What Was Albert Einstein’s IQ? +Comparison with Other People With High IQs

Discover what Albert Einstein’s IQ score is, whether he took any official IQ tests, and how he compares to other highly intelligent people.

What Was Albert Einstein’s IQ? +Comparison with Other People With High IQs main image

Albert Einstein’s IQ shines through in his discoveries and scientific breakthroughs, all attesting to his brilliant, forward-thinking mind. His papers on general relativity shook the scientific world at the beginning of the 20th century, and his findings on cosmology still impress physicists today.

But what exactly was Albert Einstein’s IQ score?

Although we don’t have a definitive answer, IQ experts have made rough estimates based on his accomplishments. Today, we will explore these estimates, as well as Einstein’s life and work as a whole.

What is Albert Einstein’s IQ Estimate?

Albert Einstein’s IQ number is estimated to be around 160, which is well above the average IQ and places him firmly in the genius rank.

However, we should note that Einstein never actually took an IQ test, so we can rely only on expert estimates. After all, French psychologists Alfred Binet and Theodore Simon, who developed the first IQ test, only administered it to children in 1904. By that time, Einstein had already turned 25.

That’s not to say that he couldn’t have taken the test later after it was translated in 1916 and popularized even beyond French borders. But, to our knowledge, he had never done so.

The original Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale estimated the test taker’s mental age, then calculated their score by dividing their mental age by their actual age and multiplying by 100.

So, in Einstein’s case, he’d have had the mental age of a 16-year-old when he was ten. Sixteen divided by ten is 1.6, which, multiplied by 100, gives us 160.

Pro tip: Aside from the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale, we use Wechsler Intelligence Scales, Raven’s Progressive Matrices, and Peabody’s Individual Achievement Test.

What is Albert Einstein’s IQ Estimate?

What is Albert Einstein’s IQ Estimate?

Albert Einstein’s Early Life and Education

Albert Einstein, born in 1879 in Ulm, Germany, was the son of a Jewish salesman, Hermann Einstein, and a housewife, Pauline Koch. Two years after his birth, his parents had a daughter, Albert’s younger sister, Maria.

From an early age, Einstein showed interest in the natural world and its laws and workings. When he was five, he encountered a compass, which instilled curiosity about the invisible forces that govern the universe. At twelve, he read a book on geometry, further fanning the flames of his passion.

Einstein’s family moved to Munich soon after his birth, so he attended Luitpold Gymnasium when he came of age. As much as he enjoyed science and mathematics, he hated the stifling curriculum that didn’t allow freedom of expression and original thinking.

So, when Einstein’s family moved to Milan, leaving him alone in Munich to finish his education, he was miserable. To escape school and looming military duty, Albert ran away and rejoined his parents in Italy.

Since his future as a school dropout didn’t seem very bright, Einstein applied to the Swiss Federal Polytechnic School, where he was accepted for his exceptional grades in math and physics. He graduated from this institution in 1900 and received Swiss citizenship in 1901.

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Albert Einstein’s Scientific Career and Accomplishments

Unfortunately, Einstein’s scientific career didn’t immediately take off, as the few professors he’d become enemies with at school prevented him from advancing. As a result, he was mostly accepting tutoring jobs to earn enough to survive.

His luck turned when his friend recommended him for a position in the Swiss Patent Office. The job was easy enough, the income was steady, and he finally had enough time to daydream about scientific concepts that had occupied his mind since his earliest years.

In 1905, Einstein published four papers on the photoelectric effect and special relativity, the final one of which introduced the famous E=mc² equation.

Albert Einstein IQ

Albert Einstein IQ

Though initially ignored, these papers caught the interest of quantum physicist Max Planck, one of the most influential scientists of that time. His support boosted Einstein’s standing in the academic world, and soon, he was invited to international meetings and offered various teaching positions at universities.

Einstein opted for the University of Berlin, where he became the director of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Physics. He stayed there from 1913 to 1933, finalizing his theory of general relativity in 1915, which was scientifically tested and proven in 1919.

Finally, while Einstein was speaking at various conferences across the globe in 1921, his achievements were crowned with the Nobel Prize for Physics. Although it was officially awarded to him for his discovery of the photoelectric effect, Einstein considered the theory of relativity his proudest achievement.

Albert Einstein’s Inventions and Discoveries

1905 - Introduction to the special theory of relativity

1915 - Completion of the general theory of relativity

1917 - The first paper on cosmology

1928 - Unified field theory

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Albert Einstein’s IQ Compared to Other Highly Intelligent People

Obviously, Albert Einstein’s IQ level is impressive, but how does it compare to other highly intelligent people?

Mostly, it falls into a similar range with other geniuses of today and brilliant minds of the past. For example, Steve Jobs and Bill Gates are also estimated to have an IQ of 160+, closely followed by Elon Musk and his IQ of approximately 155.

Einstein’s IQ is often compared to Nikola Tesla’s, and it seems that both physicists rank similarly regarding intelligence. According to rough estimates, Tesla’s IQ is somewhere between 160 and 310, making him about as smart or potentially even smarter than Einstein.

However, there are people alive today who have higher IQs than either Einstein or Tesla (at least higher than the purported lower end for them). One such person is Magnus Carlsen, a Norwegian chess grandmaster with an estimated IQ of 190.

Key takeaways

Key Takeaways

Although we can’t precisely determine Albert Einstein’s IQ, it’s obvious from his accomplishments and scientific breakthroughs that he was a one-of-a-kind genius. He was so ahead of his time, in fact, that some of his theories were proven only decades after his death.

So, regardless of the actual score he’d receive on an IQ test, he’s changed the way we perceive the universe forever, carving an eternal place for himself in human history.

Albert Einstein IQ FAQs

#1. Was Albert Einstein the smartest person ever?

Albert Einstein was likely not the smartest person to have lived. Although he’s undoubtedly a genius, experts estimate he didn’t have the highest IQ ever. In fact, people such as Magnus Carlsen are speculated to rank much higher on the scale.

#2. Who has the highest IQ in the world?

Terence Tao, a Chinese-Australian mathematician, is said to have the highest IQ in the world. According to some sources, his IQ is estimated to be around 230, which is way above Albert Einstein’s IQ estimates.

#3. What were Einstein’s discoveries?

Einstein discovered the theories of special and general relativity, introduced the concept of an expanding and contracting universe, and started working on a unified field theory designed to tie all the fundamental forces of the universe together.

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