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What are the highest IQs in the world, now and in the past?

At 10 years old, Terence Tao had already partcipated in the International Mathematical Olympiad! Credits: Wikipedia

Humanity has always known genius, and they exist nowadays as well as throughout history. From Michaelangelo to Terence Tao, including Einstein and Newton, these amazing minds with outstanding IQs have excelled in their respective domains. 

Nowadays, the person with the highest recorded IQ in the world is the eminent Australian mathematician, Terence Tao, who is originally from Hong Kong. With an IQ of 230, he obtained his doctorate when he was only 20 years old, and has been a professor in the University of California in Los Angeles since he was 21. He is closely followed by cosmologist and astrophysicist Christopher Hirata, with an IQ of 225, and by the South Korean prodigy Kim Ung-Yong, who with an IQ of 220 could read Korean, English, German and Japanese from the age of 4.

And what about historical figures? In 2014, psychologists Dean Keith Simonton and Anna Song carried out an analysis allowing them to establish a classification system based on estimated IQ. This work replaced that of Catherine Cox in 1926, which had reviewed the writings, the biographies and letters of over 300 famous people in the arts and sciences.

The best known figures are Mozart (IQ 150), Albert Einstein (IQ 160), Michaelangelo (160), Jean-Jacques Rousseau (IQ 150), Isaac Newton (IQ 190) and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (IQ 190). We can also cite among their number the 17th century French mathematician Blaise Pascal (IQ 190) as well as Voltaire (IQ 190), who are all considered geniuses, as the requirement for obtaining this title is to have an IQ of at least 140.

This threshold score of 140 has also been awarded to Charles Darwin, the Flemish painter Pierre Paul Rubens, Molière and Ludwig van Beethoven. Surprisingly, certain illustrious characters are not considered to have made the cut! This is the case for Nicolas Copernicus (IQ 130), Rembrandt (IQ 130) or Cervantes, the author of Don Quixote ( IQ 130).

However, if a highly elevated IQ qualifies you to be called a genius, this does not ensure a life filled with creativity and advancing humanity, as is proved by analysing the IQs of American serial killers Ted Bundy and Edmund Kemper, both of which apparently have IQs of 140!

Sources : Sciences & VieSympaticoSciences et Avenir