Brainiac: Top Ten Smartest People of All Time

Growing up, you may have been told it’s not cool to be a “nerd.” Well, we’ve got 10 people who would beg to differ. These 10 smartest people of all time are not only incredibly accomplished, but they’re also insanely smart. Check out the full list below.

Number Ten: Carl Gauss. A child prodigy who is now considered to be the greatest German mathematician of all time, Carl Gauss had an estimated IQ between 250 and 300. Gauss was particularly adept in the study of electromagnetism.

Number Nine: Thomas Young. English physicist Thomas Young had an IQ between 185 and 200. He studied physiology, light, vision and language, and he was also one of the main people to help decipher the Rosetta Stone.

Number Eight: Gottfried Leibniz. Good old Gottfried Leibniz may have a questionable taste in hairstyle, but he was a celebrated German philosopher and logician – not to mention he invented differential and integral calculus. Who has time for hair when you’re busy doing that?

Number Seven: Nicolaus Copernicus. Copernicus is perhaps most famous for discovering the heliocentric model of the universe, but he did much more. This cool guy wrote a book called De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium, which delves heavily into astronomy. In fact, the book was banned by the Church for nearly three centuries after he died.

Number Six: Rudolf Clausius. Boasting an IQ between 190 and 205, Rudolf Clausius was a German physicist and mathematician who formulated the second law of thermodynamics, which states that in any cyclic process, entropy will either increase or stay the same. Clausius also coined the term “entropy,” which is a measure of the universe’s disorder.

Number Five: James Maxwell. James Maxwell would fit right in in Brooklyn. The Scottish mathematical physicist formulated the classical theory of electromagnetic radiation and boasts an IQ between 190 and 205. He is also associated with laying the foundations for quantum theory and was well-respected by Einstein.

Number Four: Isaac Newton. Isaac Newton is one of the most popular people on our list, and rightly so. Not only did Newton create the law of gravitation, but he also wrote Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica, which some believe is the most important book in science.

Number Three: Leonardo da Vinci. Leonardo da Vinci was the world’s first renaissance man. A painter, architect, sculptor, musician, engineer, mathematician, inventor, anatomist, geologist, botanist, writer and cartographer, da Vinci was surely never bored. Though he crafted tomes of architectural designs, da Vinci was a famous procrastinator and rarely followed through with all of his ideas.

Number Two: Albert Einstein. Perhaps the most iconic symbol for genius, Einstein is truly deserving of his spot on this list. The German theoretical physicist created the mass-energy equivalence formula, which is quite possibly the world’s most famous equation. He had an IQ between 205 and 225.

Number One: Johann Goethe. We finish on a strong note with German polymath Johann Goethe. Goethe founded the science of human chemistry and developed one of the first theories for evolution. His work is still studied today – particularly, his poem titled “Faust,” which is taught in high schools the world over.