The Massive List of Genius – People With the Highest IQ

John P.

The other day I sat down to watch The Princess Bride for about the 10,000th time. Man that is a great movie! Anyway, when I was watching the part where Vizzini, the Sicilian, was answering the question as to how smart he is, he said: “Let me put it this way. Have you ever heard of Plato, Aristotle, Socrates? Morons.”

So, I decided to mosey on over to the Interwebs and find a list of people with the highest IQ ever measured, and lo and behold I couldn’t find one! So for the sake of future searchers, I compiled the following information. Enjoy.

Background Info

In order to establish a baseline knowledge, IQ (intelligence quotient) is a score derived from attempting to measure the actual mental horsepower of any given individual. Personally I place little value in IQ tests, but I do acknowledge that they are an indicator of some common potential success factors, so we’ll leave it at that.

The “average” IQ is by definition 100, so if you score below that you are dumber than average, and above it means smarter than average.

Commonly acknowledged IQ Score Ranking System:


IQ Score Traditional Ranking System
140 + (~.25%) Genius or near genius
130 – 139 Gifted
120 – 129 Very Superior Intelligence
110 – 119 Superior Intelligence
90 – 109 Average/Normal
80 – 89 Dullness
70 – 79 Borderline deficiency
50 – 70 Mild mental retardation
35-50 Moderate mental retardation
20 – 35 Severe mental retardation
< 20 Profound mental retardation (1%)
IQ BellcurveThe distribution of IQ scores is as follows:

  • 50% of IQ scores fall between 90 and 110
  • 70% of IQ scores fall between 85 and 115
  • 95% of IQ scores fall between 70 and 130
  • 99.5% of IQ scores fall between 60 and 140
  • A score of 132 equals the top 2%
  • A score of 134 equals the top 1%
  • A score of 68 equals the bottom 2%
  • A score of 66 equals the bottom 1%

I’d like to stop for a second and inject a little philosophy before we go on. I have absolutely no respect whatsoever for intelligence. I only respect people for their actions. So no one should envy or emulate people on the list that follow because some of them are miserable human beings (like this narcissistic guy). Take Bobby Fischer as an example. He’s the biggest A-hole on the list, and I’d like to kick his teeth in for his comments about Jews and America.

The Highest IQs On Record

People Still Alive

From the Past

In 1926, psychologist Dr. Catherine Morris Cox – who had been assisted by Dr. Lewis M. Terman, Dr. Florence L. Goodenaugh, and Dr. Kate Gordon – published a study “of the most eminent men and women” who had lived between 1450 and 1850 to estimate what their IQs might have been. Data from that study as well as other sources around the net were compiled to form the following list. Please drop me a comment if you have additions or corrections (make sure and cite sources).

Also, see Wikipedia’s list of Universal Genius (Polymaths).


Now that you’ve read all about these really smart people, surely you want to know how you compare? Well, set aside a full 40 minutes and go through this test to determine where you are on the evolutionary chain.

Select the image below and the clock starts when the test loads, so be prepared in order to get the full 40 minutes. Trust me, you’re gonna need it! Oh, and if you answer “A” on every question, you get a 72! (a=72, b=65, c=65, d=65, e=72, f=72, g= 65, and h=65 – Only The Man would help you cheat on an IQ test!)

IQ Test
EDIT: I received the following e-mail from Mike, a former school psychologist of 30 years, regarding the validity of this IQ Test

…one of the better and possibly fairly accurate IQ tests (11/8/07) seen on the net. Two caveats: 1. This test evaluates visual spatial reasoning skills, and not verbal which some may say would be a bias toward guys. 2. This test does not assess processing speed and ability to make quick/accurate and perhaps more c creative choices.

For different view of intelligence away from IQ try: Theory of Multiple Intelligences

If it turns out you are a Genius, join a club! Here’s how to hook up with your intellectual peers:

By the way, why is it that most of the high IQ society Web sites suck so bad? And if I may inquire additionally, why is it that none of them have sections on their sites where they are actually teaching people by translating highly complex issues into understandable language?

Now, for the rest of us (I score just above a moderately intelligent canine, but just below a porpoise), you can just join the One Man’s Blog Society for the Incredibly Average. Believe me, we have a lot more fun around here.


  1. rhys says

    i got 105 on the iq test but it didn’t take my age and was wondering what age it is based on because i am 15 and would like to know my actual score

  2. Rowan Keefer says

    You most likely start seeing patterns in the test itself, or on any IQ test that you take, but I actually doubt that you will start seeing the same patterns in newer and more complex situations.

  3. SULEICA says


  4. says

    i took this test and my iq turned out to be 133,but the 3 different standards they had was kinda confusin…imean why can’t they js keep one??

  5. Chris says

    I think its intresting that my IQ according to these tests is actually rising everytime i take one, which leads me to beleive that practise can raise your measured IQ by a fair amount.

    If you’ve done a couple of these you start to see patterns and learn how to look for patterns. I should sit down some day without a clock ticking and really figre out the ones im usually uncerain about and learn how they work. Im sure i can imporve more.

  6. Hossein Fariborzi says

    Is it so? I cannot believe that I answered all the questions correctly!! So, I can be assumed a genius, even though I have always considered myself just “above average”…
    I have to take the test again and show a snapshot of the result to my supervisor!

  7. says

    I stand corrected on the minor point of the normalization (powers of 2 rather than 10) of the curve, but I think my overall point still holds, that in the section that has low area, not many assertions are provable. My original comment was made late at night, just before retiring, of course, upon reflection, it couldn’t be as I stated it, I wasn’t even considering those who are of below average intelligence. My youngest son is pursuing a masters degree in statistics, and, because I am lazy, I have lately left the finer points of the interpretation of these things to him, so my abilities here have atrophied, unless I ‘boot-up’ this faculty. Intelligence varies in the individual over the course of the day. Hypoglycemia causes intelligence to tank. Emotional stresses can cause precipitant drops in brain glucose. Several parameters of intelligence have been identified: Some are: small motor, gross motor, spatial, logical, verbal, inferential, mathematical, short-term recall, long-term recall. Sociopaths have typically high intellect in the context of disputation, but, typically low ability to analogize. People who come from abuse backgrounds can misapply their intellect to fashion excuses for their abusers, thusly subjecting themselves to greater harm. Attention span seems to be another related parameter.
    All I meant to say is that, at the extremena of the curve, there would be such sensitivity as to whether the subject was ‘having a good day’ that little could be sussed. Another question is: Why have some who are accorded relatively lower IQs committed masterworks, while some who rank higher are known for their big organs alone?

    • Redneck Joe says

      MINOR POINT on the normalization?
      Your original method would have placed a 140 IQ at 1 in 10,000 people. It is actually about 1 in 260. That is not a minor point.

  8. says

    Above end means you scored off the scale. To put it another way, you answered every single question correctly. Good for you! Unfortunately, you just failed the score page.

  9. Anonymus says

    I think IQ tests are biased by their very nature, as they are based on simplified models about human intelligence. A lot of essential data are left out of the equasion. How do you test intuition, or the talent to improvise, for instance?

    Are we testing “uomo universalis”? No, we want to find persons who have skills, that might be usefull in a certain setting.

    Furthermore, on average, I’m not impressed by the skills of professionals in the field of IQ testing. A lot of underachievers in that field, I’m afraid…

  10. Bob Crovo says

    how were the estimated IQs of folks from the past arrived at? I’d really be interested in applying the algorithm to someone like Thomas Paine. Couldn’t find anything online about his IQ.

  11. Robt says

    Don — Take a look at the graph at the top of his post. It shows that 50% of the population falls between 90 and 110. So a 110 IQ is at the 75th percentile (that is, 25% of the population have an IQ of 110 or higher), not the 90th.

  12. Jessica says

    I usually score higher on other IQ tests. Mostly in the 120 range. I got 112 on this one. That is still considered as “Superior Intelligence”. I like that title. Much better than average.

  13. Doug says

    Philip Emeagwali is more of a myth than genius. There are too many lies spread about him. Luckily the wikipedia updaters keep the links to the sites pointing out the inaccuracies about him, including the fact that there are no apparent actual patents under his name, though it is claimed he has 30+.

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