Largest Einstein Gathering Breaks Guinness World Record

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The Grapevine Header - Kids don wigs and mustaches in epic flash mob at opening of Next Einstein competition

Can you guess which scientist is these kids' favourite?

From the world's largest owl collection to the world's largest tomato salad, people are vying to break records left and right. Indeed, there are plenty of other new world records you can set your sights on surpassing.

One record you can cross off your list? The world's largest gathering of people dressed up like Albert Einstein. Not to be confused with a recent Einstein lookalike contest in Princeton, the event held Tuesday morning in Toronto broke a Guinness World Record. Members of the public joined local students from TDSB Forest Hill Junior and Senior Public School in the attempt. So how many wigged and mustachioed attendees did it take to receive the honor? More than 400. The previous record was 304, set in 2015 by an elementary school in California.

You can watch a video of today's event below:

The record-breaking event served as the kickoff for the annual Next Einstein competition, which invites individuals to submit their big idea on how to make the world a better place. The contest, now in its fourth year, is sponsored by the Canadian Friends of Hebrew University (CFHU), the Jerusalem institution that houses Einstein's archives.

A panel of judges spanning the spectrum from a Nobel Laureate to a food blogger will cull through the thousands of submissions. The winner will receive a $10,000 cash prize plus a $5,000 scholarship to Hebrew University for a summer course or toward a semester-long stay. Last year's winner helped bring water to remote African villages.

The event was held at the MaRS Discovery District, a global innovation hub in Toronto.

"We wanted to create something that's within the spirit of Einstein," Rami Kleinmann, the president of CFHU, told From The Grapevine. "His main ideas that revolutionized the world didn't necessarily come from within academic or scientific environments. They came from free thinking and allowing the brain to explore. We wanted to identify talent and reward creative thinking."

Kleinmann is hoping for lots of submissions this year. "So many times people have great ideas and they say, 'Ah, I'm sure somebody already thought about that.' This is wrong," he pointed out. "If it's in your head, it's in your mind, it's in your spirit. Don't be shy. Believe in yourself. Allow yourself to think. Submit it and you never know what's going to happen. You may be the next Einstein."

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