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Group Hug...Another Use for Circles

Some records are meant to be broken. In 1999, the Guinness record for the largest group hug was accomplished by a group of 899 bankers associated with Goldman Sachs, the financial services firm in New York City.

That record has fallen many times:

  • In 2001, more than 1000 high school students in Palo Alto (CA) set a new group hug record.
  • In 2002, Slimming World, a diet program in England, orgaized a group hug that involved more than two thousand people.
  • In April of 2004, the record for the Largest Hug was accomplished in Ontario ( Canada), involving more than 5,117 students, staff and friends of a high school....hugging in a gigantic circle for 10 seconds.
  • In November of 2005, the City of Pigeon Forge (TN) and Boyds Bear Country, the World’s Most Humongous Teddy Bear Store, joined together in an act to recognize the Katrina recovery efforts, but fell just short of the existing world record event.
  • In June of 2005, parade participants in Hamburg (Germany) defied the rain and cold to establish the current record for 16,000 people embracing in a group hug for 10 seconds.
Some Questions to pursue:
  • For the Hamburg group, assuming the hug formed a perfect circle, what would you estimate to be its radius? Explain your reasoning.
  • If the entire population of the United States gathered in a circular group hug, what would be its radius? This circle would fit totally inside how many of the fifty states? Justify.
Note: The Patent Pending Blog suggests that all of these record attempts are in error, as the largest group hug was accomplished by the large army of the Persian king Xerxes, on the way to invade Greece. Though it predates the Guinness group's quest to collect data records, the hug supposedly involved 1,700,000 soldiers! Also, all math teachers should read this article as it is a good example of working in base 10000.