Science - For good measure

5th October 2012 at 01:00
Andrea Banfitalks about her job adjudicating world records

What does being head of adjudications for Guinness World Records involve?

I manage the global team of Guinness World 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.

What is the most demanding part of your job?

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.

What is the most rewarding part of the job?

Being involved in life-changing moments. For example, 72-year-old Chandra Dangi (pictured) was awarded the shortest man title 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. Another amazing record holder is 29-year-old Sultan Kosen, the world's tallest man (8ft 3in), who only gained access to the life-saving medical treatment that would stop him growing once he had the record.

What is the weirdest event you have covered?

An incredible experience was my trip to Linyi, China, to verify their 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.

What has been your biggest near disaster?

There have been some nerve-racking moments: 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.

How has your job affected your life?

It's an occupational hazard 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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