Tag Archives: Records

Which is the biggest school in the world?

The biggest school in the world is located in India in the city of Lucknow, Utter Pradesh. The name of this school is City Montessori School. This school was founded in 1959 by Dr. Jagdish Gandhi and his wife (with monetary loan of Rs. 300 at the time).
City Montessori School, Lucknow
The City Montessori School started with only 5 pupils. Today the number of pupils in the school is around 59000. It has 1050 classrooms, about 4000 computers, and the staff – including teachers, peons, cleaners, electricians, gardeners, auto-drivers – of 3800.
The school was declared as the world’s largest school by Guinness Book in 2013. The record is unbroken till day.

Who is the world’s oldest woman to give birth? At what age?

Having pregnancy when you are above fifty years of age is always risky. Too many complications can arise when you conceive when you are stepping in to the old age and find your body starts to disobey yourself. But there are some women who have showed incredible, which some may call stupid, courage to defy the challenges of their age and given birth to offspring. These women had their detractors and supporters, and many health problems, but they achieved what they had been hoping for, a child; in fact more than one.
As of latest information, the oldest woman in the world to become a mother is Omkari Singh Panwar from India. Panwar, hailing from a remote village in the state of Uttar Pradesh, undertook such a risk to have a son, thereby to provide her husband an heir as well. She became the oldest mother in the world when she gave birth to twins in 2008. She was 70 years old then. The historical birth took place in the hospital of Muzaffarnagar, 7 hours-drive away from New Delhi. Panwar gave birth to premature twins, a boy and a girl, both weighing around two pounds. Omkari and her husband Charan Singh, aged 77 at the time, were already parents of two daughters who themselves had five children among them. But the couple wanted a son to continue their legacy in the highly patriarchal Indian social system.
Panwar gave birth following the controversial IVF (In Vitro Fertilization) treatment which cost around 3, 50,000 INR, despite the opposition from her local community and many medical experts. To pay for the treatment, they sold the family’s holdings, their buffalos, mortgaged their land, spent their life savings and even took out a credit card loan. The children were delivered by Gynecologist Nisha Malik. The son was named Akashvani and the daughter Barsaat. Unfortunately, Barsaat didn’t survive too many years.
Omkari has, however, no birth certificate to prove that she is the oldest mother in the world, which, in fact, matters little to her. She calculates her age in relation with the independence of India in 1947, when she was 9 years old.
The person previously regarded as the oldest mother had been an Indian as well; Rajo Devi Lohan, from the village of Hissar was 69 when she gave birth to a daughter. However, the oldest verified mother is Maria del Carmen Bousada de Lara from Spain. She was 66 when she gave birth to twins following IVF treatment. The record for the oldest woman to conceive naturally is held by Dawn Brooke, who was 59, from Britain.

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How long can a person go without sleep?

Sleep deprivation is more fatal than deprivation of food. It means that sleep is not only necessary but essential for life. In experiments done on rats in Chicago University in the US when the rats were deprived of sleep most of them gave way after 21 days. Even if the daily quota of sleep is cut down gradually it would prove harmful over a period of a few days. It would increase the chances of heart disease, diabetes, stroke attack, and as recent research shows, also cancer.

Let aside for days, if one is deprived of sleep even for 17 hours then one’s concentration, muscle energy, judgement, cognitive ability etc would reduce to a level that of a person under influence of alcohol. This condition is very common in present times, for which we should “blame” the inventor of light bulb, Thomas Edison. Before the invention of light bulb average person slept for 9 hours, whereas today owing to numerous factors like television, internet, 24×7 work culture etc, average person sleeps for about 7.5 hours.

Below are couple of examples of how deprivation of sleep can sometimes lead to grave consequences –

1) In 1986, at Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Russia the experts conducting some important testing post-midnight were not in their best state because of their day-centric biological clock. As a result, due to their negligible inattention the nuclear plant exploded. A perfectly alert person would not have committed such an error.

2) In 1989, near the coast of Alaska state north of the US a giant oil vessel named Exxon Valdez was sailing. There was only one person operating it from the control room and he was on duty for over eighteen hours straight. Because of long stretch of wakefulness his concentration was wavering. As a result the giant vessel met with an accident and 40 million liters of oil was spilled over the ocean. For environmental harm as well as for negligence the vessel’s owner company had to pay 5.29 billion dollars in penalty.

Looking at the above two examples where hours of sleep deprivation caused gigantic disasters, one would find it hard to believe that the world record of wakefulness is in days. The record is official and unbroken for over fifty years. In the decade of 1960’s a 17-year-old youngster named Randy Gardner spent 11 days staying awake. He started the marathon by waking up at 6 AM on December 28, 1963 and went back to sleep not before January 8, 1964, going without sleep for 264 hours.

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Which is the most valuable object relative to its weight and size?

Treskilling Yellow
How about a postage stamp? In terms of size and weight, no other natural or man-made object is more valuable than the rarest of the rare stamps.
The world’s most expansive stamp was printed in Sweden in 1855 and was the result of a painting error. Instead of printing the Treskilling stamp on green stock, it was printed on yellow / orange stock paper. Only one copy of Treskilling Yellow postage stamp is known to exist. It first achieved a million dollar price tag when it was sold in 1990. Six years later, it was sold for 2.5 million Swiss Francs, around 2.3 million US dollars. In 2010, the stamp made headlines again with a record-breaking sale. While the exact figure is unknown, the auctioneer revealed that it at least maintained the $2.3 million price achieved in 1996.

Additional reading:
Treskilling Yellow (Wikipedia)

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Which has been the longest and heaviest freight train on record?

In 1968, a U.S. railroad’s freight train made up of 500 coal cars traveled from Iaeger, West Virginia to Portsmouth, Ohio. It had six locomotives, three pulling and three pushing. The train was 6.5 kilometers long. This world record stood until 1989, when a South African freight train consisting of 660 wagons (each loaded to some 106 tons) was moved by nine electric and seven diesel-electric locomotives. This train was 7.3 kilometers long and weighed 70,500 tons excluding locomotives which were distributed along the train. It traveled a distance of 861 kilometers in 22 hours and 40 minutes!

Additional reading:
Longest trains (Wikipedia)

Which has been the longest manned spaceflight so far? How long can astronauts stay in weightlessness?

Valeri Polyakov
The record belongs to Russian doctor Valeri Polyakov (photo, left) who was launched to join the Mir Space Station on January 8, 1994 and returned to Earth on March 22, 1995. He spent 437 days, 17 hours, 58 minutes and 16 seconds in space.

There have been many long duration Russian expeditions, mainly for studying effects of prolonged weightlessness on the human body. Weightlessness is the major problem with living in space. The space station crews have adjusted to living a weightless life without too much difficulty, but their bodies haven’t. Since the human body has evolved on Earth, it is made to work in conditions where gravity pulls on it. This is especially true in case of bones which need gravitational stress to retain their density replenishing lost minerals. During extended spaceflights, all astronauts’ bones have lost calcium and become brittle.

In the early days of manned spaceflight some American experts believed that men can not stay in weightless condition for more than nine months before their bones become so brittle that returning to Earth would be hazardous. This is because their weakened bones would not be able to support their body weight under normal gravity. The experts’ apprehension was unfounded – at least to some extent. Some Russian cosmonauts have remained in space for more than a year. They have stayed healthy on a diet of 3,000 calories a day and plenty of exercise on a cycle unit and treadmill. After coming back to Earth, however, they could not manage to walk properly for some days.

Additional reading:
Human spaceflight (Wikipedia)
Valeri Polyakov (Wikipedia)
Weightlessness (Wikipedia)

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Which is the most expensive coffee in the world? (Kopi Luwak)

Among all varieties of coffee, Kopi Luwak is considered to be the most delicious. It also holds the record of being the most expensive coffee in the world. Since its supply is limited, a very few coffee lovers would get an opportunity to taste it. Even at an exorbitant rate of 1000 dollars per kilogram, Kopi Luwak is not easily available.

An opportunity to experience the taste and aroma of Kopi Luwak may certainly not be easily availed as its production throughout the world is hardly 230 kilograms. Moreover the cost mentioned earlier is 1000 US dollars per kilogram out of which 125 cups of coffee can be prepared. However, a single cup of Kopi Luwak is available for 50 Australian dollars (33 American dollars) in Australia and for 50 pounds (99 American dollars) at a coffee parlor in Peter Jones Departmental store in Britain. (As of year 2010)

More reading:
Kopi Luwak (Wikipedia)

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Which is the world’s largest construction in terms of ground area?

While 828 meters high Burj Khalifa (known as Burj Dubai prior to its inauguration) is the tallest building in the world today (as of February 2011), the world record holder of a construction covering the largest ground area since last fifteen years is Japan.

The construction is Osaka’s Kansai International Airport (photo, above). Japan constructed the airport within a period of five years and opened it for civil aviation in 1994. The runway, terminals and parking area as well as the approach road to Kansai airport have been constructed above the Osaka Bay on thousands of steel piles and more than 1 million concrete columns driven in the sea bed. This mega-project was taken up in order to restrict the traveling time between Osaka city and the airport to less than 30 minutes and only seaward direction was available for it. The meticulousness of planning is revealed by the fact that although there is only one runway the provision has been made for parking 41 airplanes.

Although the height of this construction is negligible, its length is 4.27 kilometers and width is 1.25 kilometers making its overall area 5.33 square kilometers. It was the most ambitious project since the construction of the pyramids besides being the most expansive – costing 15 billion dollars. In order to ensure flawless construction of the project technologically advanced Japanese did not hesitate to engage the services of the Italian architect named Renzo Piano and the British engineer Peter Rice.

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Which is the world’s fastest railway train?

Railway trains have come a long way since the historic day of September 7, 1825 when George Stephenson’s steam locomotive, aptly named as ‘locomotion’, pulled the passenger train for the first time at the speed of 25 kilometers per hour. During 185 years long history of trains the speed has increased twenty-threefold. For a long period – almost a century – during which steam engines held sway, the maximum speed of trains remained restricted to 80-100 kilometers per hour. No significant milestones in the matter of speed were set up during these years. Real spurt in speed came after the introduction of electric train and magnetic train.

The era of high-speed trains was ushered in by electric-powered locomotives. It became possible to nearly double the speed of trains with these locomotives. Among such trains Japanese train named Shinkansen achieved legendary fame and became famous all over the world as Bullet train on account of both its shape as well as speed. When this train started playing on 500 kilometers Tokyo-Osaka route from October 1, 1964 many newspapers of the world reported the event on the front page as a revolutionary development. 208 kilometers per hour cruising speed of Bullet train was unmatched in the world and the technology that made it possible was unrivaled.

Current world record (as of January 2011) of the fastest railway train, however, belongs to state-of-the-art Japanese MAGLEV train (photo, above). MAGLEV is a short form of magnetic levitation. The speed record set up by this train is whopping 581 kilometers per hour!

More reading:
JR–Maglev (Wikipedia)
High-speed rail (Wikipedia)

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Which is the longest lasting light bulb?

You can see on the left the picture of an electric light bulb which is unique and appears in almost every edition of “Guinness Book of World Records”. The bulb was not made by a machine but by an expert glass-blower whose job is to give shape to melted glass by blowing air in it through a tube. The bulb is only of 4 watts. This record holder light bulb is in use at Livermore fire brigade station of California.

Generally the life of a tungsten filament bulb is about 1,000 hour whereas this record-breaking bulb lighting up the parking area of Livermore fire brigade station still gives light (as of Jan, 2011) since it was put in the bulb holder in 1901! This bulb is kept on 24×7 and has been continuously spreading light for more than a century except for a brief interruption when it was removed and hung from another place.

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