There are many different types of intelligence, but an IQ test is one way to put a number on intellectual aptitude. Some people from history are famous for their minds (think Albert Einstein or Leonardo Da Vinci), but other figures who helped shape our modern world were also brilliant, although they’re not necessarily known for their smarts.
From contemporary stars to groundbreaking scientists, here are the estimated IQs of some of the most famous people in history.
Michael Jordan: 154
While Michael Jordan is widely considered one of the greatest basketball players to ever step on the court, he’s actually a lot more than the game. Jordan is an astoundingly smart businessman, having built Air Jordan sneakers from the ground up.
Celebrity IQ estimates Jordan’s IA to be around 154. Hey, shaping the game of basketball and starting a successful business is no easy task!
Thomas Jefferson: 160
The third president of the United States, Thomas Jefferson, had various interests and passions including architecture, paleontology, astronomy, gardening, and more. He was a prolific reader and owned so many books that he sold them to the Library of Congress after British troops ransacked it.
As reported by Business Insider, Jefferson’s IQ is estimated to be around 160. This number was derived by Dean Simonton, a psychology professor from the University of California at Davis.
William Shakespeare: 210
Known as the “Bard of Avon,” William Shakespeare was a prolific playwright, poet, and actor who is considered the world’s greatest writer in the English language. His many plays, still studied by modern scholars, have been translated into every major living language.
Business Insider reports that the Bard would have likely had an impressive IQ score of 180 or so, one of the highest on our list.
Napoleon Bonaparte: 180
Napoleon Bonaparte, who ruled as emperor of France, is considered one of the most brilliant military commanders in history. His military career lasted more than 20 years, and out of the 70+ battles he fought, his troops lost just eight.
Napoleon’s many successful military strategies are evidence that he was extremely intelligent. Although IQ tests weren’t around during Napoleon’s lifetime, the website Geniuses used a variety of factors to estimate that he’d have a score of 180.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: 155
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, one of the most famous and influential composers of all time, began his incredible musical career when he was just a young child. Despite dying at the age of 35, he created more than 600 works during his lifetime. Joseph Haydn, a contemporary of Mozart, said that “posterity will not see such a talent again in 100 years.”
Mozart’s work deeply inspired future generations of composers, including other luminaries such as Ludwig van Beethoven. Assessment Psychology Online has estimated that the musical prodigy would have an IQ somewhere around 155.
Stephen Hawking: 160
The theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking, who was considered by many to be the smartest person on earth until his death in 2018, never revealed his IQ and had this to say to the New York Times when asked about his score: “I have no idea. People who boast about their IQ are losers.”
Despite his feelings on the subject, people love to estimate what his IQ score would have been. IQTest used a variety of factors and determined that Hawking would have a score of 160.
Leonardo da Vinci: 220
When it comes to brain power, there are few (if any) who are equal to Leonardo da Vinci. A master of many subjects, historians are still studying the works of the High Renaissance polymath, such as his artworks of the Mona Lisa and Vitruvian Man.
Between his art, mathematical and scientific achievements, as well as his architectural designs, the Readers Digests estimates da Vinci’s IQ at 220.
Mark Zuckerberg: 152
Mark Zuckerberg started his long-winded story in a college dormitory. There, he launched the start of social media as the world knows it, with the platform Facebook.
Now, as a multi-billionaire, he is one of the richest men in the world. His knowledge of technology and business has led him to great success. And his 152 IQ probably helped.
Sylvia Plath: 160
By the time Sylvia Plath turned 8, her parents and teachers knew she was special. Keeping a journal, Plath developed a passion for writing early on. Now, literature students read and study her finer works, including Ariel, The Bell Jar, and the poem collection Winter Trees.
At 12 years old, Plath took an IQ test, scoring a 160.
Marilyn vos Savant: 228
Marilyn vos Savant was just ten years old when she first took the Stanford-Binet and the Mega Test, gauging her IQ at a staggering 228. It wound up in the Guinness Book of World Records.
Since 1986, she’s been writing a column for Parade magazine, “Ask Marilyn.” There, she answers philosophical and mathematical problems, puzzles, and brain teasers.
Albert Einstein: Between 205 – 225
One of the greatest minds in history is that of Albert Einstein. A scientist, Einstein specialized in theoretical physics, developed the theory of relativity and quantum mechanics, and brought the concept of scientific thought into the public eye.
Now, the term “Einstein” is synonymous with “genius,” and for a good reason! According to Business Insider, Einstein’s IQ would have been between 205 and 225.
Elon Musk: 155
Elon Musk didn’t become one of the wealthiest people in the world on chance. His above-average IQ allowed him to so-create Solar Energy, a company later acquired by Tesla to apply clean energy to various commercial and private infrastructures.
Recently, he became the CEO and Chief Engineer of SpaceX. With space travel on his resume, it’s no surprise Musk’s IQ is 155.
Cleopatra was a lovely mix of beauty and brains. The last active ruler of Egypt, Cleopatra was fluent in over ten languages, became the first and only Ptolemaic rule to learn and speak Egyptian, and studied multiple subjects throughout her life, including mathematics and astronomy.
Between all of her achievements, Reader’s Digest estimates the late rules IQ to be 180.
Stanley Kubrick: Between 160 – 200
Between his unique style, use of dark humor, and extensive set designs, Stanley Kubrick is widely considered one of the greatest filmmakers in cinematic history. Some of his most notable works include Dr. Strangelove, A Clockwork Orange, Spartacus, and 2001: A Space Odyssey.
With his keen eye and creative mind, Kubrick’s IQ has been estimated to have been anywhere between 160 and 200.
Mark Twain: 170
Samuel Langhorne Clemens, better known as Mark Twain, is arguably one of the best American authors of all time. He is known as the “Father of American Literature,” after all! Two of his classic tales are Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.
According to Geni‘s estimations, Twain’s creative mind’s IQ would be 170.
Mary Shelley: 175
English novelist Mary Shelley is the genius behind the classic American gothic Frankenstein. A staple in the Western world, Shelley also authored many other works during her life, including Lodore and Falkner.
The daughter of a political philosopher and a female activist, Shelley was surrounded by great minds her entire life. Geni estimates her IQ to be around 175.
Pablo Picasso: 175
Pablo Picasso is regarded as one of the most influential artists of the 20th century. Having created masterpieces such as Les Demoiselles d’Avignon and Guernica, art students are hard-pressed to get through their studies without learning about Picasso’s artistic genius.
A clearly clever and creative mind, Geni estimates Picasso’s IQ would be around 175.
Thomas Edison: 185
Thomas Edison is responsible for more than one world-changing invention. He developed the motion picture camera, phonograph, and even the electric lightbulb! Considered America’s greatest inventor, Edison majorly impacted modern life, issuing over 1,000 patents.
With a genius mind, Edison was able to view the world differently than other people, thanks to his estimated IQ of 185.
Hedy Lamarr: 154
Hedy Lamarr is well-known for her acting career, something that saw her in over 30 films over her career. A lot of people might not know that there is a lot more to Lamarr than her acting chops.
She helped invent an improved traffic light and even an early version of frequency-hopping spread spectrum communication. A self-taught genius, Lamarr’s estimated IQ is 154.
Artist, sculptor, poet, and all-around Renaissance man, Michelangelo had a one-in-a-kind mind. He is the creator of some of the world’s biggest masterpieces, including the sculptors of David and Pietà, both done before he turned 30, and the Genesis mural on the roof of the Sistine Chaple.
With his intense mind, FinancesOnline estimates Michelangelo’s IQ would be around 177.
Marie Curie: Between 180 – 200
Marie Curie was a woman before her time, leading research in radioactivity and helping invent the first mobile x-ray machine to be used in wartime field hospitals. The first woman to win a Noble Prize, Curie’s contributions to science, including the discovery of radium and polonium, would make it, so it wasn’t her last.
In the end, Curie two Noble Prizes. Reader’s Digest estimates her IQ as being anywhere between 180 and 200.
Steve Jobs: 160
Formal education bored Steve Jobs, but that didn’t stop him from becoming one of the biggest business magnates in the world. He co-founded Apple in 1976, developing the technology into the smart products they are today in the 21st century.
According to psychologist Jonathan Wai, Jobs had an astounding intellect and an IQ of 180.
Charlotte Brontë: 165
Novelist Charlotte Brontë has become a classic name thrown around in literature classes. While her first novel, The Professor, was initially rejected by countless publishing houses, it eventually made its way to print after her passing.
Of course, The Professor is nothing compared to the iconic Jane Eyre. According to Geni, the Victorian Era writer would have potentially had an IQ of 165.
Carl Sagan: 170
Astronomer and planetary scientist Carl Sagan contributed many things to the scientific community, thanks to his massive mind and love of the unknown. He specialized in extraterrestrial communication, sending the first physical messages into outer space.
A former professor at Harvard and Cornell, an author of countless astronomy-related books, Sagan’s mind was just as vast as the topics he studied. The website IQTest has given the astronomer an estimated IQ of 170.
Alan Turing: 185
Alan Turing didn’t just invent the world’s first computer, but he initiated the concept of AI. He is widely considered to be the father of artificial intelligence and theoretical computer science.
He was even named the greatest person of the 20th century by the BBC. IQTest gave the Englishman an estimated IQ of 185.
Judit Polgár: 170
Hungarian chess player Judit Polgár is widely considered to be the best female in the game. Polgár is the youngest person to earn the title of Grandmaster, achieving the status at only 15 years old.
Due to her outstanding reputation around a chessboard, it really shouldn’t come to any surprise that Reader’s Digest has Polgár’s IQ at 170.
Nikola Tesla: Between 160 – 310
Inventor and futurist Nikola Tesla was a great mind, developing numerous instruments that paved the way for modern technology. One of his biggest contributions being to the modern AC electricity supply system, wireless lighting, and wireless communication devices.
As a man born in 1856, his mind was well beyond the technology of the time. According to Reader’s Digest, Tesla’s genius IQ could range anywhere between 160 and 310.
Charles Dickens: 165
Perhaps the greatest novelist of the Victorian Era, Charles Dickens has contributed much to classic literature. Works such as Tale of Two Cities, Oliver Twist, Great Expectations, and even Oliver Twist have become immortalized by Dickens’s genius use of realism, themes, and topical events.
If Dickens were alive today, IQTest believes his IQ would be around 165.
Galileo Galilei: 182
Whether he’s called the “Father of Modern Science,” “Father of Observational Astronomy,” or “Father of Modern Physics,” one thing is certain, Galileo Galilei was a brilliant man with a massive mind.
Throughout his studies, Galileo dabbled in theories related to gravity, free-falling, velocity, and more. He even invented military compasses and the thermoscope. According to FinancesOnline, Galileo would have done remarkable on an IQ test, scoring at least a 182.
Voltaire: Between 190 – 200
Voltaire was a philosopher, writer, historian, and stout believer of freedom of religion, speech, and the separation of church and state. Aside from being an outspoken advocate for civil liberties, Voltaire wrote well over 2,000 books and pamphlets and 2,000 letters during his life, one of the first authors to become internationally successful.
Between his outspoken nature and numerous publications, Voltaire has an estimated IQ between 190 and 200.