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Who has 250 IQ?

An IQ or intelligence quotient is a score derived from standardized tests designed to measure human intelligence and cognitive ability. The average IQ score is 100, with most people scoring between 85 and 115. An IQ of 250 would be incredibly rare and is near the maximum possible IQ that humans can achieve. Only a very small number of people in history have ever been confirmed to have an IQ this high.

What is Considered a High IQ?

IQ scores follow what is known as a normal distribution, meaning that 68% of scores fall within one standard deviation above and below the mean score of 100. Here is a breakdown of the IQ score ranges and how they are classified:

IQ Range Classification
130 and over Very superior intelligence
120-129 Superior intelligence
110-119 High average intelligence
90-109 Average intelligence
80-89 Low average intelligence
70-79 Borderline impaired
Under 70 Extremely low intelligence

As you can see, an IQ of 250 would be exceptionally high, over 7 standard deviations above the mean IQ of 100. It would signify abilities so outstanding that some psychologists argue IQ tests cannot accurately measure intelligence at such extremes. Nevertheless, a few individuals in history provide examples of genius-level IQs around 250.

Who is Considered to Have Had a 250 IQ?

Here are a few of the most notable individuals who are estimated or rumored to have had IQ scores close to 250:

Leonardo da Vinci – Estimated IQ: 220-250

Leonardo da Vinci was a renowned painter, sculptor, architect, engineer, mathematician, scientist and inventor during the Italian Renaissance. His genius spanned numerous disciplines and he conceived ideas far ahead of his time. Based on expert analysis of his extraordinary accomplishments and insights into his life, his estimated IQ scores range from 220 to 250 by different measures.

Johann Goethe – Estimated IQ: 210-225

Johann Goethe was a German writer during the late 18th/early 19th century. He wrote several classic literary works including Faust. Goethe had a voracious appetite for knowledge and made key contributions to botany and morphology. Critics estimate his IQ was in the range of 210-225 based on his diverse achievements.

Albert Einstein – Estimated IQ: 205-225

Albert Einstein is widely regarded as one of history’s greatest physicists and intellectuals. He developed the groundbreaking theory of relativity and made key contributions to quantum mechanics and cosmology. Experts estimate his IQ was likely between 205 and 225 based on his unparalleled scientific insights and remarkable career.

William Sidis – Reported IQ: 250-300

William Sidis was an American child prodigy in the early 20th century. There are conflicting reports about his IQ, with some estimations that he achieved scores between 250 and 300 on childhood IQ tests. While these high scores are debated, there is no doubt Sidis was highly gifted, reading the New York Times at 18 months old and enrolling at Harvard at age 11.

Terence Tao – Estimated IQ: 225-230

Terence Tao is a contemporary mathematician and child prodigy who is currently a professor at UCLA. By age 16, he was working on graduate level mathematics and he earned his Ph.D. by 21. Experts have estimated his IQ is somewhere between 225 and 230 based on his incredible early accomplishments in mathematics and ongoing prestigious career.

Christopher Langan – Reported IQ: 195-210

Christopher Langan has been hailed as the smartest man in America with an IQ estimated between 195 and 210. Reputed to have taught himself to read as a toddler, Langan earned a perfect SAT score even though he never finished high school or attended college. His self-studied expertise spans mathematics, philosophy, physics and more. However, some experts question the high-end IQ estimations for Langan.

Kim Ung-Yong – Reported IQ: 210

Kim Ung-Yong is a Korean former child prodigy who was featured in Guinness World Records for his IQ of 210 measured when he was just four years old. By age 7, Kim was invited by NASA to study physics in the United States. He earned a doctorate in physics by 16 and had published several papers. However, some psychologists believe IQ tests are invalid for measuring intelligence in young children.

Christopher Hirata – Estimated IQ: 225

Christopher Hirata is a professor of physics and astronomy at Ohio State University. By age 13, he became the youngest American to win a gold medal at the International Physics Olympiad. He entered Caltech at 16 and earned his Ph.D. in Physics by 22. Experts estimate his IQ is around 225 based on his exceptional accomplishments at a young age.

Judit Polgár – Reported IQ: 170

Judit Polgár is considered the greatest female chess player in history. She achieved the rank of Grandmaster at 15, breaking Bobby Fischer’s record. Although her IQ is estimated to be 170 by some sources, and not quite 250, this places her in the genius range and her chess abilities were unprecedented.

Are IQ Scores Above 250 Valid?

While the theoretical limit of IQ scores is around 200, some individuals have obtained higher reported scores. However, the accuracy of these extreme scores can be questionable for several reasons:

  • IQ test ceiling effects – Most standardized tests cannot accurately measure IQs above 200.
  • Score inflation – Genius-level IQs are sometimes inflated by reporting rumored scores.
  • Test conditions – Scores from childhood or unsupervised tests tend to be less reliable.
  • Variability across tests – Different IQ tests can produce quite different scores.

Due to these factors, most psychologists agree IQ scores above 250 should be interpreted cautiously. While some people do achieve astonishing feats of intelligence, IQ tests may saturate at the extreme high end of ability. Nevertheless, the individuals listed above demonstrate remarkable genius whether their IQs are precisely known or not.

Significance of High IQs

While an extremely high IQ like 250 can indicate extraordinary cognitive potential, many researchers argue it is just one narrow measure of human intelligence and success. Factors like motivation, determination, resources, personality and opportunity play essential roles in what individuals actually contribute to society.

Having a genius-level IQ may help with certain intellectual pursuits, but it does not guarantee real-world achievement. There are many accomplished inventors, scientists, artists, business leaders and other professionals who do not have extremely high IQs. Excellence depends on passion, hard work and persistence just as much as innate mental abilities.

Distribution of High IQs

True genius-level IQ scores are exceptionally rare. Only about 1 in 30,000 people are estimated to have an IQ over 145, or 3 standard deviations above the mean. There are under 1,500 members of the ultra-high IQ societies Mensa and the Triple Nine Society combined, which require minimum tested IQs in the top 2 percent.

Based on this scarcity, an IQ of 250 or higher likely describes at most only a few hundred people on the planet currently and a similar number throughout history. Due to the world’s immense population, a few hundred geniuses of this magnitude may exist at a given time despite the near impossibility of such an IQ for almost all individuals.

Can IQ Be Increased?

For most people, IQ remains relatively stable over their lifespan with minimal potential for significant long-term increases. However, research does suggest certain interventions may help raise IQ scores to some degree:

  • Education – Schooling and learning new skills can improve performance on IQ tests.
  • Brain training – Structured programs focused on memory, reasoning, and problem solving may bump scores.
  • Nutrition – Proper early childhood nutrition supports cognitive development.
  • Testing effects – Familiarity with test formats can influence scores.

Nevertheless, increases tend to be modest, temporary, and closely tied to the specifics of the test. There are no known interventions that can permanently transform an average person into an Einstein-level genius. The hyper-intelligent individuals explored above were likely born with innate potential placing them at extreme ends of cognitive ability.

Genetic Component

Twin and family studies suggest genetics play a substantial role in high intelligence and IQ variation between individuals. Intelligence seems to run in some families and correlates about 0.75 between identical twins raised apart. However, environmental influences are still very important for nurturing innate intellectual gifts. Even populations where nutrition, education, and stimulation are adequate produce individuals spanning the full IQ spectrum.

Potential Drawbacks of High IQ

Extremely high intelligence can also sometimes come with difficulties:

  • Social isolation – Difficulty relating to mainstream society.
  • Expectations – Pressure to capitalize on potential achievements.
  • Focus – Hyperfocus on intellectual pursuits at the exclusion of well-rounded interests.
  • Awareness – Tendency to question social norms and structures.

For those few individuals at the far right tail of the IQ distribution bell curve, these drawbacks may combine with gifts to make life interesting and complex.

Criticisms of High IQs

Some criticize the relevance of genius-level IQ scores for the following reasons:

  • Narrow focus – IQ tests measure specific cognitive skills, not overall intelligence.
  • Low predictiveness – IQ is one limited predictor of career success and accomplishments.
  • Opportunity privilege – Access to resources affects ability to nurture and demonstrate high cognitive potential.
  • Subjective interpretations – Assigning numerical IQ scores involves subjective judgments.

While remarkable IQs can indicate unusual analytical abilities, they fail to capture the full diversity and potential of intelligence and human achievement. Kindness, wisdom, character, resilience, creativity and practical skills are also vitally important.

Famous Geniuses Without Exceptional IQs

Numerous influential scientists, artists, entrepreneurs and leaders made highly impactful contributions without having record-breaking IQ scores:

  • Albert Einstein – Nobel Prize-winning physicist.
  • Steve Jobs – Founder and CEO of Apple.
  • Pablo Picasso – Legendary 20th century visual artist.
  • Mark Zuckerberg – Creator of Facebook.
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – Widely recognized musical genius.
  • Jane Austen – Revered English novelist.
  • Bill Gates – Microsoft founder and philanthropist.

While IQ tests provide one indicator of reasoning abilities, they fail to capture the full range of remarkable innovation, creativity, leadership skills, determination and emotional intelligence displayed by individuals who shape humanity’s advancement.


In closing, while IQ scores around 250 are extremely rare, a few exceptional individuals throughout history have demonstrated IQs at this level through their revolutionary accomplishments and innovations. Nevertheless, high IQ is just one factor contributing to success alongside motivation, grit, resources and opportunity. Human potential and talent manifest in diverse ways that numerical intelligence quotients alone cannot fully represent.