Top 10 Child Geniuses

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The term ‘genius’ can encompass a number of things. For every person who has their own personal triangle, there is a comedian who made a national catchphrase out of “And away we go.” We throw around the word ‘genius’ for everything from inventing the light bulb, an IQ over 200, to even the subtle complexities of the ‘Tampa 2 Defense.’ Top Tenz is here to answer the tough questions. Today, we are here to rank the top ten childhood geniuses and then duck while reading the comments section.

10. Elise Tan Roberts

Childhood Accomplishment: Accepted in to MENSA at 2 years and 4 months.

IQ: 156

In April of 2009, North London resident Elise Tan Roberts (born 2007) became the youngest ever member of MENSA at 2 years and 4 months old. Elise enjoys counting in Spanish. According to her parents, Elise’s favorite game is reciting world capitals. Elise’s parents want to keep her ‘grounded.’ We are assuming ‘grounded’ would mean not becoming an interplanetary super villain.

9. Heidi Hankins

Childhood Accomplishment: Accepted into MENSA at 4 years old.

IQ: 159

In 2012, 4 year old Heidi Hankins (born 2008) was also invited into MENSA. Heidi lives in Winchester, England. Between Hankins and Roberts, we are not entirely sure what England is doing to engineer child geniuses. It is entirely possible that one days these children may figure out a way to make English cuisine taste good. Hankins is looking forward to entering school. This is not a guarantee of good grades given that she is one point behind Albert Einstein. Einstein’s elementary academic record was legendarily not stellar.

 8. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Wolfgang-Mozart-geniuses

Childhood Accomplishments: Composed music from the age of 5. Performed before European Royalty. By 17, Mozart was the court musician at Salzburg.

IQ: 165 ( estimated )

Long before Falco recorded Rock Me Amadeus or there was an unfounded speculation about his possible murder, there was Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (January 27th, 1756 – December 5th, 1791). When Mozart was six years old, he performed at the court of Maximilian III in Bavaria. Before most kids today will lose their hearing to loud music, Mozart composed operas, concertos, and symphonies. Before people today would get their driver’s license, Mozart had performed as well as composed for every major principality and throne on the continent of Europe. You might as well just start memorizing Transformers episodes now. Chances are you will never accomplish in a lifetime a fraction of what Mozart did before he was 18. Take some consolation, there is still the fact that you get to enjoy SpongeBob Squarepants.

7. Theodore “Ted” Kaczynski

Image result for Theodore “Ted” Kaczynski

Childhood Accomplishment: Mathematical Genius. Accepted into Harvard University at 16

IQ Score: 167

In the movie Good Will Hunting, a reference is made to Ted Kaczynski’s (born 1942) mathematical genius. Kaczynski skipped grades and attended Harvard University at age 16. He graduated when he was 20. By 26, Kaczynski was a professor at the prestigious University of California at Berkley. Of course, Kaczynski’s name now rings a bell for nothing to do with mathematics at all. Kaczynski will be forever known as the maker of improvised explosive devices known as The Unabomber. As the Unabomber, Kaczynski terrified people with not only his bombings but also his Manifesto. The fact that he was one of the finest theoretical mathematicians of his generation is either a footnote or a cautionary tale. Kaczynski will spend the rest of his life in federal prison.

6. Judit Polgar

judit-polgar-geniuses

Childhood Accomplishment: One of the Top 100 Chess Players in the World (male or female) at age 13.

IQ score: 170

If Bobby Fisher had not been insane (and had been female), he would have probably been a lot like Judit Polgar. Polgar beat her first Grandmaster in Chess at the tender age of 10. Her family did not believe in Polgar competing in what was seen as the ‘weaker’ women’s chess championships. As a child, Polgar would beat family and friends by not even looking at the board. Today, Polgar is the only woman to have ever won a game from a reigning number one player in the world in Chess. She has beaten 9 former world champions and has been ranked as high as 8th in the world in chess. In short, Polgar is the strongest female player of all time, and you don’t stand a chance against her. She could beat you while watching CSI: Miami with her sister moving pieces on a board she has never seen.

5. Blaise Pascal

blaise-pascal-geniuses

Childhood Accomplishments: Developed Pascal’s Theorem at the age of 16

IQ: 195 (estimated)

Blaise Pascal (June 19th, 1623 – August 19th, 1662) wrote his ‘Essay on Conics’ when he was 16. Because of this work, we still refer to a hexagon as having a “Pascal Line.” Pascal had an understanding of mathematics that was not only ahead of his time, but mathematicians are still working to catch up to it. Unfortunately, after 18, Pascal would be plagued by poor health. Pascal died when he was only 39 years of age. Pascal not only gave us answers to problems of his day, but also presented questions which excite mathematical minds today and will for generations to come.

4. Kim Ung-Yong

Childhood Accomplishment: Listed in Guinness Book of World Records as Highest IQ

IQ: 210

As a child Korean born Kim Ung-Yong (born 1963) was listed as having the “Highest IQ” by the Guinness Book of World Records. Ung-Yong was also able to solve complicated equations on Japanese television. We are not entirely sure if this was a TV show that would cut off a finger for a wrong answer. Ung-Yong received his Ph.D in Physics from Colorado State University at the age of 15. Eventually, Ung-Yong would work for NASA. Today, he resides in his native South Korea as a civil engineer. Ung-Yong has published nearly a hundred academic papers on hydraulics. After an exhaustive search, there is no firm information on where he stands in the Kirk/Picard debate.

3. Terrence Tao

Childhood Accomplishment: At age 8, scored 760 on the math portion of the SATs. Youngest ever competitor in the International Math Olympiad

IQ: 211

If Sheldon Cooper were real, he would probably be a lot like Terrence Tao. Born in 1975, Tao had a command of basic arithmetic as well as English by the age of 2. By 5, Tao was doing complex mathematics. Tao was a full competitor in the International Mathematics Olympiad at the age of 12. By 24, Tao was a full professor at UCLA. The Fields Medal they talk about so lovingly in Good Will Hunting? Tao took that little bauble home in 2006 at the age of 32. All Tao needs now is a quirky roommate, a waitress next door from Nebraska and a love of Star Trek: The Next Generation.

2. William James Sidis

william james-sidis-geniuses

Childhood Accomplishments: Entered Harvard at age 11, possessed one of the highest ever recorded IQ’s.

IQ: 275

William James Sidis was born on April 1st, 1898. Sidis’ birth date is presumably to remind the rest of humanity what ‘fools’ these mere mortals be. In his relatively short 46 years, Sidis was often a source of brilliance as well as consternation. It is rumored that Sidis’ IQ tested between 250-300 (well over any definition of the word genius). Sidis was often considered a waste during his lifetime. Sidis withdrew from the academic world at a young age. James Thurber wrote a scathing critique of Sidis’ less than prodigious use of his talents in the New Yorker magazine. Sidis responded with a lawsuit. After Sidis’ death, his papers discovered that Sidis preferred to follow a Native American principle of making contributions in secret. Sidis had written several academic papers under pseudonyms and private speculated over the existences of such things as black holes. Sidis only wanted his contribution ‘discovered’ after his death.

1. Gregory Smith

Image result for gregory smith nobel prize nominee

Childhood Accomplishments: Essentially tested off the IQ charts, twice nominated for the Noble Peace Prize before the age of 16.

IQ: 200+

Gregory R. Smith (born 1990) was reportedly memorizing books before he was 2 years old. Fortunately, Smith was more interested in World Peace than taking the Stewart Gilligan Griffin route to take over the world. Smith almost did anyway. Smith was a motivational speaker before most kids enter high school. When Smith received his driver’s license, he also graduated from the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. Smith was an advocate of children’s rights which brought him to the attention of the Nobel committee, twice. As a young boy, Smith appeared on dozens of talk as well as news shows including Oprah and 60 Minutes.


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19 Comments

  1. Missing so many. But on this list, Sidis is definitely #1. When he was 11, he lectured at Harvard on 4th Dimensional bodies, and almost nobody knew what the hell he was talking about.

  2. memorizing and reciting state capitals? Not really impressive, even for a 4 year old. Guys like Pascal and Mozart? THOSE guys are geniuses. Nothing against the chess player mind you. But children performing feats of memorization shouldn’t earn them a place on the list.

    • In my experience, doing feats like memorizing state capitals is exactly the kind of “genius” quality Mensa Club is going for. It’s a club for people who are proud to have a high IQ but not so many ideas what they should do with it apart from their work.

      • I get what you’re saying, but in my experience;
        I had a science teacher in high school who claimed to have an eidetic memory. He said that, as a child, he could look at any written page in any language for a few seconds and then rewrite the page completely from memory. He admitted to having no idea what the page said if it was in a language he didn’t know. He also claimed the worst part of having such a memory was that he had a hard time understanding things because his brain just memorized and never really absorbed or processed information. He claimed to have eventually trained himself to not memorize anything and began learning. So, this whole child memorizing thing and MENSA membership still isn’t very impressive.

  3. the list writer (though well intentioned) misses a lot of very important points. First off, 4 year olds who have an IQ of 130+ are not all that uncommon, because of a flaw in the way IQ is calculated in the first place. Your chronological age compared to your intellectual age? All that means is the child is far more advanced for his or her age than normal. It doesn’t always translate to genius later on however. Iq itself is widely discredited as a wildly inaccurate indicator of intelligence in the first place as it has so many cultural and societal biases that it’s often more of a test on how familiar you are with such tests. And lastly, the list is heavily based on proficiency in maths. While that’s impressive, there are many other disciplines where true genius can manifest itself – art, literature, so many others. A good list overall but misguided.

    • Well said. Most IQ tests are crap. Also, I met a Physicist, who was like a human computer with numbers…but that was it. His IQ was rated at 190, but, if numbers weren’t in the discussion, he was just another “Joe.”

  4. There is this interresting show called Dark Matters on the science channel where it talks about a psychological experiment that Timothy Mcveigh was a test subject in when he went to harvard. I can’t remember all the details but it was found by the researchers that Mcveigh had an unusually normal sense of morality and right and wrong. Like, weirdly middle of the road kind of stuff. The last part of the experiment involved participants writing an essay about what they thought about the state of the world now, and where it would be in the future would be like. They had a researcher purposefully challenege all of the beliefs that Mcveigh (and other participants involved) had written down in an agressive style. Now, the files to this experiment have been permanently sealed (so we’ll never know for sure about what happened exactly during this last part) but apparently this had a HUGE impact on the psyche of Mcveigh. If you have any interest on the subject I suggest you try to find this on the web and watch it. VERY VERY INTERESTING.

    • I saw that episode of Dark Matters too but can’t seem to find it to watch it again. Do you happen to remember which episode it was?

  5. If you’re putting Judith Polgar, where is Magnus Carlsen? He tied with Gary Kasparov, the then world no.1, when he was 12, and a few years later he was the world no.1

  6. Arfa Karim From Pakistan, She Completed the MCP ( Microsoft Certified Professional) In the age of 9.
    What about her, just wondering how much IQ she had ?

  7. What about SIr ISaac Newton. Arguably the greatest mathematician ever. Laws of physics, integration, come on.

    least we also forget Leonardo Da vinci. Solving maths is different from creating it

  8. Well, I agree. That’s pretty similar to my experiences. MENSA doesn’t want geniuses, it wants mind acrobats that can do neat tricks.

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