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IQ of a Physicist and Other Related Fields

  1. Jun 12, 2009 #1
    I had to conduct a survey, and so my topic was Iq's of certain jobs but the most interested i'm in is a physicist.

    So my question to you if your a physicist is what is your iq?

    Also, do you think you need a higher than average iq to become a physicist or to study physics?

    And feel free to share your iq even if you're not a physicist because i'd like to compare other job titles.

    Thanks, I'm hoping you can help!
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  3. Jun 12, 2009 #2


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    Nope. In fact I would be surprised to find a tight correlation between IQ and "physics ability."

    All the IQ really indicates is how well you are able to perform on a certain test. As far as I'm concerned it's a mostly useless number.
  4. Jun 12, 2009 #3

    How could you say that a bought an IQ, It certainly it's not always accurate but it is still a good guess at a persons intelligence. If IQs didn't accurately measure a person’s intelligence how come some many physics have high IQs? You might want to read Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell in one part he explains the relation between success and IQ.

    Even though I am not a physicist I most likely will major in theoretical physics for college. My IQ is 150-160(Still trying to raise it though).

    Just a side note, I would say though that people in high IQ societies are snobby, never though of joining one never will.
  5. Jun 12, 2009 #4
    You should be aware that there are numerous tests out there which claim to measure IQ but don't follow any standards. Even among the tests which do follow standards, there are multiple standards so most numbers that people give you won't mean a whole lot unless people cite the test that they took.
  6. Jun 12, 2009 #5


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    Why do half of your post revolve around proving ones intelligence. You shouldnt based your life on how intelligent others perceive you.
  7. Jun 12, 2009 #6
    I don't think I've ever heard of a more useless way to spend ones time.
  8. Jun 12, 2009 #7


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    I'm about a year away from finishing my PhD in physics, and I don't know what my IQ is. And I would bet no physicist I know could tell you their IQ. The people who tend to take IQ tests and talk about their scores are the people who haven't accomplished much in their lives. Those who have proven their high intelligence - like people with PhDs - don't need to quote you a number to prove they're smart. They showed it with their lives. The people who tend to quote numbers are the ones who never did anything with that potential. Just my personal experience.

    Studies have shown that someone with a merely average intelligence (~100) probably won't go to college. 110 or so can get you through college, maybe 115 for a science degree. Those in grad school would be 120 or over, just going by statistics. A PhD in physics would be among the more difficult to obtain, so I think it's safe to assume anyone who got that far has an above average IQ. But from all I've read, it's not possible to raise your IQ - it's something intrinsic. You can raise your score on simple IQ tests by practicing logic problems, but that just goes to show what a poor measure of intelligence those tests are. And internet IQ tests can't be trusted at all, none of them.
  9. Jun 12, 2009 #8
    Actually, I've read that IQ scores do change, but it's usually with age and/or education level, and it's very difficult to do. I haven't read anything on this in a while, so my memory may be faulty.

    Anyway, I still agree that while an IQ score may be a good indicator of aptitude in whatever the IQ test is testing, it's far from a universal intelligence number.
  10. Jun 13, 2009 #9


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    Your can change as you get older the only thing that doesnt is the mean IQ which is only true because it is essentially defined that way.
  11. Jun 13, 2009 #10


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    My IQ is 4.0! I had a great semester.

    Wait what?

    I remember a few years back I was having a conversation with our department's chair and we were just casually talking about physicists and "smart people"'s intelligence. I brought up how this connection between PhD's and physicists and chemists and what have you and intelligence came about considering it felt at the time that it simply took a lot of work to become good at physics. He told me how he remembered a study of what society feels are the 'smart elite'. He said the study showed that people in "hard fields" or had their doctorates were very typical people, that is they were as prone to making very dumb decisions in their lives as normal people. I wish I could remember more about our conversation...

    Point is, you'll probably see a correlation but there's probably no actual connection between intelligence and being a physicist. Most likely it's societal, although I have to admit I know a lot of very dumb people who have or are trying to make it into the field.
  12. Jun 13, 2009 #11
    T.O.E. Dream, I am actually starting to get concerned about you. You are very, very fixated on intelligence as a measure of how good a physicist someone is or possibly using it to assess career possibilities. It's a crap way to measure anything besides one very artificial definition of 'intelligence' and please remember that though physicists may have high IQs correlation is NOT CAUSATION. Because physicists have high IQs doesn't mean that someone with an average IQ will be a bad physicist. It is also highly likely that in choosing and studying something such as physics, the skills tested by most IQ tests (logical thinking and problem solving) are built throughout the course of your college years so selecting physics based on your incoming IQ would be a fallacy.

    Also, the 'Criteria for Winning a Nobel Prize in Physics' thread is a little odd. Don't count your chickens before they hatch.
  13. Jun 13, 2009 #12
    Do not worry about your IQ. Worry about things you can actually do something about.

    Work hard. Then work harder.
  14. Jun 13, 2009 #13


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    Why don't we stop arguing about this. Just help the OP do his job and stop wasting his time. He didn't ask whether or not there is a correlation he just asked you to assist him get something done. F

    I would love to help but I'm no physics major...only engineering if that helps =\
  15. Jun 13, 2009 #14


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    What happened to do what you like? instead of worrying about doing something for the awards...

    Did you know there are physicist that decide to change career path? For example, Daniel McFadden (a physicist) decided to go into a economics because he liked it, and actually won a Nobel Prize in Economics. Another example is Gordon Newell, a physicist who made tons of huge contributions to the transportation system engineering field.

    Again I ask, what happened to finding a career you actually like?
  16. Jun 13, 2009 #15
    Like Eri, I'm a PhD student in physics, and I also have no idea what my IQ is. Unless IQ can be tested in some consistent way, I'm not sure the number means much. For what it's worth, I would probably score low on an IQ test, seeing as how I'm not so good when it comes to general knowledge, and I tend not to pick up on non-physics things very quickly.
  17. Jun 13, 2009 #16
    I find it ridiculous that scientists who otherwise strive for objectivity seem to loose the concepts when talking about intelligence. Even the great Richard Feynman failed this claiming he has a low IQ*, which is obviously not true considering he excelled academically and won math competitions already in his youth.

    I find it obvious that some people grasp facts and ideas considerably faster than others. Just like some run a mile faster than others. Why is it so hard to admit mental muscle? This issue seems more flawed than that of penis length. :wink:

    * I think it was during a military test that his IQ was found to be 121.
  18. Jun 13, 2009 #17
    I know Forrest Gump wasn't based on a true story, but you really shouldn't let your IQ decide what you can be. I personally don't know what my IQ was, but I started studying physics thinking it would kill me and I could always change my major to something easier. I have since found myself surprised at what I can do with a little work.

    IQ's don't mean **** if you aren't interested in what you are studying.
  19. Jun 13, 2009 #18
    Let me compare this with weightlifting. Those who become champions are the best from a very early point in their workout career, and it almost never happens that somebody spends 25 years of gradual progressing before he or she becomes the greatest. By training you just approach your own personal(probably genetic) limit, independent of how high it is.

    I insist that this is the case with mental activities as well. I can take myself as an example. Science is my absolutely biggest interest and I devote enormous amounts of time to it. Despite this I'm just slightly above average in my class.

    But I agree IQ shouldn't decide what you want to be, because thinking you're bad at something will only make it worse. It's seems very inherent in the human mind since no matter our actual talents we can always do better by having higher expectations.
  20. Jun 13, 2009 #19
    Can i clear things up? I hadn't asked if IQ really measures someone's intellegence or whether it'll decide what one will become. I have to conduct a survey but i quess i can't get it done. I mean you're free to discuss all that but can i get some data. I'm sorry if i sound like a jackass but i think you guys misinterped my original question. I was going to say i know that iq dosen't necessarily measure intellegence but that with draw a discussion away from my survey. So, we've all learnt that you could become good at something and whatever even if you don't have a high iq, but even with that can we focus on my survey?
  21. Jun 13, 2009 #20
    Alright, sorry for the off-topic.

    During a psychiatric evaluation done at 14 years of age I did some kind of IQ-test and was placed in the percentile corresponding to 135 and above.
  22. Jun 13, 2009 #21
    It was 125, just to be picky. Also he won New York University Math Championship in high school. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Feynman

    I think its better to think you have a low intelligence and work harder. I found a lot of people who think their very intelligent would slack off. The only people that are very concerned about IQs, that I found, are people around 16-17 with low marks yet they were in the "gifted class".
  23. Jun 13, 2009 #22


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    I think the point is that most people here don't have any data to share. IQ tests were originally designed to diagnose things like mental retardation to determine how well someone might be able to function in society. They aren't particularly accurate or meaningful in the higher ranges. And, when most people realize this and don't waste their time getting a properly administered IQ test, the few people who might respond with data are likely to fit into two categories:
    1) People who have not taken real IQ tests, just inaccurate, unvalidated online type tests for a quirk, and therefore are providing meaningless numbers (usually overinflated to convince them to buy something from the site giving the test), and
    2) Narcissistic people who have actually gotten a test done just so they can brag about their scores...and those narcissists aren't going to even admit they took a test unless they got a high score.

    So, basically, any data you got would be biased and skewed toward well above average numbers because those are the only people who care about IQ to know their scores.
  24. Jun 13, 2009 #23
    You can insist until you're blue in the face but slipshod comparisons between two incredibly unrelated disciplines still don't hold much water.
  25. Jun 13, 2009 #24


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    I'd say it's worse than that. They likely won't even tell the truth. Like the fishermen that have imagined catches that would swamp the boat before it got away.
  26. Jun 13, 2009 #25
    And then there's people like me, who simply go to grad school so we can get everyone to call us "doctor." :rofl:
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