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How intelligent ?

  1. Oct 27, 2007 #1
    To be an engineer how intelligent does one have to be. Is engineering a skill that can be learned ? Its a bad measure but for people with IQ's ranging between 120-130.
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 27, 2007 #2
    I don't think it really matters.

    If you have a drive to be an engineer you can become an engineer.

    I mean you can't be a moron but it doesn't take a certain IQ to be a successful engineer.

    All it takes is hard work and dedication to your studies and you'll do better than the really smart guys who don't take the time to study.

    For example:
    My SAT scores were quite bad, 930 in fact. The college told me I would fail out of calculus because my math SAT scores were so slow. I told them I'd prove them wrong, just let me take the course. They said fine but don't come complaining to me when your failing.

    Well now I'm ranked in the top 10% at my university (Penn State) in the college of engineering and I'm going to college for free because of my good grades. I don't believe I have a high IQ, I just work hard and thats all it takes to get a grade.
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2007
  4. Oct 27, 2007 #3


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    Well said mr_coffee! For some reason, many people think high IQ's and genius are what makes scientists and engineers succeed, when in reality its love for the field and your work ethic.

    Rufus, If you think you'd really enjoy engineering and you are willing to put as much as it takes into it, then you should definitely go for it. Good luck to you!
  5. Oct 27, 2007 #4
    There are some fields like theoretical physics where one has to be a genius. However engineering is NOT one of them.
  6. Oct 27, 2007 #5
    not true either
  7. Oct 27, 2007 #6


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    They should make a new measure

    They should make a new Measure, of intelligence.
    IQ just shows us how knowledgeable one is.
    Hence a parrot in a classroom can have a higher IQ than somebody whos never opened a book.
    There should be some measure that records brain waves, to identify the differences between brain waves between humans such as speed, cognitive power, thinking power..ect & Invent a new Scaler.(i'm sure IQ isn't the only scaler, but nevertheless).

    Hmm, If I decide to take Msc.Brain Imaging & computing, that would probably be my project finding a New Scaler that identifies the REAL intelligence of the individual.
  8. Oct 27, 2007 #7
    If you have less than 180, the other engineers will catch on sooner or later and take you behind the tool shed. :rofl:

    It's not nearly as useful for adults as it is for kids...the idea there is it roughly tells you how advanced or retarded their development is. But the idea of what "grade level" a student is reading or doing math at is probably more effective. It was a really cool idea that was intended for a psychological screening tool, but ended up mostly being a penis game that's not terribly useful for crap.
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2007
  9. Oct 27, 2007 #8
    "IQ just shows us how knowledgeable one is.
    Hence a parrot in a classroom can have a higher IQ than somebody whos never opened a book."

    Umm, no.
  10. Oct 27, 2007 #9

    This makes me laugh. Really. Anyone who thinks this either knows nothing about the field..or is in it themselves.


    This makes me laugh even harder though! Because I agree!
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2007
  11. Oct 27, 2007 #10
    Judging by some of the engineers I've met, I'd say you don't have to be very intelligent.

  12. Oct 27, 2007 #11


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    Damn, that statement is insulting, wrong, funny, and shows your ignorance all at the same time. Good job!

    Rufus, you're asking how intelligent one has to be in order to be an engineer. But you need to understand that this question cannot be answered. We can barely come to an agreeable definition as to what intelligence actually is. Its purely subjective.
    Do not hold high regards to IQ scores. It is meaningless. How can we even think of measuring something we cannot properly define?

    I would like to add to list of traits that one needs to possess in order to be a successful engineer. You will need competence. This combined with hard work and dedication and love for your field will make you a successful scientist, engineer, physicist, or just a successful anybody.

    Don't ever let anyone brand you because of some score you got on a test. mr_coffee tells a story that happens to so many of us.
  13. Oct 27, 2007 #12

    Actually a lot of intellegent people have real difficulty in school especially at a young age. A high intellegence is usually just the sign that particular type of thinking comes very natural for you. That said, people with a high intellegence sort of believe if they don't get it right away then the subject is not for them. This attitude leaves one at a huge disadvantage when it comes to academics and more so work. To be a good at something, no matter how smart you are, you will at some point have to perserver through ambiguity, counter intuitive ideas, very difficult work and so on. You often hear stories of med students who go through most of their lives getting perfect grades relatively easily (even through med school). But, when they have an internship and the real ambiquity begins, then hit a brick wall. It is so distressing for some that they commit suicide. On a personal note, a lot of the students from my high school who got much better grades than me, took harder classes, basically skipped a year of college, have not lived up to the potential that you thought they had. Many of them sort of just give up. I mean they get a degree but end up managing a toys-r-us or something. They wouldn't have a prayer doing some of the school work I do because of the amount of hard work involved. I have talked to many people about this and they have all noticed the same thing.

    I like what Columbia looks for in its math majors: "brain wave activity, a pulse perferably." Nothing is really necessary intelligence wise except the ability to be present and do work. I know a few math students who are mentally challenged--proving my point.
  14. Oct 27, 2007 #13
    Not true. Feynman was in the 130's, which is technically not "genius." If IQ was the determinant of success then I should be at about the level of Feynman when he was my age, doing differential calculus and studying at MIT, instead I'm just a high school student who struggles with Spanish and happens to love physics. Still working on that bit about the calculus and MIT though. :rolleyes:

    edit: Another thing to keep in mind is that IQ was never intended to be used as a scalar comparison of reasonable people. It was made to sift through which kids weren't mentally up to par (ever seen/read forrest gump?) not to decide which genius is truly more of a genius. Science channel did a 'battle of the minds' type thing where they took an artist, musician, dramatist, quantum physicist, supersonic jet pilot, and a wall street stock broker and took their intelligence through many tests, including the standard IQ test and many other alternatives. 1st place was decided to be a tie between the quantum physicists and the dramatist (who didn't do the best on many of the 'standard tests'.) Even though my personal bias would be leaning towards the physicist, it shows that unlike common perception, high IQ does not equal high intelligence

    By the way, IQ isn't even very good for its intended purpose anymore because not everybody develops the same way. Einstein and many others started out their lives with people questioning whether they would even be able to have a normal life at all. you can ask any psychologist and they will tell you that the IQ test is obsolete
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2007
  15. Oct 27, 2007 #14
    I have not met a student, recent graduate, grad student or Professor who did not emphasize the importance of dedication and hard work. Hence why love of the subject is necessary otherwise it would be difficult working on problems for long hours at a time without a level of satisfaction gained from solving a difficult problem. I think almost anybody willing to work hard enough and spend enough time can learn science, it all comes down to if you get personal satisfaction from it, that is the greatest contributing variable in my opinion.
  16. Oct 28, 2007 #15
    he had a much higher iq than 130. his high schools tests weren't representative. his entrance exams to princeton or something were indicative of genius iq.
  17. Oct 28, 2007 #16
    That's a good point, or observation. During my senior high school years, i took physics and didn't do very well in the first year so i dropped it (the teacher did not teach it well, more than half the class dropped by the end of the year), and all those people who remained behind said they were going into all those sciency degrees, they were all doing chemistry and all, yet some of them went into nursing, two i know went into education, one for a sports teacher the other something else unrelated, and the others didn't continue in the field, only one guy i know went into something similar which was aviation. And while i did the same, most hardest maths offered in the state as they did, i still continued onto something related to physics and maths orientated when i wasn't so sure.

    The guy whom the Hubble telescope was named after, he finished a law degree first then completely changed into astronomy. IQ is nothing, it's just how u see things.
  18. Oct 28, 2007 #17
    I thought so. Anyone who masters differential calculus by 15 and wins a nobel prize in physics probably isn't being done much justice by IQ tests anyways
  19. Oct 28, 2007 #18
    It's important to remember how and why the IQ test was designed. It was used to gauge the potential ability of children so that France could spend more resources on these children. It was later worked on by a professor at Stanford. Notice though, it's focus is towards CHILDREN, not adults.
  20. Oct 28, 2007 #19
    We're all someone's children.
  21. Oct 29, 2007 #20
    Success is made up with 1% of intelligence and 110% of hard work. IQ is a measure of potential ability, not potential success.
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2007
  22. Oct 29, 2007 #21


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    Well I've always thought of one's IQ as being a measure of their ability to understand concepts. Whereas one's knowledge is simply a measure of how well educated they are.

    I know a lot of unintelligent well educated people. Just look at anyone in the goverment!:rofl:

    BTW I think the average IQ of a person is in the range of 95 - 105. Mental retardation is around like 60 or something like that (don't quote me!).

    Engineers don't necessarily have to have high IQ's, just the desire and initiative to learn. A true requirement in most situations in life.
  23. Oct 29, 2007 #22
    I tend to agree with this, here is an interesting article about the topic at hand that may be of some interest, in support of this outlook.

  24. Oct 30, 2007 #23
    nicely said
  25. Nov 2, 2007 #24
    in the real world IQ's and SAT's don't mean squat.

    How does answering questions on patterns and differentiating apart from an owl, a donkey and a cat equate to someone being 'smart' - those skills are only good for jeopardy - not for college - and especially not in engineering.

    Its not so much as being the smartest on the planet but having a knack for your subject.
  26. Nov 3, 2007 #25
    Haha, IQ doesn't tell the true measure of an individual intelligence. I know an engineer who scored 101 on IQ test and getting 3.8 GPA.
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