Social Question

nope's avatar

Who's the smartest person you know?

Asked by nope (1773 points ) March 15th, 2010

…and why do you think that? I grew up in a family where my mother was definitely the smartest person, in the whole world. At least, that was her opinion, and I fear it still is. I went through a period in my life where I thought I was the smartest person I knew…but I’ve definitely gotten over that.

I know a lot of smart people, and they’re all smart for different reasons. My dad, rest his soul, is my favorite smart person, because not only was he every bit as smart as my mother, he was quiet and spiritual about it. He used his brilliance to help make other people shine. He was personally responsible for most of the good person that I am (or believe myself to be). One of the smartest, yet kindest, most generous people I’ve ever had the privilege of knowing.

How about you?

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69 Answers

talljasperman's avatar

Me..because I’m happy…and not drowning in my own ignorance like the rest of my family social circle.

malevolentbutticklish's avatar

I knew a Manx (from the Isle of Man) individual who probably fits this description. I don’t want to insert his name into a Googleable forum.

Jeruba's avatar

Among many smart friends and relations, I have three or four friends who I think are stratospherically smart. I also think that both my sons are brilliant, in totally different ways, and that probably both of them outshine my (extremely intelligent) husband and me.

free_fallin's avatar

In college I met a guy who had a perfect score on the SAT and was transferring to MIT the next semester. He was very intelligent but lacked common sense. I have several friends and family members I consider above average with their intelligence.

susanc's avatar

My friends Llyn, Marilyn and Sally Pie are brilliant, especially when they’re all in the same room.

Jeruba's avatar

800 on the SAT is not a perfect score. It’s just the highest score they give. When three members of my high school senior class got 800s, the teachers took pains to remind everyone that they were not perfect.

malevolentbutticklish's avatar

@Jeruba: 1600 or 2400 is the highest (depending on test date).

Jeruba's avatar

800 on a single test.

davidbetterman's avatar

The guy who created the Universe, of course.

free_fallin's avatar

@Jeruba He made a 1600, which at that time, was the highest score one could get.

sarahboreal's avatar

my grandmother.

aprilsimnel's avatar

My friend Andrew F. I believe he’s smart because he’s curious and empathetic, and it causes him to want to know about things and people. He can synthesize what he knows and make connections between ideas and things and so on. Just a clever chap, wot?

And at this point in his life he’s forgotten more than I’ll ever come to learn, never mind his dual Master’s degrees from that school up in Cambridge, MA.

filmfann's avatar

My daughter is remarkably smart. She learns things amazingly easy, and is able to use that knowledge in ways no one expects. When she gets a few more years of life, she will be a force to be reckoned with.

iam2smart99037's avatar

Definitely my mother. Between the two of us, we know everything :)

lillycoyote's avatar

My friend Nick is probably the smartest person I know but he also has an incredible memory, so It’s not always that he’s so much smarter than I am, but that he can store more facts, information and data in his brain than I can. At least that’s what I tell myself when slaughters me in a debate. :) My dad was pretty smart too, very left-brained though. He had a Ph.D. in physical chemistry and was a very good chemist, but his real genius was his incredible problem solving mind. It’s kind of hard to describe the way his mind worked. If he couldn’t fix it, it couldn’t be fixed and if you had some sort of mechanical, electronic, or logistical problem he would have some solution for it. The solution might have been unconventional, but it would certainly work.

nope's avatar

@aprilsimnel Thank you! You’re the first Flutherer to tell me the WHY.

malevolentbutticklish's avatar

@lillycoyote: I know a number of people who have gotten 1600/2400 on their SAT (including my little brother) and they are generally smart. However, I believe that good memory isn’t really the same as being “smart”. You could have a photographic memory and be a dullard.

ragingloli's avatar

Not sure. One of my former Gymnasium teachers, I guess.

J0E's avatar

Probably my Grandpa, I don’t know many things he can’t figure out. As far as Fluther peeps go, probably Ivan and Allie. Both are waaaaay smarter than me.

nope's avatar

@malevolentbutticklish I’m pretty sure those scores are the added together scores….like in my day, it used to be the literary test, and the math test, and you could get 800 on either. Added together, they could get to 1600. 800 for each individual test.

Coloma's avatar

There is no perfect measuring stick for intelligence.

Does the moon compare itself to the sun, the Oak to the pine?

There are hundreds of different intelligences….think not for a moment you are all that!

lillycoyote's avatar

@malevolentbutticklish That, actually, was kind of my point. A good memory certainly isn’t the same as being smart, but intelligence backed up with a mind that is your own personal reference library can be a lethal combination.

nope's avatar

@Coloma I never asked who was the most intelligent person you know. I’m not looking for fact here, just your opinion. Smart can mean many things.

lillycoyote's avatar

And @nope were you speaking to me or to @malevolentbutticklish? I believe he, or she perhaps was the one reference standardized test scores.

nope's avatar

@lillycoyote Yeah. My bad. Fixed it.

Coloma's avatar

@nope

Your assumption is understood.

Jeruba's avatar

@free_fallin, highest score, yes. Perfect, no. You can get answers wrong and still make the highest score.

YARNLADY's avatar

As I’ve said everytime this question comes up, my husband is not only the smartest person I know, but one of the smartest people in the world today.

lillycoyote's avatar

@nope re: your comment to @Coloma “I never asked who was the most intelligent person you know…” I’m confused. Isn’t that exactly what you asked?

nikipedia's avatar

I know this isn’t what you’re looking for, but I honestly couldn’t say. I am surrounded by so many mind-blowingly brilliant people that I couldn’t possibly rank them. Once you get beyond a certain point of intelligence, it becomes nearly impossible to distinguish.

My first boyfriend (and still good friend) is a brilliant mathematician with a natural curiosity for the world. I have never seen him fail to solve a math or physics problem, and he collects and synthesizes information like breathing oxygen. My professors and classmates are phenomenal scientists who can understand complex problems and see their solutions in moments. My roommate understands subtleties and sees connections in words and behavior that I would never have imagined existed. And that doesn’t even cover the people I know who have seemingly infinite repositories of knowledge. These people all continue to amaze me every day.

nope's avatar

@nikipedia Thanks for taking the time to answer, that is actually along the lines of what I was looking for. I don’t really care about SAT scores, and all that. Don’t even care where a person went to college or university. Me, I scored high, I went to a great school, who cares? It’s the IQ, sure, but only when added to that intangible human quality that makes a smart person smart, in my mind, at least in terms of what I want to hear about. And unfortunately, I realize I may not have asked my question as well as I really wanted to.

Thanks again.

free_fallin's avatar

@nope It wasn’t about the SAT score for me, it’s about the guy. He knew much more than I did. I could barely keep up with his conversations but he did lack some common sense.

nope's avatar

@free_fallin So was he SMART? Who do you turn to when you need advice on a complex problem?

free_fallin's avatar

@nope Um, yes he is smart. I’m not sure where you’re trying to go here. I go to different people for different things, but he is the smartest person I know because he can answer any question I throw at him.

Just_Justine's avatar

I don’t see any one as being overly smart. However, I do respect certain people who are smart in their field. My boss is very smart in her field. She also has a very good sense of professionalism. Which I admire.

malevolentbutticklish's avatar

@Just_Justine: Some people are smarter than others in a broad sense without an “in their field” qualifier.

Just_Justine's avatar

@malevolentbutticklish I know, I was talking about my life.

Nullo's avatar

An old school friend of mine. His IQ was measured at around 198, and that was in third grade. As often happens with high-performance brains, he’s a tad unstable.
I had a friend in high school whose wattage was somewhat lower (though high enough to nail a perfect score on the ACT), and correspondingly more stable.

Coloma's avatar

198, 3rd grade…no spontanious combustion?

Kid didn’t torch the school bewteen tests?

Remarkable! lol

Neizvestnaya's avatar

My best friend.

Nullo's avatar

@Coloma They knew to keep an eye on him, redirect that energy. He has ADHD on top of it all. :D
We’d build spaceships, play Star Wars or Pirates or Legos, or all of those at once and more. We tried to make a language once.

escapedone7's avatar

Personally, I’m an idiot. Everybody seems smart to me. Like other people have mentioned there are a lot of different ways of being smart though. I’ve known people who could do differential equations in their head. I’ve known people with masters degrees in physics. I know people who are able to observe things in the world around them others miss, connect data other people don’t consider connecting (like the author of Freakonomics). There are people with spectacular gifts in a particular area such as Mozart or Monet.

However, the smartest person I know, is a little chubby elderly woman named Christy. She doesn’t have a degree in anything. She is a messy clutter bug and I can barely get through her house. She doesn’t even know what a differential equation is, and will never astound you with a conversation about philosophy, chaos theory, or quantum mechanics.

What Christy knows, that astounds me, is people. She can read people almost instantly. She has an eerie ability to get inside other people’s heads. Whenever I visit her it is about my problems with other people. I don’t understand people. They baffle me. She understands people’s motives. She accurately predicts what they are going to do next and is almost always right. I go to her describing a situation, a person from work or a new boyfriend, and she nods as if she suddenly sees the light. “Ahhh. I know that type. He’s going to try to control you.” She’s always right!

Visiting Christy is like visiting the Oracle on the Matrix. She rarely leaves her little house so I feel like I’m visiting the guru on a hill. Still, she is so uncanny with her ability to understand other people, that I think she should be an FBI profiler or something.

Disaster_Porn's avatar

Anyone who has a lot of money they must have done something right…

augustlan's avatar

@escapedone7 You are definitely not an idiot. :)

I know quite a few smart people, but the one who has impressed me most of all is a member here, Harp. He not only knows his stuff, he sees the world in a beautiful way. Browse his questions and answers and you’ll see what I mean. He also made the harp in his avatar pic! Just a remarkable man, IMO. Sadly (for us), he’s taking a hiatus from Fluther at the moment.

malevolentbutticklish's avatar

@Disaster_Porn: This is an insightful comment and is largely correct if we restrict it to people who earned their money in business. Some people get lucky but most earn it.

ratboy's avatar

@Disaster_Porn, it’s more likely that they did something wrong.

chels's avatar

Not to be oh so cliché but.. my boyfriend. Seriously.

malevolentbutticklish's avatar

@chels: Why isn’t cursebird one use of a general-purpose application that allows the user to monitor any list of keywords?

chamelopotamus's avatar

I credit my emotional and analytical capacity to my mother. She has a clear understanding of herself, and a relatively clear understanding of me lol.

I know a lot of smart people who have done nothing with their intelligence, and a few not-as-intelligent people who at least have the smarts to do something with what they do have. Im the only smart person I know who has motivation to do something with it. I like stimulating the muscle, using it! Talking! The other smart people I know favor escapism, watching TV, and not talking, its sad. And when they do “philosophize” they know it all, and don’t like listening or exchanging. The worst scenario is a smart person who keeps it all in, and then tries to dump it all on one person.

But I never say never, everyone has their own path and their own learning curve, they’ll learn eventually :) They help me to avoid my own tendencies to be closed minded, cause when I see it in them I see they are wasting it.

absalom's avatar

Everyone is a genius.

phoebusg's avatar

Smart people have no real reason to show it off, so you never really know. He who speaks it may not be, and he who speaks not could be.

Pandora's avatar

My father. Not because he had a high IQ or something that most people equate with genius but because he lived life fully in the quiet moments and big moments with equal joy.
He lived his life in every moment as a blessing and he was great at sharing it with others.
To me, nothing is smarter than being able to succeed in happiness.

AnetM's avatar

My husband

LostInParadise's avatar

I have come to realize that intelligence comes in many forms. I am an academic by inclination, if not by profession, so I naturally look up to those who are knowledgeable in areas that interest me. As an over-educated geek with a severe lack of social skills, I have come to admire those who have a facility for dealing with people and always seem to know the right thing to say. I am a big picture person who does not like getting involved with details. I have a respect for those on the opposite end, who can soak up and organize reams of information without caring particularly about what kinds of patterns are to be found.

I do not find it possible to single out one person as the smartest.

blueknight73's avatar

my wife, without question. not only does she have a PHD in nursing, but she has tons of common sense

Sophief's avatar

My dad used to be. But now I would say my partner. I look to him for a lot. He is very intelligent and wise.

Disaster_Porn's avatar

@ratboy Ah yes but that does not make them dumb now does it?

Coloma's avatar

In my experience there can often be a huge disparity between the more intelligent when it comes to temprament and personality style.

The more extraverted possess a better social skill set, while often the more introverted are the exact opposite, socially awkward and reticent.

I’m the type to make friends wherever I go. Very open, humorous, playful.

I have stopped dating a very intelligent man because of the disparity in our social abilities, desires. While a good match intellectually the blend socially was an oil & water mismatch.

richardhenry's avatar

The smartest person I know is my girlfriend, duh!

@malevolentbutticklish It will be, we’re releasing something called Factory within the next few weeks that allows you to track any set of terms on Twitter Search. Also, random! ;)

malevolentbutticklish's avatar

@richardhenry: Thanks. Please send me a message once it is up and running.

monocle's avatar

The smartest person I know also happens to be the weirdest person I know.

YARNLADY's avatar

@mattbrowne How do you know Marilyn vos Savant?

mattbrowne's avatar

@YARNLADY – Of course I don’t know her personally. I think she was mentioned in an article about intelligence I read a couple of years ago.

downtide's avatar

My partner. He knows a lot of stuff about a lot of stuff, he’s also very quick at figuring things out. Brilliant logical mind. Makes me feel completely thick sometimes.

lillycoyote's avatar

@mattbrowne Marylin Vos Savant is a very famous smart person, with a very famous IQ but how “smart” is she really? How does her intelligence or her kind of intelligence translate into “brain power?” I don’t really know exactly how to express what I’m going for here. Maybe I don’t know much about her but in terms of intelligence, her brain seems to be good for not a whole lot more than doing “smart person” parlor tricks, rather than having a holistic, integrated intelligence that is useful, insightful, meaningful, etc. Not that really smart people have an obligation to be useful, but she has just always seemed to me to be more like a trained seal than a genius.

YARNLADY's avatar

@lillycoyote—She makes her living doing what she does best, writing. She has studied philosophy, but has been an author, playwright and journalist most of her life. She is married to a famous doctor, and together they participate in many philanthropic activities.

mattbrowne's avatar

Yes, Rainman didn’t win the Nobel Prize either. Actually a better definition of smart includes a high EQ as well. I totally agree with you @lillycoyote.

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