Top 10 Smartest People in the World
Written by: Catalogs.com Editorial Staff
March 7, 2012
Filed Under Celebrities
Contributed by Paul Seaburn, Catalogs.com Top 10 Guru
There are no dumb questions – only dumb people asking questions like “Who are the smartest people in the world?”
If you have to ask, you’re not on the list, wise guy. Mensa is the club for people who score 98th percentile or higher on an IQ test, but to be on the top of the list requires a score that makes the computer checking the exams go “Hmmm.”
Let’s take a look at what it takes to be called one of the top ten smartest people in the world.
10. Terence Tao – All Because of Sesame Street
In addition to an IQ between 220 and 230, Terrence Tao scored a 760 on the SAT math test at age 8, achieved a Ph.D. His proof that there exists arbitrarily long arithmetic progressions of prime numbers is called the Green–Tao theorem. Tao showed his smartness early – he says he learned math and reading at age 2 by watching Sesame Street.
9. Kim Ung-Yong – Young Calculator
The Guinness Book of World Records lists the 210 score of Korean genius Kim Ung-Yong as the “Highest IQ.” Talk about starting early – he began talking at 2 months and was able to read Korean, Japanese, German, and English by his second birthday. At 4, Kim studied college physics and solved complicated differential and integral calculus problems on Japanese television. He has a doctorate in civil engineering and has published 90 papers on hydraulics.
8. Christopher Langan – Brainy and Beefy
With an IQ of 195, some call Christopher Langan the smartest man in America. When school couldn’t keep up with him, Langan taught himself advanced physics, math, philosophy, Greek and Latin while lifting weights to fight off an abusive stepfather. He preferred doing manual labor by day and heavy thinking at night and was profiled in Esquire magazine in 1999 as a genius bouncer.
7. Marilyn vos Savant – Brainy and Beautiful
Marilyn vos Savant’s score of 190 was recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records in 1985 as the highest ever, but she’s scored as high as 228 on some tests. Her weekly column “Ask Marilyn” in Parade magazine leaders the rest of us test our knowledge against her – and usually fail. She’s married to Robert Jarvik, one of the developers of the Jarvik-7 artificial heart.
6. Philip Emeagwali – Smart About Oil
Nigerian-born Philip Emeagwali dropped out of school at 13 because of the Nigerian-Biafran war, but later became an engineer and computer scientist/geologist and winner of the 1989 Gordon Bell Prize for using a supercomputer to help analyze petroleum fields. His IQ is 190.
5. Garry Kasparov – Smarter Than The Average Computer
Former world chess champion Garry Kasparov has a 190 IQ to go with his reputation as the greatest chess player of all time. An accomplished chess writer and political activist, he defeated IBM’s chess-playing computer Deep Thought in 1989, but lost to Deep Blue in 1997.
4. John Sununu – Politically Correct
Proving that some politicians are as smart as they think they are, former Governor of New Hampshire and former White House Chief of Staff (under President George H. W. Bush) John Sununu has a 180 IQ. Sununu has bachelor’s, Master’s and Ph.D. degrees from MIT in mechanical engineering and taught the subject at Tufts University before entering politics.
3. James Woods – Acts Smart
Emmy-winning and Oscar-nominated actor James Woods is smart in selecting the roles he plays because he’s just plain smart. With an IQ of 180, Woods won a scholarship to study political science at MIT, but dropped out to pursue acting.
2. Judit Polgar – Check Her IQ
Chess masters often excel only in chess, but Hungarian grandmaster Judit Polgar has an IQ of 170 to go with victories over nine current or former world champions – all male. Home-schooled by her father with her two sisters, Judit speaks over four languages and has several college degrees. She is considered to be the best female chess player of all time.
1. Stephen Hawking – Thinks fast, moves slow
Although he didn’t learn how to read until he was eight, British theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking boasts a 160 IQ, a best-selling science book “A Brief History of Time,” numerous contributions in the fields of cosmology and quantum gravity and the prediction that black holes emit radiation, which is now called Hawking radiation. All that while afflicted with a neuro-muscular dystrophy that has left him almost completely paralyzed.
And we’ll add one more because we are so awed by this brilliance we can’t stop with ten:
Paul Allen – Smarter Than The Guy With Funny Hair
With a perfect score on the SAT and an IQ of 160, Paul Allen is smarter than the guy he co-founded Microsoft with, Bill Gates. A self-taught computer programmer, Allen dropped out of Washington University, convinced his friend Gates to drop out of Harvard and start Microsoft, and today is worth $13 billion and owns the Seattle Seahawks of the NFL and the Portland Trail Blazers of the NBA.