments. For example, 72-year-old Chandra Dangi was awarded the title of shortest man earlier this year - he's just 54.6cm tall. He had never left his village in the foothills of Kathmandu, but after claiming the record he has fulfilled his dream to travel the world.

The weirdest event I ever covered was a trip to Linyi in China, to verify its claim to have the world's largest dinosaur museum. This was a tiny town in deep rural China, but they had a brand new 28,000m2 museum with more than 1,000 dinosaur specimens. The passion and pride of the people overwhelmed me.

There have been some nerve-racking moments too: I've watched someone climb the outside of a 90m building without any safety ropes and another lift a 12kg weight with his tongue. But the people who attempt and hold our most challenging records are professionals.

An occupational hazard is that I see records in everything. I come back from every holiday armed with photos of potential new records for my teams to investigate.

Guinness World Records 2013 is on sale now.

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