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Scientists with low IQs

by Simfish
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Aug31-10, 03:17 PM
P: 452
Quote Quote by elfboy View Post
IQ scores are a valid way of measuring abstract thinking- skills necessary for advanced physics & math.
Feynman manged to be in the first five on the Putnam competition.I think that is a valid test for exceptional "abstract thinking- skills necessary for advanced physics & math"
Proton Soup
Aug31-10, 05:14 PM
P: 1,070
Quote Quote by elfboy View Post
IQ scores are a valid way of measuring abstract thinking- skills necessary for advanced physics & math. If you don't score high enough don't blame the test, blame yourself for not being that smart. Feynman, who only scored 126, was described as 'slow' , and 'lacking in rigor' by some of his lesser known contemporaries. He was smart, but by no stretch of the imagination a genius.
slow is an interesting thought. can one be a slow genius?
Perelman entered Leningrad State University at age 16 and quickly was placed in advanced geometry courses. He impressed one of his teachers, Yuri Burago, who told Nasar and Gruber, "There are a lot of students of high ability who speak before thinking. Grisha was different. He thought deeply. His answers were always correct. He always checked very, very carefully. He was not fast. Speed means nothing. Math doesn't depend on speed. It is about deep ." For relaxation, Perelman played table tennis and sometimes played the violin, which was also his mother's instrument.
George Jones
Sep1-10, 07:18 AM
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Quote Quote by elfboy View Post
Being that I'm not a theoretical physicist I'm in no position to judge the works of Feynman, but some of his contemporaries have judged him to be 'slow' and I attribute this to his IQ.
Quote Quote by Gokul43201 View Post
Names and citations please!
I agree: names and citations! Without this, what elfboy has written is worse than meaningless. I can produce anecdotal evidence that illustrates Feynman's speed, thus contradicting what elfboy wrote.

When Feynman was an undergraduate at MIT, he won the difficult Putnam mathematics competition (written by the best students at many universities). James Gleick, in his book Genius: The Life and Science of Richard Feynman, wrote
In some years the median has been zero - more than half the entrants fail to solve a single problem. One of Feynman's fraternity brothers was surprised to see him return home while the examination was still going on. Feynman learned later that scorers had been astounded by the gap between his result and the next your.
The cosmologist Fred hole, in his autobiography Home Is Where the Wind Blows: Chapter's from a Cosmologists Life, wrote
... the scientist who, among all whom I have met, was the fastest in his thinking: Richard Feynman.
Mathematician and physicist Freeman Dyson (whose thinking speed terrified some people), in a letter to his parents, wrote
In the evening I mentioned that there were just two problems for which the finiteness of the theory remained to be established. ... many long and difficult papers running to 50 pages and more have been written about them ... Feynman ... proceeded to sit down and in two hours, before our eyes, obtain finte and sensible answers to both problems. It was the most amazing piece of lightning calculation I have ever witnessed, ...
Jimmy Snyder
Sep1-10, 08:29 AM
P: 2,179
Mrs. Feynman always said so.
Sep1-10, 04:17 PM
P: 89
I'm not sure what book it was.. I think it was the Mind's String or something like that where I got the quote. It doesn't reflect my own opinion of him, so don't take it the wrong way.

Feynman excelled at mathematics and was mediocre at verbal so the result was only an above averge score. That makes sense. Paul erdos never read non-mathematical texts so I can't imagine he would score high on a verbal reasoning test, but there's no doubt he's brilliant.
Dec25-10, 09:54 PM
P: n/a
> IQ doesnt picture everything about a human's cababilities
Straw man, no one claims that IQ measures everything, only that it's important.

> In that regard, they are very useful, but to try to apply them
> to the upper range of scores is sort of meaningless.
From -- "everyone thinks that test validity drops off for scores higher than their own IQ"

> Yes creativity is key, and is not measurable by an IQ test,
> that's a given.
Creativity is measurable, and it does correlate with IQ. Dec 2010: "Contemporary creativity research views intelligence and creativity as essentially unrelated abilities, and many studies have found only modest correlations between them. The present research, based on improved approaches to creativity assessment and latent variable modeling, proposes that fluid and executive cognition is in fact central to creative thought" --
And re: "that's a given" -- what does that even mean?

> I mean it's anecdotal but lets face it so are IQ tests
The Feynman anomaly is anecdotal (and has been widely discussed on the www for years), but IQ tests as a whole are anything but anecdotal, as they are the result of hundreds of millions of individual test scores. Unless you consider that anecdotal.

> nowadays, with the work of people like paul torrance on creative
> intelligence, there are also other types of tests
Sure, lots of tests devised by Goleman, Sternberg, Gardner and others measure e.g. "emotional intelligence" or "intrapersonal intelligence", which is fine, except for the fact that the predictive value of these tests is basically zero. "Conventional" intelligence tests, on the other hand, are moderately to highly correlated with things like income, school/job performance, health, atheism, etc., and have been for decades.

> IQ tests are not like math tests with tasks and answers that are
> well defined
Except that many components of IQ test *are* like math tests, and *do* have answers that are well defined. A random one from the www: "John bought three books for five dollars each, and paid ten percent sales tax. How much did he pay all together?" -- I would say $16.50 is the correct answer, but you might go out of your way to devise alternative answers -- maybe John is actually a diplomat who is entitled to tax-free shopping in certain zones of the country where he's stationed, and thus pays $15.00 -- does that answer make you smarter than the test-makers? Or does it only indicate that you like to be seen as contrarian?

> scores are "normalized" to make a certain number of people
> come out with a certain score, as there is no intrinsic menaing to
> getting 25 out of 26 word analogies "correct" on a test.
Of course, that's their whole point, to rank people (however rank that sounds). Also, there is a lot of work being done to develop bio/neuro-based IQ tests with a cardinal scale, rather than a ratio scale (cf. Jensen's 2007 "Clocking the Mind").

> it used to be said that IQ was computed by dividing ones
> mental age by ones actual age.
Correct, with "used to" meaning "like a hundred years ago". In that sense "intelligence quotient" is an unfortunate misnomer, but it's part of the language now and would be hard to change (cf. Dawkins' "bright" campaign to re-brand atheism; well intentioned but so far not so effective).

> If brilliant scientists have low "IQ's", then the IQ test being used
> is not measuring anything interesting.
Another straw man. What "brilliant scientists" allegedly have low IQs? Unless, as some claim above, you consider 120 or 130 to be low.

> Do people still take them then? Why what is the point unless
> as MIH says it's to highlight potential difficulties in education?
Well, although they've largely been banned from various jobs because the results are found to systematically discriminate against some population groups, the military has been exempt from these PC-driven concerns because governments can't risk having extremey low-IQ people on the battlefield, however much that might hurt a potential recruit's feelings. And they're obviously still used as entrance exams to various schools (the SAT and LSAT, for example, are essentially IQ tests), because, lacking complete information, admissions boards have to make tough choices, and IQ/SAT/LSAT tests have demonstrably proven over the decades to be valid predictors of success, unlike touchy-feely "EQ" tests. Which is a good thing, unless of course you would prefer doctors and engineers to be "nice" and "empathetic" rather than "smart" and "effective".

> IQ tests measure people's itellectual potential and makes no
> pretension to predict if that potential will ever be realised.
That's definitely true, although IQ does correlate (moderately) with conscientiousness, i.e. elbow grease.

> High IQ is not a requirement to becoming a scientist.
Hmm nice notion, but sadly untrue. Try training someone with an IQ of 90 to become a theoretical physicist -- it won't happen. But books like Gladwell's "Outliers" -- which posits that anyone can achieve anything if they put in 10,000 hours of practice and have some good luck -- probably do have a positive knock-on effect for society in that they encourage people to "accomplish something", which is generally a desirable (if ultimately delusional) aim.

> I stopped caring about my IQ results when they started giving
> me lower results...
Haha they do drop a bit with age, nothing wrong with that.

> If IQ really measures some "intrinsic ability", then, at the
> absolute minimum, the scores you get on a test should
> stay relatively constant over time.
IQ tests, unlike "EQ" tests or personality tests, are notoriously difficult to game. You might be able to convince a test-giver that you're more extroverted or empathetic than you really are, but you can't score "better" on an IQ test just because you want to give the impression of being smart (though malingerers can make themselves seem more stupid than they really are, e.g. in order to be classified as retarded and thereby avoid the death penalty, but even this is more difficult than it might seem).
You might be able to add a few IQ points by assiduously practicing e.g. Raven's matrices, but even months of Kaplan-like SAT training can only only add maybe 40-50 SAT points (see e.g. the 2009 WSJ article "SAT Coaching Found to Boost Scores -- Barely",

> Your score shouldn't increase as you learn new things. This is
> not the case with actual tests.
As I mentioned above, IQ tests are a ranking. So of course the average 15-year-old has accrued more knowledge than the average 10-year-old, but his relative ranking among other 15-year-olds is probably about the same as it was when he was 10. That's what IQ tests are for.

> Look at virtually all Nobel winners and the quality of their work...
> pretty much all of them score above 120 and are closer to 140.
Exactly. And the top 1/4 of the top 1% of IQ scorers have 2x-3x as many Nobels and patents as the lower 1/4 of that top 1%; in other words, there's a significant difference in scientific success between an IQ 130 and IQ 145.

> I've heard there's a much larger scope for disorders and depression
> for those with an incredibly high IQ than there is for success
> relative to those of just above average IQ.
I think the evidence there is mixed. Though some disorders like schizophrenia and ADHD tend to skew low-IQ, depression and autism tend to skew high-IQ.

> Why is IQ such a secretive and elitist number?
Maybe that's a job for Wikileaks...

> IMHO intelligence is not something that is fixed, it's
> always changing
That's true, but it doesn't vary wildly, maybe a 10-point range. And it's largely fixed by age 11 or 12.

> For that matter, what is genius, anyway? Top 1%?
Well, by that standard (which equates in the US to an IQ of about 130), there would be about 3 million "geniuses" in the US alone, which kind of dilutes the value of the distinction.
Dec25-10, 10:10 PM
Evo's Avatar
P: 26,523
Eduard, do you see the multi quote button at the bottom right? Please use that. Your post is really hard to read. Please figure it out.

Oh, and this forum full of scientists and mathematicians of high IQ don't hold IQ as an important factor in success. Interest, motivation, hard work, a drive to learn, those are what matters.
Dec26-10, 01:06 AM
P: 20
My IQ was classified as 85 and I am going into the sciences. I plan on setting a record!
Dec26-10, 11:03 AM
P: n/a
Quote Quote by Evo View Post
Eduard, do you see the multi quote button at the bottom right? Please use that. Your post is really hard to read. Please figure it out.
I hadn't seen that feature.

Quote Quote by Evo View Post
Oh, and this forum full of scientists and mathematicians of high IQ don't hold IQ as an important factor in success. Interest, motivation, hard work, a drive to learn, those are what matters.
Is that your personal opinion, or more of a site-wide policy statement? A la, "I am the Lorax, I speak for the trees!" Anyway it seems that a lot of commenters on this thread would disagree with you about IQ's relevance to success (but maybe they are just dimwitted, and unlike yourself are not self-identified "scientists and mathematicians of high IQ"). And about "interest, motivation, hard work, a drive to learn" being "what matters," that's yet another straw man, since no one claims otherwise.
Dec26-10, 01:27 PM
Evo's Avatar
P: 26,523
I am the lorax.

I'm neither a scientist nor a mathematician, I'm a tested high IQ slacker that never amounted to anything because I was too bored to continue my formal education.
Dec26-10, 01:43 PM
╔(σ_σ)╝'s Avatar
P: 849
I have an IQ of 70 :-).
Dec26-10, 03:01 PM
P: 20
I think the evidence there is mixed. Though some disorders like schizophrenia and ADHD tend to skew low-IQ, depression and autism tend to skew high-IQ.
I was born stupid which skews my IQ score towards being low.
Dec26-10, 03:20 PM
lisab's Avatar
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Quote Quote by DBTS View Post
I was born stupid which skews my IQ score towards being low.
Proton Soup
Dec26-10, 03:52 PM
P: 1,070
i have no idea what my IQ is. and i have suspicions of it being an autistic quotient, anyhow.
Dec27-10, 05:57 AM
P: 614
Quote Quote by Proton Soup View Post
i have no idea what my IQ is. and i have suspicions of it being an autistic quotient, anyhow.
Not really, people far out on the autism spectrum usually score very low.
Aug1-11, 11:25 PM
P: n/a
Quote Quote by Schrodinger's Dog View Post
People are obsessed with IQ, but then as we all know it directly corresponds to intelligence to such a high degree they may as well be one and the same thing. In fact if you ever received a low score in your life say at age 8 you should just give up and resign yourself to perpetual duncehood. Perhaps you could wear a hat, letting everyone know your IQ is only say 105, so that people could point and laugh at you in the streets.

To reiterate IQ is 100% about intelligence and nothing about education, social economic advantage, or anything else, and it does not encourage elitism or snobbery.

Let's try the opposite tack this time, see if anyone will actually agree hehe. IQ is a load of old widdleplop and everyone knows it, the OP proves that to be a scientist you need more than IQ, you need perserverance, intangibles, not a bloody redundant test.::::::::::::)

Really? Did you know that the famous mathematician Julia Robinson scored below 100 in grade school (she was a slow reader)?

Perhaps she should have taken your advice and applied for a place at her local mental asylum, and you had taken her place, in which case you with your superior IQ would have achieved no more than mediocrity, while she would have lived a life well wasted.
Aug2-11, 12:09 AM
P: 500
Without reading anything after the first page...

I think IQ tests are pretty alright. They compare you to the demographics so it's either you're better at the test or your not. The tests aren't really based on book smarts so education plays minimal role. (I mean you need to know how to read/write fluently in the language the test is conducted in and how to count...)

After that your score is just really how YOU compare to the rest of the population. The average would be automatically set to 100... (I think it's 100 at least) where you'll be set with people who scored similarly. The IQ test is no longer the same as it was when first created. It's much better now... (I think at least) So to talk about old scientists and their IQ one has to take into account the method used.

Regardless... why would it be surprising that a scientist would have an IQ of 115? It wouldn't even be surprising to me if some scientists had IQs under 100. To be a scientist you just really have to be interested in science and pursue it. You don't have to be good at abstract thinking etc. which is tested for. (well you really DO but I'm sure you could get by in some fields)
Aug2-11, 12:18 AM
P: 500
Another thing is obviously these tests wouldn't come up in the 'adult' working world... that is to say in an application to be a Prof. they won't ask you for your IQ... First that'd be setting up for discrimination no? So I don't think legally they can ask these questions.

Second, these tests are made for children really, not for adults. Once your an adult in your field it would show that you already made it far enough to get to apply for the job why should they care about anything else? But when you're a child... your education is key. Figuring out what classes to put you in and what special attention you will need to enhance your learning is critical. If you need to go into gifted school then you should. If you need to have an IEP then you should. etc. I think an IQ test is suitable for these. (actually I know they are. My brother has global development delay and as such has suffered mental retardation and my sister has learning disabilities in English as such she gets an IEP for her schooling and I could have skipped 2 grades in grade school or gone to a school for gifted children. All had IQ tests conducted. We still have the results of our tests)

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