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Richard Feynman IQ test myth


It has been intermittently reported on various blogs, including Quora, that the great theoretical physicist (and the physicist’s physicist) Richard Feynman was tested suprisingly low on his IQ test: just 124. One has to be immediately suspicious about this number. First, nowhere has ever been specified what kind of test it was, what subtests it comprised and what was the ceiling of the test. One can presume that testing such a high-powered physicist would require high-ceiling tests, at least for the math section. Again and again am I disappointed by the quality of answers on Quora where the users (furtively obsessed with their own IQ scores) are not willing to ponder for a while about the legitimacy of the mentioned score and cite the number as a dogma (or is it because Wikipedia says so?).

I turned to a psychometrist and physicist himself Stephen Hsu whether he has anything to say about Feynman’s IQ score. Here is the quote taken from his well-know blog, which I recommend dearly:

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