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Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Smarter than Einstein? In what sense?

Einstein in 1921    (Public Domain)
Kudos to Lydia Sebastian, a 12-year-old who recently scored higher than Albert Einstein (and Stephen Hawking, to boot) on a Mensa IQ test.

The Economic Times reports that she “achieved the highest possible score of 162” on this exam, whereas the IQs of
Einstein and Hawking are allegedly only (italics mine) 160 each.

Nevertheless, does this make Sebastian any smarter than these renowned physicists?  It seems that the answer to this would depend upon the challenge at hand.

For example, Sebastian “has been playing the violin since aged four.”  Perhaps her musical intelligence far exceeds that of either physicist.

Intelligence seems to be quite multifaceted, as proposed by Howard Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences.  One woman’s genius might be another man’s learning curve.

Yet, calling one person “smarter” than another might need quite a bit of qualifying explanation.  Besides, such overall judgments are often more debilitating than they are uplifting.


Copyright September 9, 2015 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved

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