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What makes the genius?

  1. Jul 27, 2004 #1
    There are many knowledgable people out there. Even really smart ones. But how would you define a genius. It seems the word is thrown around a little. Like nowadays someone might even call an idiot savant a genius when he has just seen one side (the only side in this case) of his intelligence. So what are the qualities of a true genius?
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  3. Jul 27, 2004 #2
    my own personal definition of a genius is someone who can learn things really fast and efficiently, regardless of what area of study it is. I also classify people who are really good at thinking "outside the box" a genius. I don't classify people who are walking calculators a genius if they can't put a reasonable sentence together. i would classify them something else. However, these are my own personal definitions, and common definiton probably varies
  4. Jul 27, 2004 #3
    those who shows a degree of insight that makes them the cutting edge in their field of study are those i consider to be geniuses.
  5. Jul 27, 2004 #4
    In addition to what Jim and devil-fire have mentioned, it is often said that the genius is one capable of making intuitive breakthroughs. IOW, it is one that can arrive at a very complex conclusion through intuition, without taking all the technical steps from the current level of knowledge to her/his conclusion.
  6. Jul 27, 2004 #5
    A genius is someone who can intellectually do what others cannot. And I don't mean someone who can think the fastest, learn the fastest and has the best memory. A genius has to be able to produce something that others cannot.
  7. Jul 28, 2004 #6


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    I knew a kid at my grade school who was written up in the local newspaper because he calculated the orbit for Comet Kouhtek. He was certainly quicker than the rest of us at learning things, and he loved coming up with games and puzzles. Some of the other kids called him "Mister Science." But it's funny, the guy couldn't spell worth beans.
  8. Jul 28, 2004 #7
    a genius, to me, not some one who knows facts, like how to calculate the distances of other galexies by using the doppler effect. it is a person who knows how to think, using creativity and logic togeather. who can, not think outside the box, but recongize that there is not box.
  9. Jul 28, 2004 #8
    Creativity + logic..thats what I say. Someone who has dominant creativity and dominant logic at the same time. But that leads to a lot of mental tension. It creates an anxious person, a person frustrated with himself. That is how I feel, that is why geniuses often suffer mental disorders.
    My problem is, then why is "Genius" said to be able to be defined by an IQ test. I dont trust IQ tests at all. Sure it can measure intelligence to an extent but a person can have a "gap" in their IQ from one day to the next. He could have a "bad" day.
    Shouldn't someone be working on a way to measure true genius taking into account the great multitude of intelligences out there?
  10. Aug 7, 2004 #9
    Actually there's so much work that goes into the really professional IQ tests, it's specifically designed in a way that minimizes questions that would throw scores from day to day. On a good IQ test, the same person tested multiple times will be within 3-4 points every time (assuming they're not intoxicated, etc)
  11. Aug 7, 2004 #10
    What if the person being tested isn't...good at tests?

    I'm awesome at tests, but I'm horrible at taking on large projects (academically). Some people are the opposite.

    I hate timed tests though. As I don't think they give me enough time to think everything through and give the best answer. In fact, I don't know why they time us. If someone takes 30 minutes more than everyone else, but gets 30 points higher on his score, does it matter?

    IQ tests also cannot predict artistic genius such as music or painting, AFAIK.
  12. Aug 7, 2004 #11


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    I would love to know how John Lennon would have tested. It is a fact that he was a pretty much a failure at school. Even art school, which should have been more to his liking, turned out to be a drag for him, and he stopped attending class. But he went on to a songwriting and performing career that certainly lives up to any reasonable standard of 'genius.'
  13. Aug 7, 2004 #12
    John Lennon isn't the only artistic genius that had trouble academically.

    Some authors nearly flunked out of school. The famous children writer, Avi, is an example:

    In elementary school I did well in science, but I was a poor writer. When I got to high school I failed all my courses. Then my folks put me in a small school which emphasized reading and writing. Even beyond that I needed special tutoring.

    http://www.avi-writer.com/aboutAvi.html [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 1, 2017
  14. Aug 8, 2004 #13
    IQ tests measure intellectual capability*; not artistic capability. This is a design aspect, not a flaw.

    *i.e. a person with a 120 IQ who works extremely hard can be 'smarter' and know more than a person with a 140 IQ who does absolutely nothing to develop their ability.
  15. Aug 9, 2004 #14
    Most so called "musical geniuses" are not geniuses unless they know wot their music and each chord progression, chord and note is doing in the song. They do not consider every single thing. It just seems good because it sounds good. I do not believe John Lennon to be a musical genius and am sorry if u r offended by this. I consider the classical artists only to be true "musical geniuses" as they saw the meaning in every note.
  16. Aug 11, 2004 #15
    I still don't buy that IQ tests can fully measure intellectual capacity. There are so many other factors involved. For example, someone may have a certain anxiety and not do well under pressure, but if he is studying not under pressure he can absorb more than someone who may score higher on the same IQ test.
    Most people have either stronger creative nerworking in their brain or stronger logic. Creativity does not, however, always imply artistic. Artistic ability falls under the creative category. Likewise, not all people with strong logical ability are good at the same things. The human mind is too complex for the human mind to fully understand. I just think that IQ tests measure a certain intellectual brain function without taking into account other abilities or hinderances which also affect scoring.
  17. Aug 15, 2004 #16
    Genius doesn't equal high IQ

    I always find it strange how people put so much emphasis on high IQ, but I believe that in the sciences you need something other than just a high IQ, think about it.

    Did Einstein have the highest IQ have the highest IQ both in the physics world and in the world in general?? Probably, not yet his contributions are more important than the the person with the highest IQ in the world and the person with the highest IQ in the physics world, at that time.

    Did Schrodinger have the highest IQ both in the physics world and in the world in general?? Probably not, yet he developed the basics of quantum mechanics, a contribution more important than the person with the highest IQ at that time, both in the physics world and the in the world in general.

    Does Andrew Wiles have the highest IQ?? Probably not, yet he proved a conjecture that stumped some of the greatest mathematical minds in history, probably including people with higher IQ's than his!!!!

    Despite the abundance of geniuses in the sciences many of the most fundemental questions and problems go unsolved, why??? Why isn't string theory fully formulated yet, why haven't we found a cure for at least certain types of cancer, why do so many math conjectures go unproved???? Why can't high IQ people solve these problems for us???

    I believe to become a true genius you need to be born at the right place in the world, to be born at the right time in history, to have the right idea at the right time, and to have an IQ high enough to develop your idea within a reasonable amount of time.

    A high IQ isn't enough, most high IQ people alive today will probably not solve any great problems, or contribute something original and we will probably never hear of them again.

    John G.
  18. Aug 15, 2004 #17


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    They all three had enormously high IQ's. You can't give me an example of somebody with a low IQ who did comparable work in math/physics. The "highest in the world" requirement is a straw man.

    To say that other qualities are required doesn't amount to much because the one quality that can't be eliminated is IQ (or more accurately, g).
  19. Aug 15, 2004 #18

    Just how do you know the IQ's of those individuals?? Where is your data, can I analyze or see it??

    Einstein Never took an IQ test:


    Just how do you know he had a super high IQ??

    My point was IQ is necessary but NOT SUFFICIENT, even if you control for enviornment and timing issues.

    Thought Example:

    You and your lower IQ friend are working on fully formulating string theory, you want to make it background independent, no one knows how to do this. You are at the end of your ropes, you don't know how to proceed, or what to do. You're friend has an intution about the background independence of string theory, it turns out to be the KEY IDEA to making string theory background independent. Despite your higher IQ it was your friend who developed the solution.

    You can have a high IQ but if you don't have the correct idea at the right time you won't be making any original contributions. So in a way the idea is more important than IQ, though IQ is still necessary.
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2004
  20. Aug 15, 2004 #19
    Creativity and imagination surely play a big factor in genius as well. There was an individual with a 115 IQ who did something significant with DNA, I believe he discovered it. He won the Nobel prize for this as well. This is all true if memory serves me correctly.

    Einstein's brain looks as if he had an abnormality which made him better in specific areas such as Physics. Overall I think great things can be accomplished with a somewhat above average IQ, hard work, and creativity. Groups of people working together to accomplish a goal seems to be happening more today. That's a good thing I'd say.
  21. Aug 16, 2004 #20

    "To win a Nobel Prize is no big deal, but to win it with an IQ of 125, now that's something." - Richard Feynman

    While this is a full standard deviation above the mean, it is far lower than that of Einstein et. al.
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