Democritus IQ

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A sculpture of Democritus meditating on the soul, located at the Paris salon.[1]

In genius studies, Democritus IQ (LH:2) refers to a discussion of the IQ of Democritus, the Greek philosopher considered the chief of the atomic school, which founded atomic theory, i.e. the atom and void model of the universe, the basis of the later "matter and motion" philosophical schools formed in the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries.


The ranking of the "IQ" and or top tier genius position of Democritus, as summarized below, presents us with a number of problems. The first main problem is that while at one point he was said to be one of the greatest minds of antiquity, e.g. he was the 5th most-cited scholar in the collected works (ACR) of Aristotle (320BC), yet, two-thousand years later, with the rise of Christianity and Islam, views not agreeable to belief in atoms and atomic theory, by the time of the Cardano 12 (Cardano, 1550) genius ranking, the identity and works of Democritus had been scrubbed or effaced out of history.

Atomic school

The following are the four chiefs of the so-called “atomic school” (Bacon, 1597)[2], whose work founded atomic theory, shown with there their date of peak intellectual activity (state), Aristotle citation ranking (ACR), Hmolpedia citation ranking (HCR), famous atheists (FA) ranking, the Hmolpedia top 2000 minds ranking, the Geniuses Club (GC) IQ estimates[3], which are basically Hmolpedia copied IQs (from the 2019/2020 rankings), Ranker greatest minds (RGM) rankings, the Wikipedia-based Pantheon rankings (PR) and Wikipedia philosopher popularity ranking, and Cattell 1000 rankings:

State ACR HCR FA Top 2000 GC RGM
Cattell 1000
1. Leucippus 2455-2405 BE c.500-450 BCM 470BC 18 230|#35 7 IQ:180|#124 180 N/A 2,163 135 N/A
2. Democritus 2415-2325 BE c.460-370 BCM 410BC 5 317|#22 17 IQ:205|#3 185 86 285 29 751
3. Epicurus 2296-2225 BE 341-270 BCM 300BC N/A 392|#15 26 IQ:185|#49 185 108 159 21 240
4. Lucretius 2054-2010 BE 99-55 BCM 60BC N/A 325|#20 30 IQ:180|#86 180 612 708 55 209

In respect to genius rankings and IQ estimation of the four atomic school founders looked at as a group, Democritus is the most intelligence. This can be seen quickly by clicking on the RGM column sorting icon, wherein he falls in at 86th greatest mind of all time.

However, in terms of so-called mass-cultural influence, we can check the Cattell 1000 (Cattell, 1894), a ranking based on a meta-analysis of six multi-language encyclopedias and dictionaries, we see that Lucretius ranks the highest at #209, which of course owes to the mass decimation of his On the Nature of Things (60BC). The modern version of the Cattell 1000 is the so-called "Hildago 70K" (Hildago, 2020), a ranking of the top 70,000 names in Wikipedia, based on individuals that have articles in at least ten language editions, a project run by Cesar Hidalgo at MIT, which is shown by the Pantheon Rankings (PR) and philosopher columns. Here, we see Epicurus ranking at 21st most popular philosopher and #159 in overall PR rankings. Likewise, we can compare this to the Hmolpedia citation ranking (HCR), which has Epicurus ranked highest as 15th most hyperlinked name. Hyperlink ranking, however, does not correlate directly with "genius ranking", but rather gives indication of the immediate influence of the individual.


The works of Democritus were said to have covered all known fields of knowledge, moreso than that covered, presumably, than seen in Aristotle's collected works. None of Democritus's writings, however, have survived to the present day complete. Only fragments are known from his vast body of work. The following is a basic outline of books that he had published:[4]


  • Pythagoras
  • On the Disposition of the Wise Man
  • On the Things in Hades
  • Tritogenia
  • On Manliness or On Virtue
  • The Horn of Amaltheia
  • On Contentment
  • Ethical Commentaries

Natural science

  • The Great World-ordering (may have been written by Leucippus)
  • Cosmography
  • On the Planets
  • On Nature
  • On the Nature of Man or On Flesh (two books)
  • On the Mind
  • On the Senses
  • On Flavours
  • On Colours
  • On Different Shapes
  • On Changing Shape
  • Buttresses
  • On Images
  • On Logic (three books)


  • Heavenly Causes
  • Atmospheric Causes
  • Terrestrial Causes
  • Causes Concerned with Fire and Things in Fire
  • Causes Concerned with Sounds
  • Causes Concerned with Seeds and Plants and Fruits
  • Causes Concerned with Animals (three books)
  • Miscellaneous Causes
  • On Magnets


  • On Different Angles or On contact of Circles and Spheres
  • On Geometry
  • Geometry
  • Numbers
  • On Irrational Lines and Solids (two books)
  • Planispheres
  • On the Great Year or Astronomy (a calendar)
  • Contest of the Waterclock
  • Description of the Heavens
  • Geography
  • Description of the Poles
  • Description of Rays of Light


  • On the Rhythms and Harmony
  • On Poetry
  • On the Beauty of Verses
  • On Euphonious and Harsh-sounding Letters
  • On Homer
  • On Song
  • On Verbs
  • Names

Technical works

  • Prognosis
  • On Diet
  • Medical Judgment
  • Causes Concerning Appropriate and Inappropriate Occasions
  • On Farming
  • On Painting
  • Tactics
  • Fighting in Armor


  • On the Sacred Writings of Babylon
  • On Those in Meroe
  • Circumnavigation of the Ocean
  • On History
  • Chaldaean Account
  • Phrygian Account
  • On Fever and Coughing Sicknesses
  • Legal Causes
  • Problems
Democritus' model of atoms, with different shapes, e.g. some hooked (to form bonds), some smooth, like water, some pointed, which make fire, etc., moving in a void.

Two-thousand years later, all of these works were erased from history.

In 1417, Poggio Bracciolini, discovered of the lost works of Lucretius, had dozens of copies made, which started the renaissance with revival of atomic theory, after which the revival of Democritus began. This revival, however, was not immediate.

In Gerolamo Cardano rankings (1550), to exemplify, Aristotle ranks 5th and the only trace of Democritus, or anyone form the atomic school, is found in his ranking of Plotinus as 3rd greatest mind. Plotinus spent most of his time attacking atomic theory, with focus on the "soul theory" in respect to "atomic theory".

In 1865, Democritus had become trimmed down to but a rumored about once-famous "laughing philosopher" as Lange tells us:

“Few great men have been so despitefully used by history as Democritus. In the distorted images sent down to us through unscientific traditions there remains of him almost nothing but the name of the ‘laughing philosopher’, while figures of immeasurably smaller significance spread themselves out at full length before us.”
Friedrich Lange (1865), A History of Materialism (pg. #); cited by John Tyndall (1874) in “Atheistic Materialism Address” (pg. 3)

Presently, Democritus, since atomic theory has become the supreme science, now ranks in at least the top 80 minds of all time, at a minimum.

Peer | Opinion

To re-situate our footing, accordingly, the following views give a more-accurate picture of the true genius stature of Democritus:

Person Opinion
380BC The works of Democritus were widely-circulated (Aristoxenus, 335BC).[5]
320BC Aristotle Democritus is the 5th most-influential mind of all time (ACM).
220BC Archimedes Democritus did the cone-cylinder, pyramid-prism proofs before Eudoxus claims of discovery.[6]
50BC Philodemus "Democritus was the most learned man about nature of all the ancients.”[7]
45BC Cicero "Democritus was praised by Cicero as rivaling Plato's natural philosophy."[8]
230 Laertius “Democritus is the prince of philosophers.”
450 Simplicius Democritus was the first to “deny chance” (see: anti-chance).[9]
1600 Bacon “It is evident, indeed, that Bacon considered Democritus to be a man of weightier metal than either Plato or Aristotle, though their philosophy was ‘noised and celebrated in the schools, amid the din and pomp of philosophers.”

John Tyndall (1874), “Atheistic Materialism Address” (pg. 3)[10]

“Democritus was justly esteemed by Bacon as the weightiest of the ancients.”

— Carl Snyder (1907), The World Machine (pg. v)[8]

1865 Lange "Democritus mastered the whole extent of the science of his time, and that probably with greater independence and thoroughness than was the case with Aristotle."
1907 Snyder “Democritus wrote illuminatively upon almost every branch of knowledge.”

— Carl Snyder (1907), The World Machine (pg. v)[8]

Plato | Book burning

As a general rule of thumb, when one's books get burned, there must be amount of genius in them that irritates the lesser minds who burn them to such a frenzy that they are willed to strike a match to them. Such was the case with Democritus. However, it was not just any "lesser mind" that was reported to have had the desire to burn his works, it was the presumed to be great Plato! Hence, when a genius wants to burn another geniuses books, we have therein something of unusual note.

In c.380BC, Plato, as Aristoxenus reported his Historical Notes (c.335BC), wished to burn all the writings of Democritus that he could collect, but that Amyclas and Clinias the Pythagoreans prevented him, saying that there was no advantage in doing so, for already the books of Democritus were too widely circulated.

Genius ranking

In 1909, Jean Perrin proved that atoms exist by calculating Avogadro's number using three different methods, all involving liquid phase systems. First, he used a gamboge soap-like emulsion, second by doing experimental work on Brownian motion, and third by confirming Einstein’s theory of particle rotation in the liquid phase. Perrin eventually won the 1926 Nobel Prize in physics for proving, conclusively, the reality of the “atomistic description” of nature — a recognition often said to mark the final and formal acceptance of Leucippus’ c.450BC atomic theory by science "officially".

On 11 Oct 1955 AD (11 Oct 0 AE), Erwin Muller, saw tungsten W (Z=74) atoms Atom logo 3 png.png, at the tip of a needle, using his newly-invented field ion microscope.[11]

In 1964, Richard Feynman, Lectures on Physics, said that if we were to put one phrase of information into a time capsule it would be Leucippus' statement: "believe that all things are made of atoms", and presumably, were Feynman to elaborate on which book, to represent this "atomic fact", as he refers to things, it would be the main book of Democritus on atomic theory; in full:

“If, in some cataclysm, all scientific knowledge were to be destroyed, and only one sentence passed on to the next generation of creatures, what statement would contain the most information in the fewest words? I believe it is the atomic hypothesis, or atomic fact, or whatever you wish to call it, that all things are made of atoms — little particles that move around in perpetual motion, attracting each other when they are a little distance apart, but repelling upon being squeezed into one another. In that one sentence you will see an enormous amount of information about the world, if just a little imagination and thinking are applied.”
— Richard Feynman (1964), Lectures on Physics (pg. #) [12]

In 2011, Libb Thims, starting the "genius IQs"[13] tables, the first incarnation of what is now called the top 2000 minds rankings, by merged the Cox 300 (Cox, 1926)and the Buzan 100 (Buzan, 1994) genius rankings, and added a few dozen or so additions, to bring the list circa 450 persons. Democritus, at this point, however, was not even listed. Over the next handful of years, as the list began to grow, Democritus was added.

In 2019/2020, the curators of, which launched by copying most of their IQ estimates from the Hmolpedia rankings, began showing Democritus with an IQ of 185.[3]

On Nov 2020, Thims, in the top 2000 minds rankings, upgraded Democritus from IQ:190#36 to IQ:195:#8, specifically to locate him "above" Aristotle, per the supporting views of Lange, Archimedes, Philodemus, and Simplicius; and per the fact that Plato tried to buy up and burn all of his books (Aristoxenus, 325BC).

In early 2021 (66AE), Democritus was listed on the IQ rankings list, maintained by Alex Bickle via copying the full Hmolpedia genius rankings list (when updated), at IQ:195.[14]

In mid 66AE, Thims moved Democritus up to IQ:205:#3, per some kind of gut feeling, given the growing consensus, especially when looked at from the "big history" point of view, covering the last 6,000 years.


The following are related quotes:

“Democritus must, in truth, amongst the great thinkers of antiquity, be numbered with the very greatest.”
Friedrich Lange (1865), History of Materialism, Volume One (pg. 18)

End matter

See also


  1. Delhomme, Leon. (1868). “Democritus meditating on the seat of the soul” (WP), Paris Salon.
  2. (a) Bacon, Francis. (1597). “Of Atheism”, Publisher.
    (b) Bacon, Francis. (1626). The Essays of Francis Bacon (§11, pgs. 51-). Houghton, 1908.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Democritus –
  4. Democritus – Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
  5. (a) Aristoxenus. (335BC). Historical Discourse (c.335BC). Publisher.
    (b) Laertius, Diogenes. (230). Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers (Ѻ). Publisher.
  6. (a) Archimedes (c.220BC), Mathematical Theorems Addressed to Eratosthenes (see: Eratosthenes). Publisher.
    (b) Taylor, C.C.W. (1999). The Atomists: Leucippus and Democritus: Fragments: a Text and Translation with a Commentary by C.C.W. Taylor (pg. 3, 5; Archimedes, pg. 136; Simplicius, pgs. 92, 192). University of Toronto Press.
  7. Philodemus. (45BC). On Music; Herculaneum papyrus 1497 (col. CCCVI 29-39). Publisher.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Snyder, Carl. (1907). The World Machine: the First Phase, the Cosmic Mechanism (pg. v). Longmans, Green.
  9. (a) Simplicius (c.530), Fragment 71b; in: Commentary on Physics (196a14-15; 330.14-20). Publisher.
    (b) Taylor, C.C.W. (1999). The Atomists: Leucippus and Democritus: Fragments: a Text and Translation with a Commentary by C.C.W. Taylor (pg. 3, 5; Archimedes, pg. 136; Simplicius, pgs. 92, 192). University of Toronto Press.
  10. Tyndall, John. (1874). “Atheistic Materialism Address: Atoms, Molecules, and Religion: the Paradox of Sensation, Thought, Emotion, and Life arising from Dead Atoms, within the confines of Evolution Theory and the Doctrine of Conservation of Energy” (txt) (pregnant, pg. 3), British Association for the Advancement of Science, Belfast. Longmans.
  11. Thims, Libb. (2020). Human Chemical Thermodynamics: Chemical Thermodynamics Applied to the Humanities (§I.4: Atomic Dating System (1955)) (pdf). Publisher.
  12. Feynman time capsule wisdom (WikiFoundry subdomain) – Hmolpedia 2020.
  13. Genius IQs – Hmolpedia 2020.
  14. Famous Historical Genius IQs –
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