World-Famous Figures Who Shaped History, Ranked By IQ

Who comes to mind when you think of the world’s greatest geniuses? Is it Stephen Hawking — or maybe Albert Einstein? Well, it turns out that plenty of others can be described this way, and some may take you by surprise. We all know that intelligence comes in different shapes and sizes, but IQ tests are a pretty useful way to put a number on it. A score of 140 or more tends to indicate that a person is a genius — and countless big names from history fall into this category. We’re not just talking about distinguished scientists and thinkers, either. Some A-list celebrities even crop up on this comprehensive list of brainy historical figures! But who sits at number one?

40. Arnold Schwarzenegger: 132

Arnold Schwarzenegger had incredible successes in the worlds of bodybuilding and Hollywood acting, but the star also forged a significant political career for himself. Over an eight-year period from 2003 he was California’s governor – perhaps the clearest indicator of the star’s sheer determination when he sets his mind to something. It probably helps that he has a far-above-average IQ, which, according to CBS News, comes in at 132.

39. Madonna: 140

There’s no doubt that Madonna helped to revolutionize the music industry forever. Across her decades-spanning career, she’s reinvented herself countless times and set the bar for what pop stars can achieve. Unsurprisingly, Madonna is reported to have quite a sharp mind and has in the past claimed to have an IQ of 140.

38. Geena Davis: 140

Geena Davis has done a lot in her life. The Hollywood star has famously picked up an Oscar, but she’s also a skilled archer and a notable activist concerned with making the media industry more equal. She’s even in Mensa – an organization for people with abnormally high IQs. According to, Davis’ is 140.

37. Tony Hawk: 144

Few would argue with the assertion that Tony Hawk is the most important person to ever take up skateboarding. It was a pursuit he mastered partly thanks to his high energy levels as a teenager. CBS News notes that Hawk’s IQ is 144, and the sportsman clearly exhibited his intellect as a child. And his parents apparently supported his skateboarding obsession so he had something to focus his unique mind on.