Famous people with high IQ

Da Vinci is one of the most extraordinary famous people with a high IQ
Leonardo da Vinci had an IQ in excess of 160

The list of famous people with high IQ scores is a long one. Before listing some key individuals, let’s first revisit what is means to have a high IQ. In any nation, the average IQ is set to 100 and a normal distribution is able to be set around this mean. Around 95% of the population will have an IQ score between 70 and 130, which implies that roughly 2.5% of the population will score <70 while 2.5% of the population will score above 130. IQ scales are classified as follows:

IQ range (16 SD)


Population distribution


Very Superior






High Average






Low Average



Well below average


69 and below

Lower Extreme



As can be seen from the above table, IQs between 110-119 are still considered to be high average. So one can take the view that an IQ in excess of 120 is a high IQ. An IQ of 120 places you in the top 10.5% of the population (or 1 in 9 people). 5% of the population have an IQ in excess of 125 (1 in 20 people), while only 3% of the population have an IQ in excess of 130 (1 in 33). 1% of the population score in excess of 135, while 1 in 192 people (0.43% of the population) score in excess of 140. Incidentally, an IQ of 140 of more is considered genius or near genius level.

There are plenty of celebrities and famous people with high IQs in excess of 140.

  • Leonardo da Vinci: was estimated to have an IQ of 180, which decreases to 158 adjusting for the Flynn effect. This represents a rarity of 1 in 6,900. In terms of famous people with high IQs, he is perhaps one of the greatest visionaries and most multi-talented. Not only was he a fantastic artist, he also contributed to the world of science with designs of the human body, flying machines, scuba gear and the parachute, and all of this in the mid the late 1470s
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: was estimated to have an IQ of 165, although adjusting for the Flynn effect, his IQ would most likely be 143 in modern terms. Irrespective of the adjustment, an IQ at this level is seen in less than 1 in 278 people. No wonder why Mozart was writing symphonies from the age of 8 and that his music is still being played in households around the world nearly 225 years after his death. It remains to be seen whether even the Beatles are able to achieve such a feat.
  • Albert Einstein: is reported to have an IQ of 160 (1 in 11,000 people). With his theory of relativity E=MC squared, he has changed the world of astrophysics.
  • Bill Gates: has an IQ of 160. It comes as no surprise that he was able to develop a program that would become ubiquitous in the world of computing and modern communication. Bill Gates deserves not only to be included in the list of famous people with high IQs, but also great inventors

There are plenty more famous people with a high IQ. We will revisit this topic in future posts.

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