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Roe (1952) Study of the Most Eminent US-Born Scientists

Data crunched from chapter XII of The Making of a Scientist by Anne Roe, 1952.

Roe gave the 64 scientists tests produced with the help of the ETS (Educational Testing Service). These tests were also given to some students who also had to take Stanford-Binet IQ tests. The students' scores were used as a conversion guide for the scientists' scores. The three groups studied could be roughly categorized as biologists, physical scientists and social scientists. It is important to note that the math IQ scores were calculated by excluding the physical scientists, because the math test was not hard enough for them. Also notice that it is unlikely that any one scientist got the lowest (or highest) scores on each of the three areas, and therefore, it is unlikely that the average low and high scores were achieved by any particular person.

Flynn Effect size calculation for Roe study:

Presumed revision date of Stanford-Binet Test used: 1937 (the last revision before 1952). Current revision date: 1986. Stanford-Binet Flynn Effect size per year: 0.32 IQ. (1986-1937)*0.32 = 16 points, rounded.

IQs of 64 of the Most Eminent US-Born Scientists (1952)

Original IQ Scores: Flynn Effect Corrected Scores:
Low Median High Low Median High
verbal 121 166 177 105 150 161
spatial 123 137 164 107 121 148
math 128 154 194 112 138 178
averages 124 152 178 108 136 162

For comparison:

- "For persons who went on to take a Ph.D. Wrenn found a median IQ of 141" (Roe, 1952, p.164). Those individuals would have gotten 125 in 1986 tests.

- Linus Pauling had a [rumoured leaked] IQ of 170. Pauling was a double Nobel Prize winner and would have surely won another one for discovering the structure of DNA if the US State Department had not prevented him from going to England to look at the crystallographic data Watson and Crick had.  

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