Image depicting two high IQ people: Albert Einstein on the left and Rowan Atkinson on the right

It’s difficult to talk about the world’s brightest minds without mentioning Albert Einstein or Stephen Hawking. But did these two acclaimed scientists really have the highest IQs ever recorded in history? With scores north of 160, both physicists were far above the average…but there are a few people with even higher IQs.

Interestingly, high IQ scores are not exclusive to scientists or university graduates. In fact, IQ distribution clearly shows that some of the most highly gifted people aren’t found in the lecture halls of Ivy League universities but rather in the fine arts and even in Hollywood!

If you want to find out whether your intelligence measures above the average, then take our online test to get your accurate IQ score!

Whose IQ is higher than Einstein’s?

If you’re researching the highest IQ in the world, you’ll soon come across US American columnist and author, Marilyn vos Savant. She attracted particular attention with her column, “Ask Marilyn“, where she offered a unique solution to the so-called ‘Monty Hall problem‘ in 1990. In the early nineties, the Guinness Book of World Records listed her as the most intelligent person in the world. Depending on which measurement you look at, her IQ is somewhere between 196 and 224!

Leonardo da Vinci, Sir Francis Galton and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe are among other historical geniuses who have been ascribed IQs of over 200. These scores are mere guesswork however, derived from modern testing methods. Only the IQ scores of living people who have actually taken a standardised IQ test can be proven with certainty.

In this context, the same names keep cropping up: Australian-American mathematician Terence Tao (230), NASA physicist Christopher Hirata (225), and engineer Kim Ung Yong (210). On common IQ tables, they are far ahead of Albert Einstein (160).

IQ distribution among artists – the Geniuses of Hollywood

With an IQ of 130 and above, you're considered highly gifted - something that only 2.2% of the world’s population can claim for themselves. Many celebrities that are otherwise associated with film or stage achieve above-average scores in classical intelligence tests. While actor Rowan Atkinson shines on the silver screen in his signature role as Mr Bean, he steals the show in real life with an IQ of 178!

Actresses Natalie Portman (140) and Mayim Bialik (148) of Big Bang Theory fame are also considered highly gifted. Interestingly, both women have one thing in common: a science degree! Alongside her acting career, Portman completed a Harvard degree in psychology. Bialik has a doctorate in neuroscience and works as a publicist.

But it’s not only actors and musicians with scientific training who score in the top third of the IQ scale. Some classic school dropouts also achieve comparatively high results—to pursue her career plans, Shakira (140) dropped out of school, as did director Quentin Tarantino (160) and actor Sylvester Stallone (160).

Many people, whom at first glance you may not expect it from, actually have a high IQ. Education and professional choices seem to say little about a person’s mental capabilities—the following table provides a good overview:

ArtistIQ scoreProfessionArea of education
Rowan Atkinson178ActorElectrical engineering
Matt Damon160ActorEnglish studies
Ashton Kutcher160ActorBiochemistry
Quentin Tarantino160DirectorDROPOUT
Sylvester Stallone160ActorDROPOUT
Alicia Keys154MusicianDROPOUT
Lisa Kudrow154ActorBiology
Cindy Crawford154ModelChemical engineering
Sharon Stone154ActorDROPOUT
Mayim Bialik148ActorNeuroscience
Meryl Streep143ActorDramatic arts
Claire Danes140ActorDROPOUT
Natalie Portman140ActorPsychology
Emma Watson138ActorLiterature
Arnold Schwarzenegger135ActorBusiness economics
Kate Beckinsale132ActorLiterature
Jodie Foster132ActorLiterature
James Franco130ActorCreative writing

You can find out which celebrity IQ you match in this fun and free Celebrity IQ Test!

Why creativity makes us more intelligent

Globally, the average IQ is between 85 and 115. All intelligence quotients north of that value are considered above average in tables of conventional tests, and highly gifted from a score of 130. Classical methods such as the Stanford-Binet test are used for measurement. They evaluate logical-mathematical thinking as well as spatial recognition, but also visual perception and verbal intelligence.

So how come stars like Shakira or Meryl Streep have an above-average IQ? The answer lies in creativity and the ability to think in abstract terms. The different kinds of intelligence also include musicality, memory, body awareness, and, last but not least, a person’s emotional intelligence or EQ. An intelligence test cannot measure these merits in concrete terms, but they nevertheless influence our IQ levels.

IQ tests are primarily about solving a question. Logic, however, is but one way of getting a correct result. If you approach a mathematical problem abstractly and creatively, you can solve it correctly even without being mathematically gifted. In IQ tests, you often have to complete number sequences. A pronounced musicality or artistic talent can be of help: you might find the correct number without calculating but by recognizing a ‘numerical rhythm’.

Discover if your intelligence beats the average by taking our online IQ test today!