Einstein's IQ

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Film poster to 1994 romantic comedy I.Q. starring Tim Robbins, who plays a garage mechanic, Meg Ryan, who plays Einstein’s niece, and Walter Matthau, who plays Einstein.[1] In the 1920s, following the successful 1919 solar eclipse test of his relativity theory (1905), which showed that mass does bend light, which prompted the London Times to declare that Einstein had "overthrown" Newton, the topic of Einstein's IQ became common social fodder.

In genius studies, Einstein's IQ (LH:1) refers to the subject the IQ of Albert Einstein, which became popular after the London Times declared, on 7 Nov 1919, that a "revolution in science" had occurred, and that Einstein had "overthrown Newton", following the reports of Arthur Eddington's solar eclipse expedition measurements, which showed that large mass does bend light, therein proving his 1905 relativity theory correct.

In the 1930s, Einstein's IQ was being cited at 205, with variations between 160 and 225 throughout the 20th century. Genius studies scholar John Platt (1962), in his ranking of 12 historical geniuses, gauged Einstein's IQ at "180 or better".[2] Tony Buzan and Raymond Keene (1994), in their rankings of 100 historical geniuses, calculated Einstein's IQ at 205.[3] Presently, Einstein, in the Hmolpedia "top 2000 minds", is ranked as follows: IQ:205|#3, his IQ value based on meta-analysis.

In the last few decades, to note, a prevalent ongoing Internet meme seems to have arisen, possibly in the 1950s, at Calcutta University, India, stating that Einstein couldn't do basic mathematics, and that he had an IQ of 160, and or that "both Einstein and Hawking" had an IQ of 160 (or that Einstein, Hawking, and Gates all took Mensa tests and scored 160); which is false and categorized as "misleading information ".[4] The "IQ of 160 trope" is perpetuated, seemingly, as a fake toolism, of sorts, for some odd reason?



On 29 May 1919, Arthur Eddington took a take a trip to the island of Principe (off the west coast of Africa) to measure the solar eclipse, to test the validity of Einstein’s mass bends light conjecture:

Eddington’s report of his findings to the Royal Society of London, and later Nov 1919 London Times’ headline: “Revolution in Science: New Theory of the Universe”[5], made Einstein an overnight genius celebrity.

The 7 Nov 1919 London Times article that made Einstein world famous.

In 1921, Einstein did his first tour of America, whereat large crowds thronged to meet him, during which time he became the new figurehead of "genius".[6]

In 1926, Lewis Terman, Catherine Cox, and Maud Merrill, in their study of 300 historical geniuses, published their calculated findings that Newton had an IQ of 190 in early adulthood.[7] Hence, if Einstein had "overthrown" Newton, as the London Times reported, or rather "upgraded" Newton's gravitational theories, then one would intuit that Einstein might have an IQ either near to, on par, or higher than Newton? Such guesstimates began to emerge in decades to follow, as discussed below.

IQ: 205

In the 1930s, Einstein was being reported to have an IQ near 200 or 205; for example:

“It has been said that no really ... all of whom are estimated by Catherine Cox (1926) to have had IQ's of 200 or more, are much too rare to present any widespread ... We may not look for more than one Edison or one Einstein in a generation.”
— Noel Keys (1933), “The Child of High IQ” (pg. 17) [8]

In the 1930s, someone had calculated his IQ to be 205:

“Albert Einstein: His IQ of 205 now drops to second place.”
— Author (1934), “Article”, Newsweek [9]

In the 1940s, this "IQ of 205" figure had become a benchmark of sorts. In 1945, e.g., when chemistry, mathematics, and music prodigy Merrill Wolf (1931-2011) (FSW:4M|5), at age 14, graduated from Yale with a BA in music, Life magazine did an article on him, citing Wolf's IQ as 182 or "23 points lower than Einstein's".[10] We might also note, compared to the sober realism, reported here, in the 1940s, that in the early 21st century, magazines began to report child prodigies were having so many IQ points "higher than" Einsteins (as discussed below)? It is kind of like, we as a culture, became "stupid" after WWII, as Dorothy Murdock (1998) famously said.[11]

IQ: 180+, 192, 207, 225

In the 1950s and 1960s, IQ citations of Einstein began to range from 180 to 225, as shown below:

Einstein’s IQ is estimated at 192.”
— Author (1954), “A Little, Lonely Genius: an 8-year-old boy [Brian van Dale] with an IQ rating of 185 takes 10th grade studies in his stride”, Life [12]
“In mental ability, an adult chimpanzee can solve mechanical problems about as well as a six-year-old child. This ape might be given an IQ of about 40. A moron would be around 70, an average adult 100, a PhD 140, an Einstein 180 or better. The hardest problems can be solved only by men of the greatest ability, and brilliant men are few.”
John Platt (1962), “The Coming Generation of Genius” (pg. 5) [2]
Einstein, who never took an intelligence test, was estimated to have an IQ of 207.”
— Theodore Berland (1962), “Does Anyone Know What IQ Means?” (pg. 119) [13]
“The lecturer had said that Albert Einstein had an estimated IQ of 225[14], but that was a pure estimate, or ‘guesstimate,’ he said, because by all accepted tests the peak rating was 145. Anything beyond that would be in the realm of genius and there simply was no way to test that high.”
— Joseph Harrington (1966), Blind Spot (pg. 65) [15]

Among these, the John Platt is the most realistic estimation, per reason that he, like Einstein, was a child prodigy turned physicist and reductionism defender.

Modern rankings

In 1994, Tony Buzan and Raymond Keene, in their Book of Genius, ranked 100 geniuses by IQ, based on their own devised genius formula, calculating Einstein’s IQ at 205 and ranked fourth behind Vinci (IQ:220), Goethe (IQ:215), and Shakespeare (IQ:210), as shown below:[3]

Einstein IQ (Buzan, 1994).jpg

In 2020, Libb Thims, building on Cox (1926), Platt (1962), and Buzan (1995), in order to conform better with the mean CPBT IQs, lowered the ceiling IQ of all geniuses, in Hmolpedia 2020 genius rankings, from 225 to 210, wherein Einstein's previous IQ of 215 was lowered down to 205 (as of 2020); see: top 2000 geniuses and minds.

IQ 160 | Choueiri meme

Image from a 2020 article “Adhara Perez reported to have a higher IQ than Einstein”, who graduated high school at age 8, and who is currently attempting a double major in industrial engineering, mathematics, and systems engineering.[16] This is classified as classified as “misleading information”.[4] In other words, there is NO way that an 8-year-old (let alone a female)[17], or any child younger than 18, for that matter, is more intelligent that Einstein! The confusion here is between "potential IQ" (assigned to children) vs "real IQ" assigned to adults (in retrospect).
See main: Choueiri 115

In 1959, someone at the University of Calcutta, India, stated that Einstein's IQ "stands as great as 160"; as shown below:[18]

Einstein IQ 160 (India, 1959).png

This low estimate, we note, puts Einstein on par with John Bunyan, George Sand, or Moliere, in respect to the historical Cox genius IQ scale (1926)[7], which of course makes little sense, for someone who just "overthrew" Newton, who is ranked at 190 on the same scale? In other words, someone who overthrows or usurps another person's theory, should thereby resultingly have a higher IQ not a lower IQ than the former.

In 2003, George H. Choueiri, via his so-called "ACE intelligence" online group, listed 115 famous people (see: Choueiri 115) with IQs next to each name, showing Einstein and Hawking listed with IQ of 160. The list remained online until 2015, allowing for news media and IQ test sellers to uses this as a lever to sell click bait, therein become a scame meme of sort;

for example:

“Despite continual attempts to debunk IQ, the reality is that IQ continues to be a part of our society. Some of the most common banner ads on the internet purport to measure IQ: 'Take the Dumb Test!’ or ‘Albert Einstein had an IQ of 160. What's yours?’ People clicking on these ads suggests that there is still recognition of the relevance of IQ.”
— Dennis Garlick (2010), Intelligence and the Brain (pg. 1) [19]

Thus, when someone, e.g. Tara Sharifi, an 11-year-old Iranian girl, scores a 162 in a Cattell III B test, administered as part of a Mensa-supervised test, certain agenda-based media will get ahold of this and sell the story that so-and-so "age 9" or "age 11" year old is smarter than Einstein (or Einstein and Hawking), which generating 1,000s of reactions and comments, e.g. when posted to Facebook.

A parody of a fake or over-pompous person, e.g. Chris Langan, who said the above quote in a video[20] interview, who has a "fake IQ"[21], "inflated IQ"[22], or "paper IQ"[23], and or who thinks Einstein's IQ is 160 [?], a common media trope, and that theirs is higher, based on some test, e.g. Mensa test or online IQ test.

Einstein took a Mensa test?

Some publications will even state or allude to the supposition that Einstein took an IQ test, specifically a Mensa Test:

Einstein's IQ was measured as 160 on the Mensa IQ Test, same as Stephen Hawking's and Bill Gates's. A 12-year-old girl, Lydia Sebastian from Essex, England has been reported to have scored 162 — the highest possible score on this test. In May 2019 Jiya Vaducha, an 11-year-old girl of Gujarathi origin living in London, also scored 162.”
— Joseph Mani (2019), Nine Luminaries of Science  (pg. #) [24]

Einstein, to clarify, never took any so-called "IQ tests"; which, to note, were not invented until the 1915s, via the work of Lewis Terman, who began to administer them to children in California, in the 1920s. Second, the Mensa Society itself did not form until 1946, and their "test" did not come about until sometime thereafter.

In respect to this quote, there are some reports that Stephen Hawking, in 1962, age 20, during his third year at Oxford, began to experience clumsiness, and at one point fell down some steps; after which, worried that his brain might be damaged, took a Mensa test[25] to test for mental detriment; he found that he scored between 200 to 250[26] or 245 exactly[27] as some reported. Whether or not this is true [?], into the early 2000s, it became newspaper fodder that Hawking’s Mensa test IQ score, similar to Einstein and his IQ, was 160, particularly anytime any new child scores above 160 on any test?

Misleading information

These "Einstein's IQ was 160" statements are classified as “misleading information”.[4] Firstly, answering the questions correctly on a Cattell III B test does not make a person a genius, in any way shape of form, say of their test reported IQ score is above 140, but only gives the person a "paper IQ"[23], which can just as easily blow out the window, when the person fails to achieve some actual "genius work". This is particularly so when the person taking the test is about 12 or under, which enables the test giver to age ratio scale their score to make an age-contrived "genius IQ".

Basically, these numbers, when assigned to young children, are classified as "potential IQs". In other words, take the example of Adhara Perez, pictured above, who scored 162 on some test when she was age 8. This means NOT that her "real IQ" is 162 (as all she has really done at this point is graduate high school), but that she might have the "potential", as an adult to become a genius with an IQ of 162. Statistically, however, somewhere in the neighborhood of 98 percent of such childhood "potential IQs" in the genius range, fail to achieve genius as adults.

“For every child prodigy that you know about, at least 50 potential ones have burned out before you even heard about them.”
— Itzhak Perlman (c.1990), Israeli-American violinist

Secondly, the IQ of 160 association with Einstein is a myth. If Einstein outdid Newton, in some sense, then he should have an IQ on par with Newton, whose IQ was calculated at 190 by Lewis Terman, and associates (Cox, 1926), the person who invented the IQ scale. Thus, when someone says "Einstein's IQ was 160", they are using IQ as a Sokal affair style scam.


The following are related quotes:

“Failure to remember that a number has two square roots is among the commonest of all errors made by students. To emphasize the possible consequences of this blunder, let us offer a ‘proof’ that you are as intelligent as Einstein . Let Y equal your IQ, let E equal Einstein's IQ, and let S equal the sum of the two: S = E + Y. Now multiply both sides by E – Y. This gives: SE – SY = E2 – Y2 or Y2 – SY = E2 – SE. ...”
— Carl Denbow (1959), Foundations of Mathematics (pg. 197) [28]

End matter

See also


  1. I.Q. (film) – Wikipedia.
  2. 2.0 2.1 (a) Platt, John R. (1962). “The Coming Generation of Genius: an ‘Explosion’ of 180-IQ boys. And Girls?” (pg. 5), Horizon, 4(4):70-76.
    (b) Platt IQ – Hmolpedia 2020.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Buzan IQ – Hmolpedia 2020.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Anon. (2019). “Misleading: Iranian child’s IQ beats both Hawking and Einstein”, Rappler.com, Jul 4.
  5. Author. (1919). “Revolution in Science: New Theory of the Universe”, London Times, Nov 7.
  6. Castles, Elaine E. (2012). Inventing Intelligence: How America Came to Worship IQ (pg. 2). ABC Clio.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Cox IQ – Hmolpedia 2020.
  8. Keys, Noel. (1933) “The Child of High IQ” (pg. 17), California Journal of Elementary Education, Volume 2.
  9. Author. (1934). “Article” (pg. 15), Newsweek, Volume 4.
  10. Anon. (1945). “Yale Prodigy: Youngest Graduate in College’s History is Merrill Kenneth Wolf who is only 14 and Started to Talk at Four Months” (pgs. 51-54) Life, Nov 12.
  11. Murdock, Dorothy. (c.1998). “Interview: Awake in Our Mythology: the Christ Conspiracy” (YT) (pre-WWII books, 4:12-43); Shadow Walker, Apr 6
  12. Author. (1954). “A Little, Lonely Genius: an 8-year-old boy [Brian van Dale] with an IQ rating of 185 takes 10th grade studies in his stride” (pgs. 99-), Life, 36:9-13.
  13. Berland, Theodore. (1962). “Does Anyone Know What IQ Means?” (pg. 119), Popular Mechanics (pgs. 113-119, 232-36; quote, pg. 119), Oct.
  14. IQ:225+ (subdomain) – Hmolpedia 2020.
  15. Harrington, Joseph. (1966). Blind Spot (pg. 65). Lippincott.
  16. (a) Pena, Mirtle. (2019). “Meet Adhara Perez: the 8-year-oold Mexican Girl that is Smarter than Albert Einstein: the Mexicana has an IQ higher than both Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawking”, Hola.com, Nov 18.
    (b) Castro, Rachel. (2020). “8-year-old Adhara Perez reported to have a higher IQ than Einstein, pursues college-level education” (Ѻ), Rutherford High School’s Newspaper, Jan 30.
  17. Note: female geniuses occur at a rate 3.84% among the top 1,100 geniuses (see: full list [gender column]).
  18. Author. (1959). “Article” (pg. 141), Calcutta Review, University of Calcutta.
  19. Garlick, Dennis. (2010). Intelligence and the Brain: Solving the Mystery of Why People Differ in IQ and How a Child Can Be a Genius (pg. 1). Publisher.
  20. Langan, Chris. (2001). “Interview with Errol Morris” (YT) (7:09-24); Human Chemistry 101, 2010, Oct 19.
  21. Fake IQ – Hmolpedia 2020.
  22. Inflated IQ – Hmolpedia 2020.
  23. 23.0 23.1 Paper IQ – Hmolpedia 2020.
  24. Mani, Joseph. (2019). Nine Luminaries of Science  (pg. #). Notion Press.
  25. Hawking, Stephen. (2006). Stephen Hawking (pg. 26). Twenty-First Century.
  26. McEvoy, Joseph; Zarate, Oscar. (2009). Introducing Stephen Hawking (pg. 87). Icon.
  27. What is Stephen Hawking’s IQ? (2015) – Yahoo Answers.
  28. Denbow, Carl; Goedicke, Victor. (1959). Foundations of Mathematics (pg. 197). Harper.
  29. Feynman’s IQ – Hmolpedia 2020.

External links

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