What was Einstein’s IQ?
Einstein’s IQ was very likely 145 or more. He studied a PhD in physics and made impressive breakthroughs in his field. We know people who graduate from physics have IQs that are higher than average, and that holds even more true for PhDs in physics. Based on these facts, his amazing achievements, and what we know about the way he thought and approached problems, we think Einstein’s IQ is most likely 145 or more.
Einstein is synonymous with intelligence. If someone called you an Einstein, he probably meant you are smart, very smart. His contributions to science and human knowledge revolutionized the way we conceive space, time, and gravity. We know without doubt Einstein was a very smart person but… how much? What was Einstein’s IQ?
Did Einstein ever take an IQ test?
No one knows if Einstein ever sat to take an IQ test, there is no known record of it. Indeed, at that time IQ testing was still in its infancy. The first IQ tests were still being developed, and nowadays we know the testing methods used then were not accurate nor reliable anyway.
So, why is the internet full of articles claiming they know Einstein’s IQ? Most of them even stating it was 160.
They probably derived such conclusions based on external intellectual manifestations and achievements. Given the intellectual complexity of what he did and accomplished, there is no doubt he was very smart.
How true is that Einstein’s IQ was 160 then?
It is somewhat true. Apparently, there are ways to make broad estimates of intelligence without the necessity of administering an IQ test, by looking at that person’s behavior and achievements, as we previously said.
For instance, if a person went to university to pursue a difficult degree (and succeeded), we can assert that his IQ is for sure higher than 90, indeed, it is also very likely higher than 100 or even than 110.
Along these lines, the way someone reasons is also a good sign of intelligence – or of the lack thereof.
Indeed, Einstein donated his brain to science, so not only do we know about his achievements, ways of reasoning, and personality, but we also literally know how his brain is wired inside.
Researchers discovered Einstein’s brain areas related to spatial intelligence were highly developed. Einstein himself said many times he tended to imagine and visualize physical phenomena and physics experiments in his mind. Many scientists studying the field of IQ agree Einstein’s brain suggests he was smart, especially when it comes to spatial intelligence.
We also know he studied physics (at the end of the day, he came up with a breakthrough in how gravity works), and he finished a Ph.D. in that same field. People who study physics or mathematics are at least in the 115-130 range, according to the prestigious professor of psycology Jordan Peterson.
Indeed, according to Peterson, if you want to be the best in any intellectual field having an IQ of at least 145 is a necessity.
Based on all these facts, we can be almost completely sure that Einstein’s IQ was higher than 130, and given his repeated achievements, it is very likely it was at least 145 or more.
Was Einstein the smartest person ever?
Even though Einstein was a science prodigy, he is definitely not the smartest person in the world. Einstein’s IQ is not the highest recorded nor the highest known of either. There are many known past and present documented records of people who were and are probably smarter than Einstein.
One of them is Marilyn Vos Savant, who is thought to be one of the smartest persons ever and who was listed as having the highest recorded intelligence quotient in the Guinness Book of Records. She also became quite popular and famous because of her IQ.
Jacob Barnet, a present prodigy, finished grades six through twelve in less than a year, then started college at age ten. He pursued a degree in physics, from which he graduated at 13.
Of course, there are also many people with equally high IQs and with the potential to make such accomplishments but that have not jumped to fame; that are not known to the general public.
In addition, from a statistical perspective, it is quite likely and unavoidable that there are and will appear people with IQs higher than Einstein’s.
IQ is normally distributed. We know the likelihood / the frequency of each IQ score/point. All of them have an assigned probability, which means that all of them will occur at a certain point.
For instance, let’s say Einstein’s IQ was 190. An IQ of 200 has a probability of occurring of around a 0.0000000013%. That is like 1 in a hundred million.
The world’s population is currently around 7 billion. This means that statistically speaking, there should be 70 people on earth with such a high IQ, who would be smarter than Einstein.
It does not matter what Einstein’s IQ was, all IQ scores are possible from a statistical perspective, at some point, someone with, say 10 more IQ points than Einstein, will appear. It is just the law of big numbers in action.
To finish this section, we must also add to our argumentation the Flynn effect. Everyone is getting smarter and smarter generation after generation, which means that the geniuses that are being diagnosed through IQ testing today have a higher intelligence than the geniuses that were being diagnosed fifty years ago.
Muhammad Ovais is Ph.D. from Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), National Center for Nanoscience and Technology of China. His research interests are in Neurodegenerative diseases, Nanomedicines and Biomaterials. He is the recipient of over 30 international awards including, 2019 Outstanding International Researcher by the Ministry of Education, China and 2019 Premium Award for Best Research Paper by IET-Institution of Engineering and Technology, UK. He owns to his credit over 60 scientific articles including research studies, reviews, editorials and book chapters in peer-reviewed journals/publishers such as, Advanced Materials-Wiley, NanoToday-Elsevier, Nanomedicine-Future Medicine, with h-index of 30. He is the co-founder of Synthon Nanotech, a Netherlands based Startup Company developing peptides and also working as a Tech Ethicist for a US based company GenoEmote; that is developing novel Brain-Computer Interface technologies.