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Quotients & Reminders…

Intelligence Quotient (IQ) is basically a score derived from a set of standardised tests, developed to measure a person’s cognitive abilities (or intelligence) in relation to their age group. Not all have the same level of IQ. While some have less, others have more of it. Naturally, scientists and polymaths – like Albert Einstein and Isaac Newton – have much higher level of IQ than the common people.

Well, there was a person with a higher level of IQ than even Einstein and Newton… however, he was not a successful man as far as his career was concerned. Many have not even heard his name. William James Sidis (April 1, 1898 – July 17, 1944), a child prodigy from the United States of America with exceptional mathematical and linguistic skills, was born in Boston. Einstein’s IQ was 160, Newton’s 190, while that of Leonardo da Vinci’s IQ was 180. Indeed, they were successful people. Interestingly, Sidis’ IQ was 260… much higher than those three renowned personalities!


Sidis’ parents had arrived in the US from Ukraine as refugees. While his father, Boris, was a Psychologist, his mother, Sara, was a doctor. Since his childhood, Sidis exhibited a remarkable level of intelligence. He managed to learn eight languages, including English, Latin, French, German, Russian, Hebrew, Turkish and Armenian, at the age of eight. His father had Sidis enrolled in the Harvard University when he was just 11 years old. In the history of Harvard University, he is the youngest student to get admitted.

Within a month, his teachers realised that Sidis was an exceptionally talented student of Mathematics. He was also allowed to deliver lectures on different subjects at the University, and was considered a ‘wonder boy’. However, he chose to pursue a Bachelor’s Degree in Arts at the age of 16. Unfortunately, a group of students used to bully him unnecessarily on a regular basis, and that ultimately prompted him to leave the University. The young Sidis joined the Rice Institute in Texas as a teacher of mathematics. He had to quit the job as most of his students there were older than him. During this period, Sidis had penned some books.

His life changed drastically when he was a little older. As Sidis preferred to live alone, he decided not to get married. He was arrested in 1919 for taking part in anti-WWI rally in Boston. After spending 18 months in prison, he once again started staying alone.

Even he decided not get associated with Research Works. Sidis passed away at the age of 46. Alas! The Global Community forgot the personality with exceptional IQ soon after his demise…

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