There’s no doubt that Einstein and Edison were super smart, but today, we’ve found a new class of ‘smart’. Because seriously, IQ levels are reaching new heights and needless to say, innovation and creativity is only getting better by the day. In the light of which, wouldn’t it be terrible to miss out on these geniuses who are currently the smartest minds in town?
Here are some you must know about if you don’t already!
1. Stephen Hawking (IQ: 160-170)
Pure genius, this astrophysicist! Despite undergoing depression and motor neuron disease, he managed to reinvent his academic career and today, is famous for his 1988 book, A Brief History of Time, has pioneered several theories on black holes and made plenty of guest appearances in various TV shows like The Simpsons , Futurama and Star Trek: The Next Generation.
2. Edward Witten (IQ: Unknown)
String theory, M-theory, quantum gravity and super-symmetry. Do these words sound familiar to you? Well, this man has contributed plenty to these. As a physicist, he has been described as “the most brilliant physicist of his generation” and “the world’s greatest living theoretical physicist.” He’s also a part of TIME magazine’s 100 most influential people of the world with accolades like the Fields Medal, the Dirac Prize, the Albert Einstein Medal and the Nemmers Prize in Mathematics.
3. Noam Chomsky (IQ: Unknown)
Guess who is the “father of modern linguistics”? He is, of course! A cognitive scientist, philosopher and political observer, his work revolutionized everything from artificial intelligence to music theory. And he has authored over a 100 books. Furthermore, he was voted into world’s Top 100 Public Intellectual in a 2005 poll.
4. Manahel Thabet (IQ: 168)
This Yemeni scientist, economist and consultant is a part of the top 0.1% of highest IQs of the world. She’s also the youngest person and the only Arab to ever attain such distinction. She’s won many awards, including UN’s Humanitarian award. One brilliant woman she is!
5. Judit Polgár (IQ: 170)
Behold the best female chess prayer in history! Polgar was a child prodigy, becoming a grandmaster at the age of 11, and at present, is the only chess player in the World Chess Federation’s Top 100 Players list! Here’s a fun fact: Apparently, Polgar was raised by her father as a project to prove that “geniuses are made, not born.” Well sir, we got your point!
6. Andrew Wiles (IQ: 170)
So this man is an award-winning English Mathematician, best known for proving Fermat’s Last Theorem in 1995, which according to The Guinness Book of World Records is one of the world’s “most difficult mathematical problems”. Wow man, a 358-year-old-theorem solved! Brilliant!
7. Grigori Perelman (IQ: Unknown)
This guy first makes landmark contributions in mathematics and then decides to leave it all together! He baffled everyone with his work, and was even awarded the Fields Medal (which is Nobel in maths), but he declined the award saying, “I’m not interested in money or fame; I don’t want to be on display like an animal in a zoo.” Some swag!
8. John Sununu (IQ: 180)
A member of Mega Society, a society of people with really high IQ, Sununu, a mechanical engineer, after spending years as the dean of engineering for Massachusetts-based Tufts University, he became the Governor of New Hampshire, and then moved on to the White House as the Chief of Staff! Quite a journey, except he had to step down because of alleged power abuse!
9. Ruth Lawrence (IQ: Unknown)
A former child prodigy, this British mathematician made headlines in 1985 after obtaining a bachelor’s degree from Oxford University at 13 years of age! Can you believe it? Currently, she’s an associate professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem ’s Einstein Institute of Mathematics and is working on algebraic topology and knot theory, which is apparently mindbogglingly complicated for any practical usage yet.
10. Magnus Carlsen (IQ: 190)
Meet the reigning World Chess Champion, Carlsen, who’s the youngest player to ever be ranked number one. He was personally coached by chess icon Garry Kasparov until 2010. So far, he’s won 7 chess Oscars and has been regarded as “the genius who’ll only get better.”
11. Saul Kripke (IQ: Unknown)
So hear this. A rabbi’s son, Kripke was invited to teach at Harvard when he was still in high school! You ask why? Well, as a teenager he wrote a series of papers that eventually transformed the study of modal logic! His research and theories include the Kripke-Platek set theory, his causal theory of reference and his “Kripkenstein” theory. He is also an award-winning logician and philosopher who has been ranked the seventh most important philosopher of the past two centuries.
12. Benjamin Netanyahu (IQ: 180)
The first Israeli prime minister born in Israel after the establishment of the state, this guy is clearly a smart chap with an IQ that high! He was listed as number 11 on The World’s 50 Most Influential Figures 2010.
13. Akshay Venkatesh (IQ: Unknown)
This Math prodigy won the bronze medal at the International Mathematical Olympiad when he was just 11! He was born in Australia, but is an Indian by origin and is the youngest person to study in the University of Western Australia! Furthermore, he received his PHD at the age of 20 from Princeton. Clearly a brilliant mathematician!
14. Shahriar Afshar (IQ: Unknown)
This Iranian American Physicist and entrepreneur has notably invented the award-winning “4D” Soundkix mini speaker and is currently ranked the 8th smartest person alive with a number of groundbreaking inventions. Currently, he is a visiting research professor of physics at New Jersey’s Rowan University as well as the president, CTO and CEO of consumer electronics start up Immerz.
15. Steven Pinker (IQ: Unknown)
Say hello to this Canadian visual cognition and psycho-linguistics expert, who is currently a professor at Harvard. And the man has much more to offer. His awards and medals include a Troland Research Award from the National Academy of Sciences and a Royal Institution Henry Dale Prize.
16. Evangelos Katsioulis (IQ: 198)
Does he not look like a bald version of Sheldon Cooper? Well regardless, he is equally brilliant because only 1 in 30 million people match his intelligence level. He is currently a member of 28 IQ societies and has formed the World Intelligence Network IQ society!
17. Donald Knuth (IQ: Unknown)
Here we have the “father” of algorithmic analysis, who is also a renowned computer scientist and mathematician, famous for his multi-volume tome The Art of Computer Programming. Trying saying this in one breath and you’ll know how smart he really is!
18. James Woods (IQ: 180)
I’m sure you’ve spotted this man in several Hollywood flicks such as White House Down and The Virgin Suicides. But did you know that he’s a former MIT graduate in political science? He went there on scholarship after perfecting the pre-SATs with 800 and 799 on the verbal and math portions, respectively. How cool is this man?
19. Mislav Predavec (IQ: 190)
“Very difficult intelligence tests are my favorite hobby.” Well, if that’s his hobby, just imagine his professional skills! He’s also the third smartest person alive, and has initiated several high IQ societies like GenerIQ. Clearly an ace Croatian mathematician!
20. Marilyn Vos Savant (IQ: 186)
Not only has this wonderful lady made it to The Guinness Book of World Records as the person possessing the highest IQ in 1986, but also has column after her name called ” Ask MarilynI ” in the Parade Magazine. Although with a controversial stand on her IQ, according to which she’d earlier scored a whopping 228 but then took the Mega Test to score 186, in 1989 the New York magazine regarded her and her husband Robert Jarvik – who designed the first successful artificial heart were regarded as “the smartest couple in New York.”
21. Paul Allen (IQ: 160-170)
This co-founder of Microsoft who had to resign from his post in 2000 due to Hodgkin’s lymphoma, has to be a genius to start something this awesome! Alongside, he launched the Allen Institute for Brain Science in 2003, founded space transport company Stratolaunch Systems in 2011, and is a renowned philanthropist with donations that exceed $1.5 billion!
22. Garry Kasparov (IQ: 190)
Magnus Carlsen’s guru, ‘legendary’ is probably an understatement to describe this chess player. If you didn’t know, he’s the guy who took on IBM computer Deep Blue for an opponent and won with a score of 4-2. Currently he’s focusing on politics and writing after retiring from chess in 2005.
23. Christopher Langan (IQ: 195-210)
Some say he’s the smartest man alive because he taught himself how to read at the age of 4. Some special kind of genius this man is! What’s even more intriguing is that he dropped out of college and then worked as a doorman to eventually develop his Cognitive-Theoretic Model of the Universe.
24. Richard Rosner (IQ: 190)
You’d be amazed at this guy’s career road as he claims to have been employed as a stripper, doorman, male model and waiter. He has written for several TV shows such as JImmy Kimmel LIve and is famous for his appearance in Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? in 2000. He also has a bit of a competitive streak as despite placing second in the World Genius Directory’s 2013 Genius of the Year Award, behind Greek psychiatrist Evangelos Katsioulis, he took to reading for 20 hours a day, in order to outdo him.
25. Kim Ung-Yong (IQ: 210)
Imagine sustaining an IQ score of over 200 since age 4! He’s a former Guinness World Record holder for highest IQ, and is currently a civil engineer in Korea. But, guess when he started his university education? At the age of 3! And by the time he hit 16, he had received a PHD in Physics from the Colorado State University and was working with NASA! Wow, right?
26. Christopher Hirata (IQ: 225)
Speaking of intellectuals, Hirata was 13 years old when he became the youngest U.S. citizen to receive an International Physics Olympiad gold medal. I couldn’t even make my bed at 13! But this guy started studying at the California Institute of Technology at 14 and was working for NASA, on human accommodations on Mars, at 16! Currently he’s a professor at The Ohio State University with specialties in dark energy, gravitational lensing, the cosmic microwave background, galaxy clustering, and general relativity!
27. Terence Tao (IQ: 230)
This ‘Mozart of Maths’ is probably the smartest dude on the this planet at this particular hour! This Australian child prodigy used to teach 5 year old kids how to spell and add when he was just 2! Imagine that, and by the time he turned 10 he was writing International Maths Olympiads! By the time he was 16, he earned his bachelors and masters and at the age of 20, his P.H.D. Guess who can beat that? No one!