Most intelligent persons in the world (10 people with highest IQ) 2023

In every era, individuals of exceptional intelligence are born, and while some of them achieve widespread recognition, others lead more private lives. Many of these geniuses make profound contributions that have a lasting impact on the world. The measurement of intelligence, particularly in the context of the smartest individuals globally, is commonly accomplished through the utilisation of IQ (Intelligence Quotient) tests.

The concept of IQ was first introduced by the German psychologist William Stern in 1912. It serves as a quantifiable metric for assessing an individual's intellectual capacity, determined through specialised psychological assessments.

It's important to note that the quantification of intelligence is not static; it evolves over time and can be influenced by an individual's circumstances and condition.

In the Western world, several well-known IQ tests are employed to gauge intelligence. These include the Hans Eysenck questionnaire, the Stanford-Binet test, the Wechsler test, Raven's Progressive Matrices, and various others.

Today, we evaluate the intelligence of contemporary geniuses using numerical IQ scores. Here is a list of the top 10 living individuals with the highest IQ in the world in 2023:

10. Philip Emeagwali

Philip Emeagwali, an engineer and programmer hailing from the African continent, holds the distinction of having the 10th highest IQ globally. His educational journey took an unconventional path as he dropped out of school at the age of 14 during a civil war in his country, which is Africa's wealthiest

He made this sacrifice to support his family, and remarkably, by the age of 17, he had become a fellow at the University of Oregon.

Philip Emeagwali gained recognition for his groundbreaking achievement in 1989 when he invented a supercomputer equipped with an astonishing 65,000 processors. 

This supercomputer played a pivotal role in studying and simulating oil reserves, ultimately aiding in the extraction of this valuable resource. For this extraordinary accomplishment, Philip earned the moniker "Bill Gates of the Black Continent" and received the prestigious Gordon Bell Prize in recognition of his pioneering work in high-performance computing for scientific, engineering, and large-scale data analysis tasks. He is the most intelligent person in Africa.

9. Garry Kasparov

Garry Kasparov, a figure who has been recognized as a foreign agent, hails from a background that spans the USSR, Russia, and Croatia, boasting an impressive IQ of 190. 

Born in Baku in 1963, Kasparov's journey into the world of chess commenced at the tender age of ten, and he swiftly ascended to the grandmaster status in 1980. He holds the distinction of being the ninth most intelligent individual in the world.

In a watershed moment for the chess world, Kasparov achieved a historic feat in 1985 when he triumphed over the renowned Soviet chess player Anatoly Karpov. This victory crowned him as the youngest world chess champion in history at the age of 22, a title he retained until 1993.

From 1989 onward, the grandmaster engaged in a series of chess battles against computers, often culminating in draws. 

He also actively participated in and secured victory in eight World Chess Olympiads during his illustrious career.

However, Kasparov chose to retire from professional chess in 2005 and redirected his energies towards the fields of politics and writing. Currently, he stands as a member of the Human Rights Foundation, an organization committed to the noble cause of safeguarding human rights.

8. Mislav Predavec

In the eighth position amongst the world's smartest people we have Mislav Predavec, hailing from Croatia, with an astonishing IQ of 192. Predavec is a distinguished mathematics professor renowned for his prowess in solving puzzles. 

His intellectual abilities manifested at a remarkably young age, with instances such as reading at the age of three and committing all European capitals to memory at four. 

Yet, in the sphere of everyday affairs, Predavec faces certain challenges, as described by his wife, stemming from his tendency to overlook details. For instance, she often has to handle tasks like topping up his phone account due to his inclination to focus on more profound intellectual pursuits.

In his current pursuits, Predavec manages a small trading company, serves as the founder and president of the global community known as GenerIQ, which unites individuals of exceptional intelligence, and imparts his mathematical wisdom as a university educator.

7. Christopher Michael Langan

Ranked at the seventh position amongst the most intelligent persons in the world, we have Christopher Michael Langan, a native of San Francisco, USA, born in 1952, who possesses an astounding IQ of 195.

Langan's extraordinary intellectual journey began at an incredibly young age, as he started speaking at the mere age of six months, and by three, he was already a proficient reader.

While Christopher initially embarked on the traditional educational path and entered college, he eventually made the conscious choice to drop out. 

His conviction lay in the belief that self-education held the key to significant success in his life.

Langan's life is marked by a diverse array of occupations, which includes stints as a firefighter, farmer, labourer, and even a bouncer. 

His intellectual contributions also extend to the development of a cognitive-theoretic model that explores the intricate relationship between reality and the human mind. This work garnered him recognition and popularity.

Notably, Christopher Michael Langan joined forces with other esteemed geniuses to establish the Mega Foundation, an organization dedicated to supporting and nurturing exceptional talent.

6. Evangelos Katsioulis

Moving on to the sixth position amongst persons with the highest IQ in the world, we encounter Evangelos Katsioulis, hailing from Greece and boasting an IQ of 198. 

Evangelos's upbringing was steeped in a rich literary environment, as his parents were Greek language teachers, surrounding him with books and a strong educational foundation from an early age.

Remarkably, some assessments suggest that Evangelos's intelligence quotient may even exceed 200. He wears multiple hats as a doctor, philosopher, and psychotherapist, backed by scientific degrees in psychopharmacology and medical technology. 

Beyond his academic pursuits, he also actively engages in swimming and painting, showcasing a multifaceted personality.

5. Kim Ung-Yong

Ranked as the fifth most intelligent individual on the planet, we have Kim Ung-Yong, born in one of the the world's wealthiest nations, South Korea, in 1963, with an astonishing IQ of 210. Kim's extraordinary intellectual journey commenced at an incredibly tender age. 

While most children, even the richest kids globally, are just beginning to grasp their native language at two, Kim was already fluent in five languages. Remarkably, he could learn an entirely new language in just a month.

His intellectual prowess extended well beyond languages. At the age of five, Kim was tackling university-level mathematical equations with ease. 

Between the ages of four and seven, he attended university lectures on physics, and by the time he turned seven, he was extended an internship offer at NASA, accompanied by a scholarship.

At the remarkable age of 15, Kim earned a Ph.D. in physics from the University of Colorado. Upon his return to South Korea, he pursued another Ph.D., this time in civil engineering. 

Throughout his illustrious career, Kim has authored and published nearly a hundred works on the subject of hydraulics. 

Since 2007, he has devoted his energies to the role of a lecturer, sharing his exceptional knowledge with eager minds.

4. Christopher Hirata

Occupying the fourth spot on this list is Christopher Hirata, born in Michigan in 1982, who possesses the fourth highest IQ worldwide, an impressive 225. 

Hirata's early accomplishments in the field of physics are nothing short of extraordinary. At the age of 13, he clinched the gold medal at the World Physics Olympiad, making him the youngest American champion in this prestigious discipline.

By 14, Hirata had taken the bold step of enrolling at the California Institute of Technology, and by 16, he had earned his bachelor's degree. 

NASA recognized his exceptional talents and extended an invitation for him to work alongside leading scientists and inventors on visionary projects, such as the colonisation of Mars and the exploration of other celestial bodies.

Continuing his meteoric ascent, Christopher Hirata earned his Ph.D. in astrophysics at the tender age of 22. 

Presently, he assumes the role of a professor, imparting knowledge in the fields of physics and astronomy at Ohio State University. 

Concurrently, his research efforts are directed towards the study of gravitational lenses, their capabilities, and the enigmatic dimension of dark matter.

3. Marilyn vos Savant

Seated at the third spot is Marilyn vos Savant, a renowned American who was featured in the Guinness World Records in 1986 for possessing the world's highest recorded IQ. At the tender age of ten, she underwent testing that yielded an astonishing IQ score of 228. 

While she is crowned as the third most intelligent person on the planet, it's noteworthy that in 1990, the section in the record book that held such measurements of intelligence was controversially removed.

Marilyn vos Savant, born in 1946, is not only an intellectual luminary but also a writer and journalist. She pursued her education in philosophy, honing her intellectual acumen further. 

In her choice of life partner, she continued to surround herself with brilliance, marrying Robert Jarvik, the inventor of the artificial heart, who himself boasts an IQ of 180.

As the preeminent woman in the sphere of intelligence, Marilyn vos Savant graced the pages of Parade magazine with her column, "Ask Marilyn," where she adeptly fielded complex questions presented in the form of puzzles. Additionally, she contributed her financial expertise as the financial director in her husband's corporation.

2. Terence Tao

The second position on this illustrious list of tnnw world's most intelligent persons is occupied by Terence Tao, a prodigious talent hailing from Australia, with an IQ of 230. 

Tao's remarkable journey into the world of prodigies began at a remarkably young age. At just two years old, he was already imparting knowledge in multiplication, division, and English to his five-year-old friend.

His ability to tackle complex mathematical problems emerged at the age of five, and by the age of nine, he was an audited student in a university, specialising in "higher mathematics." Throughout his school years, Terence consistently excelled in mathematics competitions, securing victories at both local and international levels. At the age of ten, he ventured into international maths Olympiads.

The zenith of his early achievements came in 1988 when, at the age of 13, he clinched a gold medal at the International Mathematical Olympiad, becoming its youngest gold medalist in history.

At 14, he embarked on his university journey, and by 20, he had earned his Ph.D. from Princeton. His ascent in the world of academia continued, as he became a professor and a member of the University of California at the age of 24.

As the individual with the second highest IQ in the world, Terence Tao boasts a remarkable bibliography of over two hundred written works, making substantial contributions to the field of mathematics. 

His excellence has been recognized with prestigious awards, including the King Faisal International Prize, the Levi L. Conant Award from the American Mathematical Society, the ISAAC (International Society for Analysis, its Applications, and Computation) Award, among others.

1. Ainan Cawley

Seizing the pinnacle of intellectual brilliance is Ainan Cawley, a resident of Singapore, whose IQ soars to unprecedented heights, possibly even surpassing 250 and reaching a staggering 265, as test results do exhibit some variability. 

Within the domain of intelligence, Ainan Cawley surpasses luminaries such as Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawking, establishing himself as the most intelligent person on the planet today.

Ainan Cawley's exceptional journey began in Singapore in 1999. His remarkable intellect became evident at a young age, as he successfully tackled a comprehensive chemistry test at the tender age of seven and could recite the entire periodic table of elements from memory. 

By the age of eight, Ainan had already advanced to the level of a third-year university student. This intellectual prodigy's capabilities knew no bounds, as he astounded the world at the age of ten by accurately reciting a staggering 518 decimal places of Pi from memory.

One of the fascinating facets of Ainan's remarkable brain is his extraordinary ability to precisely remember the trajectories of moving objects, such as tracking the path of a soccer ball during a dynamic game. 

His intellectual pursuits extend beyond the purview of science, as Ainan has displayed a strong interest in the arts from a very early age. 

He exhibits his creative prowess by composing music and exploring the world of filmmaking, an endeavour that led him to present his inaugural film at the age of 12 during a festival in Vilnius.

Notable mentions

It's worth noting that not all individuals who attain extraordinary intellectual heights, despite having exceptionally high IQs, become widely recognized. Here are a few notable figures in this category:

  • - Bill Gates, USA, with an IQ of 160.
  • - Stephen Hawking, USA, with an IQ ranging from 160 to 170.
  • - Anvita Patil, UK, with an IQ of 162.

In a noteworthy development, an 11-year-old British schoolgirl, Anvita Patil, achieved a remarkable IQ score of 162 in an IQ test, surpassing the scores of both Stephen Hawking and Bill Gates. Anvita undertook the Mensa test, an organisation that caters to individuals with high IQ scores. 

Her giftedness in the scope of mathematics came to the attention of her mother, who holds a Ph.D. in mathematics, when Anvita demonstrated the ability to solve mathematical problems with remarkable speed.

What is IQ: How tests are conducted and what their results mean

The concept of IQ is a measure of intellectual aptitude, with the average IQ score typically falling within the range of 90 to 110 points among most individuals. 

It is generally believed that only around 1% of the global population boasts an IQ score exceeding 140 points, a category often referred to as "geniuses." 

The exceptionally rare group of individuals with an IQ surpassing 190 points is estimated to consist of only one person per billion.

It is important to note that IQ cannot be precisely calculated for historical figures who lived before the advent of standardised IQ tests. 

However, some experts attribute high levels of intelligence to renowned historical figures such as Leonardo da Vinci, scientist Mikhail Lomonosov, inventor Nikola Tesla, chemist Dmitri Mendeleev, physicist Isaac Newton, and philosopher René Descartes. Albert Einstein's IQ is estimated to be around 190 points.

The intelligence of these historical luminaries is primarily gauged through their remarkable contributions and groundbreaking works that have left an indelible mark on human knowledge and progress.