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50 People with the Highest IQs in the World

Updated: May 14, 2024

Learn about the geniuses with some of the highest IQ scores ever reported

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Who has the highest IQ?

Intelligence is the type of thing that seems like it would be difficult to measure, and the truth is, it is. But that hasn’t stopped us from being fascinated by intelligence tests that attempt to assign a numerical value to how smart we are—and, of course, trying to figure out who has the highest IQ in the world.

While there is no standard intelligence quotient (IQ) test, the scoring tends to be similar across the methods, with 100 being considered an “average” IQ and anything 140 or above considered genius territory. And while numerous IQ tests are available (and many revisions have come and gone over the years), there are only a handful that are most commonly used today. Those include the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale, Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale and Peabody Individual Achievement Test. IQ tests generally measure a person’s intelligence based on their ability to reason using logic. But keep in mind that there are many different types of intelligence, including emotional, musical, visual-spatial, naturalistic and linguistic-verbal.

This is all to say that IQ scores should be taken with a grain (or a pound) of salt. Since their introduction in 1905, modern IQ tests have been controversial for a variety of reasons, from inconsistencies in their application and interpretation to cultural, linguistic and economic biases. Plus, any IQ scores reported for people who lived prior to the 20th century are estimates. All of those caveats aside, here are 50 people with some of the highest tested (and estimated) IQ scores.

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YoungHoon Kim: IQ 276

In April 2024, the Giga Society, a group for people with IQs above 190, claimed that South Korea’s YoungHoon Kim had the highest IQ in the world, with a score of 276. According to the society, of which Kim is a member, he serves as an intelligence specialist advisor at the World Mind Sports Council, World Memory Championships, World Speed-Reading Championship and World Mind Mapping Championship. Kim, who had perfect scores on various experimental high-range intelligence tests, is also the president and executive director at the United Sigma Intelligence Association (USIA).

Old engraved illustration of sheet music and lyrics of “Oft in the Stilly Night” by Thomas Moore - the poem's melancholic tone conveys a sense of nostalgia and longing for a time that is gone forever
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Marnen Laibow-Koser: IQ 268

When musical prodigy Marnen Laibow-Koser was tested as a child, he reportedly earned a projected IQ score of 268. He began studying, playing and composing music around the age of 3 and never looked back. Laibow-Koser studied composition as an undergraduate at the Cleveland Institute of Music and Purchase College before earning a master of music degree in contemporary improvisation at the New England Conservatory in December 2014. Now, he’s a composer, performing musician, web developer, music copyist and engraver, and self-described “post-hippie arts geek” living in Randolph, Massachusetts.


Ainan Cawley: IQ 263

Born to a Singaporean mother and an Irish father, former child prodigy Ainan Celeste Cawley, now 24, grew up in the public eye. In addition to having an IQ score reported to be 263, Cawley is considered an “omnibus” prodigy, which is someone with talents spanning multiple fields. When he was 8 years old, his father described him as “a scientist, mathematician, computer programmer, self-taught pianist and composer, film score composer, film writer, director and editor” in a British television documentary.

Cawley began studying chemistry at Singapore Polytechnic that same year—and he wasn’t even 10 years old. In 2011, the World Intellectual Property Organization awarded a patent to Cawley and his father for a method they created for “enhancing precocity” in children and adults, and creating child prodigies.

William James Sidis, American child prodigy and mathematician
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William Sidis: IQ 250–300

The name William Sidis might not ring a bell, but many have drawn parallels between him and Matt Damon’s character in the movie Good Will Hunting. The real-life Sidis enrolled at Harvard University at the age of 11 and graduated at 16. According to his sister Helena, Sidis took an IQ test administered by a psychologist a few years before his untimely death from a stroke in 1944 at the age of 46. The psychologist had never seen scores that high before, she explained, and said they were between 250 and 300, but that claim has since been disputed.

Terence Tao
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Terence Tao: IQ 225–230

Even as a child, Terence Tao excelled in math. He started learning calculus when he was 7 years old— the same year he started high school. By the age of 20, Tao (also known as the “Mozart of Math”) earned his PhD from Princeton University. That same year (1996), he joined the faculty of the University of California, Los Angeles, and was promoted professor four years later. In 2006, Tao was awarded the Fields Medal, which is considered the Nobel Prize of math. His IQ score reportedly ranges from 225 to 230.

ethan hill
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Marilyn vos Savant: IQ 228

In September 1956, when Marilyn vos Savant was 10 years old, an adult-level Stanford-Binet test revealed she had an IQ of 228 and a corresponding mental age of 22 years and 11 months. Roughly 30 years later, she was listed in the Guinness Book of World Records under “Highest IQ” for both childhood and adult scores for five years. (The company eventually eliminated the category in 1990 because the numbers are considered inexact, though vos Savant was later inducted into the Guinness Hall of Fame).

In 1986, she began answering questions on topics including philosophy, mathematics, health, lifestyle and science for Parade readers in her “Ask Marilyn” column, which ran for more than 35 years. She continues to create logic-based Numbrix math puzzles, which made their debut in the publication in 2008.

2018 Breakthrough Prize - Red Carpet
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Christopher Hirata: IQ 225

By the time Christopher Hirata was in elementary school, he had already mastered calculus and advanced physics. After graduating from high school at the age of 14, he studied physics at the California Institute of Technology. Four years later, Hirata made the cross-country trip to Princeton University, where he completed his PhD in physics in 2005. He has served as a professor in the Ohio State University’s physics and astronomy departments since 2013, where he specializes in dark energy and astrophysics. According to the BBC, Hirata has the “second-highest confirmed IQ”—a score of 225.

Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
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Johann Wolfgang von Goethe: IQ 210–225

When American electrochemical engineer Libb Thims set out to find the person with the highest IQ in history, he did so using a methodology that predicts a person’s score based on how much they accomplished every decade of their life. Perhaps most notably, this also gave him a way to rank people who lived before IQ tests were developed or simply never took a test. Based on his calculations, Thims determined that German Renaissance man Johann Wolfgang von Goethe had the highest IQ of all time, with an estimated score ranging from 210 to 225. While typically regarded as a philosopher, Goethe wasn’t a fan of labels—especially since his work spanned several disciplines, including metaphysics, biology and color theory.

Kim Ung-Yong at age 6 months solving equations
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Kim Ung-Yong: IQ 210

Kim Ung-Yong, a civil engineer from South Korea, has been dubbed both a “failed genius” and the person with the highest IQ of all time: reportedly, a score of 210. Born in 1962, Ung-Yong could solve difficult math problems at the age of 4 and speak four languages by the time he was 5 years old, he told the Korea Herald.

According to some reports, he traveled to the United States at the age of 8 to study physics at the University of Colorado and began working for NASA not long after. Ultimately, Ung-Yong returned to Korea because he was lonely, the former child prodigy explained. In 2014, he became a full-time professor at Shinhan University in Korea’s Gyeonggi province.

Portrait of William Shakespeare from the title page of the First Folio of Shakespeare's plays; copper engraving by Martin Droeshout, 1623.
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William Shakespeare: IQ 210

William Shakespeare needs no introduction, but we’ll give him one anyway. You already know that he was an English poet, playwright and actor born in the 16th century. But what you may not know is that he had an estimated IQ of 210. Over the course of his lifetime, he completed 38 plays, 154 sonnets, two narrative poems and a variety of other poems—several of which contain everyday phrases still in use today. While Shakespeare’s contributions to the English language have lived on, none of his original manuscripts have survived. He easily could have faded into obscurity had it not been for the efforts of a group of actors who published a collection of 36 of his plays in 1623, in a book known as the First Folio.

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Edith Stern: IQ 200+

Within a day of her birth in 1952, Edith Stern’s father called a press conference to announce his plans to make his daughter “into the perfect human being,” the Washington Post reported. “The Edith Project,” as Harper’s magazine called his quest, began when he banned baby talk and played only classical music for her. His efforts continued into Stern’s childhood, when she read the entire Encyclopedia Britannica by the age of 5 and enrolled in college at 12. By the 1970s, she had earned her PhD in math and was working at IBM. The same Washington Post article reported that Stern had an IQ “above 200.”

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Michael Grost: IQ 200+

Michael Grost began his college career at Michigan State University at the age of 10 and graduated when he was 15. He went on to earn a master’s degree from MSU, as well as a PhD in mathematics from the University of Michigan. A 1964 article in Time magazine described his IQ as “too high to be tested meaningfully,” though in her 1970 book Genius in Residence, Grost’s mother reported that his IQ score was higher than 200. Grost, who is now in his 70s, has expertise in artificial intelligence, writes mystery and detective stories, is an abstract painter and enjoys classical music, poetry, film, art and architecture.

Left to right: Colorado School of Mines freshmen students: Kyle Sanoval,19, Dylan Jones, 10 years-old, Cristin Cammon, 18, and Amanda Savage, 19, work together during a Chemistry 101 lab at the school in Golden on Tuesday, December 4, 2001. They were perf
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Dylan Jones: IQ 200+

Dylan Jones made news in 2002 when he enrolled in calculus and quantitative-chemistry college courses at the Colorado School of Mines, an engineering-focused research university, at the age of 11. In an interview with the school’s magazine that year, his parents revealed that his IQ score was “more than 200” but wouldn’t provide an exact number, as “it’s not accurate because he hit the ceiling on the test.”

Jones graduated with a bachelor’s degree in math and computer science and a minor in bioengineering and life sciences in 2007 at the age of 16, before going on to study at the University of Colorado School of Medicine.

Experiments with chemicals in a laboratory
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Sho Yano: IQ 200

Once referred to as the “real-life Doogie Howser,” Sho Yano had learned to read by the age of 2, started writing the following year and began composing music by the time he was 5. He took the SATs when he was 8 years old, scored a 1500 and enrolled at Loyola University in Chicago the following year. Yano graduated three years later, then began his graduate studies at the University of Chicago’s Pritzker School of Medicine, where he earned a PhD in molecular genetics and cell biology when he was 18, and his medical degree when he was 21. Now 35, Yano is an assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Chicago and a practicing pediatric neurologist at the university’s Comer Children’s Hospital. In 2000, he was reported to have an IQ of around 200.

Nathan Leopold sitting with his hat on and looking at camera
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Nathan Leopold: IQ 200–220

Estimates place Nathan Leopold’s IQ somewhere between 200 and 220, but he’s more famous for his crime than his intelligence. The crime in question took place in 1924, when Leopold, who was 19 at the time, and his friend, Richard Loeb, who was 18, murdered 14-year-old Bobby Franks in what the pair described as intellectual exercise and “an attempt to commit the perfect crime.”

Leopold graduated from the University of Chicago just prior to the murder and had set his sights on attending Harvard Law School next. But after pleading guilty, he was sentenced to life in prison. (After serving 33 years, he was released on parole in 1958 and died in 1971.)

Thomas Wolsey
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Thomas Wolsey: IQ 200

Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, who lived from 1475 to 1530, was among the last politically influential clergymen in England. The cardinal was appointed lord chancellor and put in charge of England’s foreign policy. His association with the crown made Wolsey an exceptionally wealthy man, though the public didn’t approve of his lavish lifestyle. He reportedly had an estimated IQ of 200. Wolsey was arrested and accused of treason in 1530, and died en route to his trial.

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Evangelos Katsioulis: IQ 198–205

Greek physician, psychiatrist and psychotherapist Evangelos Katsioulis also holds graduate degrees in philosophy and information technology. The founder of the World Intelligence Network, a global non-profit organization supporting abilities assessment and enhancement, he reportedly has an IQ between 198 and 205. Katsioulis is currently putting his degrees to use as a life coach.

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Christopher Michael Langan: IQ 195

Christopher Michael Langan is a former cowboy and bouncer and current horse rancher, independent researcher and “reality theorist” with an IQ score reported to be 195. According to a 1999 segment on ABC’s 20/20, he started speaking when he was 6 months old, and he learned to read before turning 4.

Langan is best known for his Cognitive Theoretic Model of the Universe, which he developed in the 1980s and refers to as “the CTMU.” In a 2007 interview with Esquire, Langan told the magazine that it was “a true Theory of Everything, a cross between John Archibald Wheeler’s Participatory Universe and Stephen Hawking’s Imaginary Time theory of cosmology.”

2014 Writers Guild Awards L.A. Ceremony - Press Room
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Rick Rosner: IQ 192–198

Rick Rosner has taken more than 25 high-range IQ tests, earning scores from 169 to 193, depending on how the tests define their scores. After working as a bouncer, stripper and nude model, Rosner began writing for television shows including Crank Yankers, The World’s Funniest! and Jimmy Kimmel Live!, earning one Emmy nomination and six Writers Guild of America nominations (and one win). In 2001, Rosner famously sued the ABC network for a faulty question after losing Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? at the $16,000 level. (He ultimately lost the case against the game show.)

Garry Kasparov sitting with a chess board
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Garry Kasparov: IQ 190s

Soviet-born chess master Garry Kasparov, whose IQ is reportedly in the 190s, was considered the world’s best chess player for nearly two decades. In fact, when he was 22 years old, Kasparov became the youngest world chess champion. He’s also known for playing against non-human opponents—and although he defeated Deep Blue, an IBM supercomputer programmed specifically for chess in 1996, he lost to the machine the following year, after its program was updated.

Michael Kearney on the set of Million Dollar "Gold Rush"
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Michael Kearney: IQ 190s

In 1994, at the age of 10, Michael Kearney graduated from the University of South Alabama with a bachelor’s degree in anthropology, earning him Guinness World Record certification as the world’s youngest college graduate—a title he still holds today. The following year, the Los Angeles Times reported that Kearney had an IQ score of “nearly 200.”

Kearney earned a master’s degree in chemistry from Middle Tennessee State University at age 14, a master’s degree in computer science from Vanderbilt University at age 18, and his PhD in chemistry from Middle Tennessee State University when he was 22.

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Voltaire: IQ 190–200

A leading figure in the French Enlightenment, François-Marie Arouet—better known by his nom de plume, Voltaire—was a satirist, philosopher, dramatist, historian, polemicist and poet born to a wealthy Parisian family in 1718. He had an estimated IQ between 190 and 200, and was also one of the era’s most prolific writers, amassing a substantial body of work during his 60-year career, which included everything from fiction to treatises on science to politics.

Sir Isaac Newton portrait
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Isaac Newton: IQ 190–200

Sir Isaac Newton, whose IQ was estimated between 190 and 200, is another example of a scientist—in this case, a physicist—far ahead of his time. Although he’s best known for his universal principles of gravity (which weren’t inspired by an apple falling on his head, by the way), the 17th-century thinker was also a mathematician, astronomer and writer, contributing to the principles of visible light and laws of motion. We also have Newton to thank for our high school calculus classes, as he developed the techniques of integration and differentiation that are still used to this day.

Srinivasa Ramanujan: IQ 185

Born in India in 1887, Srinivasa Ramanujan is considered one of the most influential mathematicians of the 20th century. At the age of 15, he came across a copy of George Shoobridge Carr’s Synopsis of Elementary Results in Pure and Applied Mathematics, and after replicating the author’s work, he developed his own mathematical theorems. Today, Ramanujan, who reportedly had an estimated IQ of 185, is best known for his contributions to the theory of numbers.

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Adragon De Mello: IQ 185

In 1988, when Adragon De Mello graduated from the University of California, Santa Cruz, with a degree in computational mathematics at the age of 11, he was the youngest college graduate in the United States (a record he no longer holds). According to his father, there were early signs that he was advanced, like being able to read and write by the age of 2 and joining Mensa at age 5. Although his IQ score was once reported to be an unheard-of 400, other estimates put it around 185.

Hugo Grotius
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Hugo Grotius: IQ 185–190

Hugo Grotius, also known as Hugeianus de Groot, was a Dutch theologian, philosopher, lawyer and statesman. Before he became the “Father of International Law,” Grotius was considered a gifted child—writing Latin elegies by the age of 8, starting college at Leiden University when he was 11 and accompanying Holland’s top politician on a diplomatic trip to France in 1598, at the age of 15. According to a 1926 estimate by American psychologist Catherine Cox, PhD, Grotius had an IQ score between 185 and 190.

Today, Grotius is probably best known for his 1625 work “De Jure Belli ac Pacis (On the Law of War and Peace),” in which he lays out his theory of international law, including just war doctrine, in an attempt to reduce the number of casualties and fatalities from war.

Hand-Colored Engraving of Gottfried Wilhelm Leibnitz by Benjamin Holl
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Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz: IQ 185–190

Some scholars consider Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, a German mathematician, logician, philosopher and lawyer who lived from 1646 to 1716, “the last universal genius,” thanks to his mastery of a wide range of subjects. As a philosopher, his lifelong goal was to develop a system where symbols represent different principles of reasoning, allowing problems and arguments to be solved by a mathematical calculation—or, as some have described it, “an algebra or calculus of thought.”

Leibniz, whom Cox estimated had an IQ score between 185 and 190, is credited with inventing differential and integral calculus, but he spent the final years of his life defending himself against accusations that he stole Newton’s work and claimed it as his own. Today, most historians of mathematics believe that the two scholars created calculus independently, with Newton being the first to come up with the concept, and Leibniz being the first to publish.

John Stuart Mill, British philosopher and social reformer, 19th century (1956).
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John Stuart Mill: IQ 180–190

In 1926, it was estimated that 19th-century English philosopher, politician, logician, naturalist and economist John Stuart Mill may have had an IQ score between 180 and 190. In 1823, at the age of 17, Mill began his 35-year career working for the East India Company as a colonial administrator. Mill married women’s rights advocate and fellow philosopher Harriet Hardy Taylor, who heavily influenced his views on the position of women in society. He briefly served in Parliament, during which time he submitted a petition calling for women’s suffrage. In 1869, Mill outlined his arguments in favor of women’s rights in the feminist essay “The Subjection of Women,” based on an 1851 essay, “The Enfranchisement of Women,” which he co-authored with Taylor.

Portrait of Leonardo da Vinci, by Lattanzio Querena (1768-1853).
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Leonardo da Vinci: IQ 180–220

While IQ tests weren’t around when Leonardo da Vinci was living, some have estimated that his score would have been between 180 and 220. Like other people considered geniuses, he had a wide range of skills, excelling in everything from art and science to music and architecture. Although he’s best known for his paintings, da Vinci’s scientific work spanned topics including aerodynamics, anatomy, botany, geology, hydrodynamics, optics and zoology. Fascinated by anything mechanical, he sketched plans for flying machines, tanks, combat devices and submarines—in the 15th century.

Madame Curie (1867-1934), noted physical chemist, poses in her Paris laboratory. Undated photograph.
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Marie Curie: IQ 180–200

Not only was Maria Salomea Skłodowska-Curie—later known as Marie Curie—the first woman to win the Nobel Prize, but she was also the first person to win it twice. And did we mention the wins were in two different categories?

Curie, whose IQ was reportedly between 180 and 200, shared the 1903 Nobel Prize for Physics with her husband, Pierre Curie, and another scientist for their “combined, though separate” work on radioactivity, and then was awarded the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1911. Most of Curie’s work focused on radioactivity—including discovering radium and polonium, and other contributions to the development of X-rays used during surgery. She put her technology to work in World War I, where she served on the front lines as the director of the Red Cross Radiological Service.

Portrait Thought To Be Of Blaise Pascal (1623-1662)
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Blaise Pascal: IQ 180–195

Like several others on this list, Frenchman Blaise Pascal was a philosopher and mathematician. His mother died in 1626, when he was 3 years old, leaving his father, Étienne Pascal—a lawyer and amateur mathematician—to run the household. For Étienne, this meant homeschooling Blaise using his own unconventional methods: most notably, forbidding him from studying mathematics before he was 15 years old and ridding their home of any math books.

So, naturally, a 12-year-old Blaise (whose IQ was estimated between 180 and 195) wanted to rebel, so he secretly began to teach himself geometry. Eventually, Étienne gave in and gave Blaise permission to read a text by Euclid. As a teenager, Blaise accompanied his father to meetings of Parisian mathematicians and impressed them with his projective geometry theorems. When his father got a job as a tax collector, Blaise spent three years developing the first mechanical calculator to assist him with his job.

�Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt�, first century BC.
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Cleopatra: IQ 180

Although Cleopatra is best known today for her beauty, eyeliner and feminine wiles, back in her time, her intellect was the real draw. After all, she spoke as many as 10 languages and was educated in mathematics, philosophy, oratory and astronomy. Some estimates put Cleopatra’s IQ score around 180.

During her nearly 30-year rule of Egypt, Cleopatra was also known for being skilled in law, diplomacy, military theory, economics, chemistry, mercantile strategy and what we’d refer to as “public relations” today. She also stood out for her “research-based ruling,” which involved using straw polls to gauge the public’s position on important issues in Egypt.

Winner James Woods at Emmy Awards 1989
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James Woods: IQ 180

After graduating from high school near the top of his class, American actor James Woods attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) on a scholarship. He came close to graduating but dropped out in 1969, during his senior year, to move to New York City and pursue a career in acting.

Woods, who has a reported IQ score of 180, according to CBS News, made his Broadway debut in 1970, marking the beginning of a long career in theater, television and film, for which he earned two Emmy Awards and two Academy Award nominations.

Profile of Greek Mathematician Hypatia
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Hypatia: IQ 170–210

Although she was Greek, Hypatia grew up in Alexandria, Egypt, where her father was the director of the city’s famous library, as well as a mathematician. She crossed paths with some of the greatest thinkers of the ancient world—learning from them while forging her own path as an independent scholar. In addition to her work as a philosopher, astronomer and mathematician, Hypatia was a renowned public speaker and inventor, creating the astrolabe for ship navigation, as well as devices for measuring the density of fluids. Some have estimated that the 4th-century intellectual’s IQ score may have been between 170 and 210.

Child playing with wooden cubes with numbers and colorful toy bricks on a turquoise wooden background. Toddler learning numbers. Hand of a child taking toys.
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Ophelia Morgan: IQ 171

Before turning 2 years old, Ophelia Morgan knew her colors and numbers and could recite the alphabet. Although her parents knew she was advanced, it wasn’t until she started preschool that they realized how far ahead she was academically. At the age of 3, she scored a 171 on the Stanford-Binet test, then joined Mensa. But other than her extensive vocabulary and knowledge far beyond her years, Ophelia (who’s now 9 years old) is still very much a child and enjoys the usual activities for someone her age, her parents told the BBC.

White House Chief of Staff John Sununu At Event
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John H. Sununu: IQ 176

Born in Havana, Cuba, to Lebanese parents, John H. Sununu attended MIT, where he received his bachelor’s degree in 1961, a master’s degree in 1962 and a PhD in mechanical engineering in 1966.

Despite his engineering background, he’s best known for his political career, which included the New Hampshire State Legislature, as the governor of New Hampshire and as the chief of staff to President George H. W. Bush. A 1988 article in the Washington Post reported that Sununu has an IQ of 176.


Jacob Barnett: IQ 170

Jacob Barnett was diagnosed with autism when he was 2 years old. His love of math and science began the following year. By kindergarten, he was already ahead of the rest of his class academically, and he told his father that he wished he was learning algebra. Barnett’s parents began homeschooling him in fifth grade, so he could progress at his own pace—which for Jacob meant completing grades six through 12 in a little more than one year. He began studying physics at the joint Indiana University–Purdue University campus in Indianapolis at the age of 10, published his first academic paper at 13 and then earned a master’s degree and PhD at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Ontario. Now 25, Barrett is a postdoctoral research fellow at the Basque Center for Applied Mathematics in Bilbao, Spain.

Chess Prodigy Judith Polgar
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Judit Polgár: IQ 170

The Hungarian chess master is considered the best female chess player of all time. She’s not just great at strategy games: In 1991, when she was 15 years old, Polgár became the youngest International Grandmaster of all time—beating Bobby Fischer’s record. Twenty years later, she won a bronze medal at the Men’s European Championships. Polgár took part in her final professional chess tournament in 2014, where she won a silver medal at the Chess Olympiad, representing Hungary as a member of the men’s team. She’s reported to have an IQ of 170, though she’s never made that claim herself.

John Quincy Adams By Healy
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John Quincy Adams: IQ 165–175

In 1825, John Quincy Adams made history as the first child of a U.S. president to become the U.S. president, serving as the fledgling country’s sixth commander-in-chief until 1829. Growing up in a wealthy family as the son of a politician, Adams had opportunities not afforded to other children—like accompanying his father on diplomatic trips to Europe beginning at age 10.

Adams reportedly had an IQ between 165 and 175. In 1781, at the age of 14, Adams traveled to Russia to act as another diplomat’s translator and secretary. At 16, he served as his father’s official secretary on a diplomatic mission to Paris, then spent the next two years studying in Europe. After returning to the U.S., he graduated from Harvard College in two years, became a lawyer, was elected to the U.S. Senate, served as Secretary of State and was eventually elected president.

Samuel Taylor Coleridge
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Samuel Taylor Coleridge: IQ 165–175

Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s father was a vicar and the headmaster of an elementary school who had a total of 14 children with two wives. Coleridge was the youngest in the family and accompanied his father to school, where he was known for being a bright student and a voracious reader. Following his father’s death in 1781, a 9-year-old Coleridge began attending Christ’s Hospital School in London.

With his sights set on following in his father’s footsteps as a clergyman, Coleridge enrolled in Jesus College at the University of Cambridge in 1791, but during his first year, he discovered that his personal views didn’t align with those of the Church of England. Coleridge, who had an estimated IQ between 165 and 175, dropped out and spent the next four years planning a utopian community with a philosophy student he met while traveling. After befriending poet William Wordsworth in 1795, Coleridge decided to take up poetry—eventually going on to become a leader of the British Romantic Movement.

Doctor preparing instruments for plastic surgery in operating room.
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Fabiola Mann: IQ 162

In 2012, 15-year-old Fabiola Mann took an IQ test and scored a 162. The same year, Mann told the BBC that she enjoyed playing chess, and one day hoped to become a surgeon. Ten years later, she earned her medical degree from Imperial College London, and she’s currently a practicing physician for the U.K.’s National Health Service (NHS) in Edinburgh, Scotland.

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Adhara Pérez: IQ 162

Initially, Adhara Pérez had a challenging childhood, including being diagnosed with Asperger’s synndrome, a form of autism, at 3 years old and not fitting in at school. After her mother, Nallely Sanchez, sought professional advice regarding her daughter, Pérez was given an IQ test and reportedly received a score of 162. She finished elementary school by the age of 5 and high school by age 8. Pérez has since completed two undergraduate degrees in systems and industrial engineering. Now 12, she is currently working on her master’s degree in Mexico City and collaborating with the Mexican Space Agency as a STEM ambassador.

The New Term Begins For Students At Oxford University
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Ramarni Wilfred: IQ 162

According to his mother, when Ramarni Wilfred was less than 3 years old, he could easily carry on a conversation about the political news of the day. By the time he entered preschool, he already knew how to read and write. When Wilfred was 10, he wrote a paper on justice theory and was awarded a prize for his work by Oxford University. He took an IQ test the following year and reportedly scored 162. Now 21, the East Londoner recently shared on Instagram that he has graduated from the University of Oxford and works for the University of Cambridge.

Nikola Tesla In His Laboratory
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Nikola Tesla: IQ 160–310

Nikola Tesla was born in 1856 in a region of the Austro-Hungarian Empire that’s now part of modern-day Croatia. His father, Milutin Tesla, was a Serbian-Orthodox priest, while his mother, Đuka Mandić Tesla, was “an inventor of the first order,” per her son’s description, who created various household tools and devices, as well as innovations related to weaving. “I must trace to my mother’s influence whatever inventiveness I possess,” he wrote in an article published in Electrical Experimenter magazine in 1919.

After studying electrical engineering in Europe, Tesla moved to the United States in 1884. Though best known for inventing the first alternating current (AC) motor and developing AC generation and transmission technology, his numerous other inventions include the Tesla coil (used in radios and televisions), the Tesla turbine and shadowgraphs (a type of X-ray technology). It was estimated that Tesla’s IQ fell somewhere between 160 and 310.

France, Paris, Portrait of Rene Descartes (also known as Cartesio 1596 - 1650), French mathematician and philospher, print
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René Descartes: IQ 160–180

According to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, during his lifetime, René Descartes was “a mathematician first, a natural scientist or natural philosopher second and a metaphysician third.” Today, however, Descartes, who had an estimated IQ between 160 and 180, is most closely associated with a relatively short work published in 1641 entitled Meditationes de Prima Philosophia (“Meditations on First Philosophy”). Out of the six meditations, his second—often summarized as cogito, ergo sum, or “I think, therefore I am”—is the most famous.

Portrait Of Ada Byron
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Ada Lovelace: IQ 160

Ada Lovelace (the child of the poet Lord Byron) described herself as an “analyst and metaphysician,” but she’s best known today for her contributions to scientific computing. She’s considered the first person who recognized that computers could eventually have countless uses beyond simply calculating mathematical equations.

Lovelace became interested in math at an early age. Fortunately, her mother, Anne Milbank, had mathematical training herself and ensured her daughter was also educated in the discipline. Lovelace was also interested in metaphysics and fascinated by aeronautics, and at the age of 12, she drew up plans for a “flying machine” powered by steam and inspired by birds’ wings. As an adult, she turned her focus to computer programming. She died in 1852 at the age of 36—more than half a century before the introduction of IQ tests—but her IQ score is estimated to be around 160.

Cosmologist Stephen Hawking
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Stephen Hawking: IQ 160

If theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking ever took an IQ test, he never revealed his score. In fact, when a reporter for the New York Times Magazine asked him about it in a 2004 interview, Hawking said that he had “no idea” what his score was and that “people who boast about their IQ are losers.”

That hasn’t stopped people from trying to figure it out: Hawking’s estimated IQ score is reported to be around 160, but what really matters is that his scientific discoveries were (literally) out of this world, contributing to the basic laws governing the universe. Perhaps even more importantly, Hawking was committed to making his work accessible—something he did on countless television appearances and through his bestselling book A Brief History of Time.

Circa 1515, Portrait of the Polish astronomer, Nicolaus Copernicus (1473 - 1543)
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Nicolaus Copernicus: IQ 160

Astronomer and mathematician Nicolaus Copernicus, who had an estimated IQ score of 160​, was born in 1473 to a German family living in the Kingdom of Poland. Although he’s best known today for his heliocentric model of the universe, which places the sun—and not Earth—at the center of the solar system, his idea didn’t catch on right away. Copernicus explained this theory in his 1532 manuscript De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium, or On the Revolutions of the Celestial Spheres, which some scholars believe initiated the Scientific Revolution and impacted the ideas of thinkers including Galileo, Johannes Kepler, René Descartes and Isaac Newton.

Einstein Writing Equation on Blackboard
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Albert Einstein: IQ 160

For someone whose name has become synonymous with “genius,” Albert Einstein’s estimated IQ is reported to be only around 160. Although IQ tests were readily available during his lifetime, the famous physicist never took one. Though it’s unclear how, exactly, Einstein’s estimated IQ score was determined, his scientific contributions—including theories of space, time, mass, motion and gravitation—are well documented. While he’s best known for his theory of relativity, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in physics in 1921 for his work related to the photoelectric effect.

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