The definition of Intelligence is debatable, or we can say that there is no exact words defining the term ‘Intelligence’. Over the years, it has been defined in many different ways, including one’s capacity for logic, understanding, self-awareness, creativity and problem solving. Intelligence quotient (IQ), on the other hand, is just the outcome or score obtained from one of the many standardized tests to measure human intelligence. Our interest in human intelligence dates back thousand of years, but it was not until the 20th century that the first IQ test was ever devised by Alfred Binet.
Since an individual’s intelligence is measured by a set of tests, the method has been condemned by many. In his book, ‘The Mismeasure of Man’, paleontologist Stephan Jay Gould criticized IQ test on general bases and said they are used for scientific racism. He argued that the abstraction of intelligence as a single entity, its location within the brain, its quantification as one number for each individual, and the use of these numbers to rank people in a single series of worthiness, invariably to find that oppressed and disadvantaged groups—races, classes, or sexes—are innately inferior and deserve their status.
So we can say that IQ is just a parameter to nearly measure human intelligence which can be useful sometimes and sometimes it is not. In this list we have gathered the brightest and smartest people who ever put foot on the earth based on their IQ score.
13. Sharon Stone
IQ score: 145
She first came into the limelight for her role as Catherine Tramell in an erotic thriller Basic Instinct in 1992. The American born actress having already won Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Motion Picture Drama and nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress leaves no question about her acting talent. But that’s not it, the former Emmy award winner Sharon Stone is also alleged to have an IQ of 154.
She was always an academically bright student. After graduating from Saegertown High School in Saegertown, she attended Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. While at the university, she won the title of Miss Crawford County, Pennsylvania and was also a candidate for Miss Pennsylvania. For many years, Stone maintained that she was a member of Mensa, but in April 2002, she admitted she had never been an actual member of the International Society.
12. Paul Allen
Image credit: CNN
IQ score: 160
Paul Allen is the man behind the success of Microsoft alongside Bill Gates, who is unsurprisingly alleged of having an above average IQ of 160. Allen was born on January 21, 1953 in Seattle, Washington. In 1975, he along-with his best friend Bill Gates moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico to materialize their dream of owning a company someday. It was Paul Allan, who first came up with the name “Micro-soft” for their software company. He was awarded with numerous Honorary degrees from around the world.
11. Stephen Hawking
IQ score: 160
Estimating the exact IQ of one of the greatest scientific minds of the 21st century is indeed a serious affair, as Hawking never took one. Among his many scientific achievements, he is also known for his book A Brief History of Time, published in 1988, which portrayed his brainstorming discoveries in the field of theoretical physics. Hawking’s contributions in the ancient field of theoretical physics have not only revolutionized the field, but also fairly contributed towards the advancement of the sum of human knowledge substantially.
10. Albert Einstein
IQ score: 160-190
Experts and neuroscientists have estimated Einstein’s total IQ somewhere between the range of 160-190. Again, these numbers are nothing more than an estimation. Albert Einstein was born in 1879, Germany. In 1905, he changed the common perception of the scientific community through special and general theories of relativity. It revolutionized scientific understanding of almost everything from space and time to gravity and energy. He also indirectly or subconsciously participated in developing nuclear fission, an endeavor which he later regretted when it was weaponized in the form of an atomic bomb. He died in 1955 from an abdominal aortic aneurysm.
Recommended: 12 Unknown Facts About Albert Einstein
9. Judit Polgar
IQ score: 170
Chess is one of the oldest game on the earth, which has been long associated with intellectual prowess and rightfully so. Generally, top chess players often measure there intelligent quotient, so ranking them won’t be difficult. Many of our readers may already heard about Judit Polgar who has been described as the greatest female chess player of all time. She became a Grandmaster at just the age of 15 years and 4 months, the youngest player to do so at the time. Polgar is a pioneer for women in chess, inspiring other women in the game worldwide. She was also the first female to defeat the ex-world no.1 Gary Kasparov in competitive play.
8. Garry Kasparov
Image credit: Daily Stormer
IQ Score: 190
Garry Kimovich Kasparov or Garik Kimovich Weinstein (birth name) was born on 13 April 1963 in Baku, Azerbaijan SSR. The Russian chess Grandmaster is a former World Chess Champion, writer, and a political activist, whom many consider to be the greatest chess player of all time. From 1986 until his retirement in 2005, Kasparov was ranked world No. 1 for most of his career (225 out of 228 months). In 1997, he became the first ever world champion to lose a match against a computer (IBM Deep Blue) in a highly promoted match under standard time controls. He currently serves on the board of the Human Rights Foundation.
7. Philip Emeagwali
IQ Score: 190
Philip Emeagwali is a Nigerian born computer scientist who won Gordon Bell Prize in 1989 for his price-efficient, high performance computing application used in an oil reservoir modelling calculation. He was forced to leave the school at the age of 13 due to the ongoing Nigerian civil war between Nigeria and Biafran, but that did not deter him from completing high school equivalence through self studies.
Following completion of a correspondence course at the University of London, he immigrated to the United States where he received a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Oregon State University in 1977. He earned at least two Master’s degree in Mathematics and Environmental and Marine Engineering from various universities. In a speech, the former president of the United States Bill Clinton addressed Emeagwali’s achievements as an example of what Nigerians could achieve when given the opportunity.
6. Christopher Michael Langan
IQ Score: 190
He is described by many as the “smartest man in America” and even the “smartest man in the world” by some journalist. Christopher Langan didn’t have the childhood of an average human. Born in San Francisco, he began speaking when he was just six months old and acquired reading ability at the age of 4. Langan said that he spent the last years of high school doing independent studies, teaching himself “advanced maths, physics, philosophy, Latin and Greek”. During his time in the Montana University, he believed that he could teach his professors more than they could teach him, resulting in his drop out from the collage. Recently he has developed a theory of the relationship between mind and reality which he termed as “cognitive-Theoretic model of the universe”.
5. Marilyn vos Savant
IQ Score: 190
Marilyn vos Savant is an American born author and columnist who is well known for having the highest recorded IQ according to the Guinness Book of Records. Following her listing in the 1986 Guinness Book of World Records, Parade magazine ran a profile of her along with questions from readers and her answers. The Parade continued to get questions, so “Ask Marilyn” was born. Ask Marilyn is mainly centered to answer questions on academic subjects, i.e. solve logical, mathematical or vocabulary puzzles posed by readers. Savant cited her performance on two intelligence tests, the Stanford-Binet and the Mega Test.
4. Kim Ung-Yong
IQ Score: 210
Born in South Korea in 1963, Kin Ung-Yong was an acclaimed child prodigy, who started speaking at age of 6 months and was able to read several languages like English, German, Korean and Japanese by his 3rd birthday. Soon at a young age he went to the United States to study at the Colorado State University and later ended up working for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration for the better part of a decade. But in 1978, he returned to Korea to work on the field of civil engineering. As of 2007, he serves as adjunct faculty at Chungbuk National University.
3. Christopher Hirata
Image credit: Flickr
IQ Score: 225
Christopher Hirata is a child prodigy who made waves when he became the youngest American to win a gold medal at the International Physics Olympiad in 1996 at the age of 13. He enrolled at the California Institute of Technology in 14, and successfully obtained his PhD from Princeton at the age of 22. During this time he also worked with NASA on a project exploring the possibilities of colonizing the Mars. Nowadays, he teaches astrophysics at the California Institute of Technology.
2. Terence Tao
IQ Score: 225-230
Terence “Terry” Chi-Shen Tao was born in Australia, Adelaide. Before the age of 9, his family moved to the US. Tao has exhibited remarkable mathematical abilities from an early age, attending university level mathematics just at the age of 9. There are only two people in the history of the Johns Hopkins’ Study of Exceptional Talent program who have achieved a score of 700 or greater on the SAT math, at the age of nine. Tao score was 760. More recently, in 2006, he received the prestigious Fields Medal and in 2014 he was awarded the Breakthrough Prize in Mathematics. As of now, he teaches at the University of California in Los Angeles.
1. William James Sidis
IQ Score: 250-300
William James Sidis is a perfect example of child prodigies with exceptional mathematical abilities and a master of many languages. At the early stages of his career (when he was 11), he entered Harvard to study mathematics, and became the youngest person to achieve so. The rest of his life was marred by legal troubles due to his socialist ideology, and was arrested for participating in an anti government parade. Upon his release in 1921, the troubled genius stepped away from mathematics and academics entirely, and lived a relatively normal life. He died at the age of 46 from a cerebral hemorrhage. It is claimed that Sidis had the highest IQ that can ever be achieved, but any records does not exist which proves the claim.