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Big Bang Theory: The IQs Of The Main Characters
2023/07/03

The majority of the characters on The Big Bang Theory spend the show's 12 season-run bragging about how smart they are, but are they the true "geniuses" that they claim to be? Is Penny as "dumb" as the show hints, or are there some discrepancies between perception and reality? While not everyone's IQ is above average, intelligence comes in many different forms and these individuals have demonstrated how quick-thinking they are in a variety of situations. While Sheldon Cooper's IQ has been boasted and applauded, the likes of Howard, Raj, and Leonard could have easily done the same.

As seen in the show, just because a person has a genius-level IQ did not mean they were necessarily the smartest. Everyone's IQ differs, just like each Big Bang Theory character's personality. It is important to note that only two of The Big Bang Theory characters' IQs are ever explicitly stated, so the rest of the numbers are approximations based on achievements and behavior. It is also important to note that the traditional IQ is not an accurate predictor of intelligence or success. Many things go into what makes a person "smart," and IQ is only one small element of that.

12 Mary Cooper

IQ Score: 95

Sheldon Cooper has matured a lot since his childhood, and his mother Mary has had to try and keep up with his many quirky traits from Young Sheldon to The Big Bang Theory. It takes an incredibly intelligent woman to bring up someone with the brainpower of Sheldon Cooper, although Mary would likely rank around 95 despite being far from unintelligent. What Mary lacks regarding direct knowledge, she more than makes up for in common sense and practical thinking. In many ways, she's far wiser than most of the scientists in the show, as her experiences have forged a quick-thinking and influential character. Young Sheldon does show her struggle to keep up, but she is smarter than her husband, George.

11 Stuart Bloom

IQ Score: 100

Stuart might hang out with some of the smartest people in the country, but he doesn't quite match up to them intellectually. Some of the best The Big Bang Theory scenes were shown in the comic book store, proving Stuart is far from dim-witted. However, he has been running his comic book store into the ground for many years, without any signs of savvy business sense.

He is caring and incredibly kind, having looked after both Howard's mother and the Wolowitz children. He can be a bit slow on the uptake though and doesn't have the same level of education that the others were afforded. Ultimately the many mistakes in Stuart's life say something about his decision-making processes and how long it takes to learn from those mistakes.

10 Bert Kibbler

IQ Score: 110

Bert is incredibly skilled in his very specific field. He knows geology inside out and can contribute a lot to both the university and the field in general. He has a brilliant level of education and his talents allow him to rise to the top of the industry. Outside these gifts, Bert is perhaps slower thinking than most of the main characters. While Bert has had memorable quotes as a side character, he's gullible and easily confused. Bert does occasionally utter words of wisdom, and in many ways, he's on the same level as Penny, just with a slightly different skill set.

9 Penny

IQ Score: 110

Though Kaley Cuoco's Penny is often written off (in terms of intelligence) for not being a genius scientist like the rest of her friends, that does not mean that she has nothing to bring to the table. Penny is clever and resourceful. She can find ways to keep herself afloat while trying to become an actress, and when that doesn't pan out, she discovers that she is incredibly capable as a pharmaceutical rep.

She is of slightly above average intelligence, which places her around 110 (via Medicine Net). She may not have the kind of brainy hobbies that the guys do, but she is quick to learn and adapt, and she has intellectual flexibility that is impressive. It would be fair to point out that Penny's emotional intelligence is far higher than those around her, as they tend to be quite book-smart but rather awkward in social situations. Sheldon would hate to admit it, but Penny is far from dumb.

8 Beverly Hofstadter

IQ Score: 120

Beverly and Leonard have had horrible mother-and-son moments on The Big Bang Theory. Because she's a trained psychologist and a published author, she used her son for experiments often. She earns her living reading people and is one of the few individuals Sheldon respects, thanks to her straightforward and logical brain. She often doesn't think with any emotional response, which is both a strength and a weakness. Beverly couldn't achieve some of the things that the rest of the main characters have, however, her level of intelligence demonstrates why she is so influential in her field and why she continued to prosper.

7 Howard Wolowitz

IQ Score: 140

Howard is a genius, there is no doubt about that. He is a brilliant engineer, went to space, and went to one of the best schools in the country. He can build robots for fun and even has an advanced degree. He knows what he is doing and has confidence in his ability to excel in his field. Because Sheldon m locked him for not having his doctorate, Howard needed to prove him wrong on The Big Bang Theory. But, it went to show that Howard didn't need a doctorate to prove that he was smart.

Howard did make several concerning mistakes throughout the series that do hint towards a lack of common sense. He does establish that most engineers do not get doctorates, which makes a difference, but he also doesn't seem to speak about the kind of childhood 'gifted' programs that many of the others do. Sheldon also routinely considers him the most unintelligent of the group, which is far from the truth.

6 Bernadette Rostenkowski-Wolowitz

IQ Score: 160

Bernadette develops drugs and medications for a big-time pharmaceutical company. She, like most of the characters, has a Ph.D. and is a genius who can hold her own in the sciences and become one of the brightest minds in her industry. Though the sheer amount of geniuses within the The Big Bang Theory cast may dull the shine of her accomplishments, it is important to note that in any other series, Bernadette would be the obvious "brain." Her emotional intelligence leaves something to be desired though. Bernadette is behind several big lifestyle changes for the characters, but her delivery and demeanor need a bit of work as she can be rather harsh at times.

5 Barry Kripke

IQ Score: 170

Barry Kripke may as well be one of the more underrated characters on The Big Bang Theory. It's somewhat difficult to understand how intelligent Barry is considering he is surrounded by exceptional talents. He is highly regarded within the university and is a personal rival of Sheldon, which suggests he is of superior intellect. In regard to his discoveries, he hasn't quite managed to have the same breakthroughs that the likes of Leonard, Raj, Amy, or Sheldon have mustered. Regardless, he is a bright scientist with a big future.

4 Leonard Hofstadter

IQ Score: 173

Leonard is one of the few characters in the main cast of The Big Bang Theory whose IQ is directly mentioned in the show at 173. This places him firmly at the high end of "genius," although he refuses to think of himself as that smart because his parents consider his siblings more accomplished than him. It also doesn't help that Sheldon likes to point out that he is more intelligent than his friend.

Leonard is a respected scientist in his field, has received several accolades for his work, has written many papers (some of which he even presented), and is one of the most brilliant minds in the country. He has a doctorate, published papers, and gives presentations on his work at conferences. Leonard proves time and time again that he is almost intellectually unrivaled.

3 Raj Koothrappali

IQ Score: 175

While Raj's IQ is never mentioned directly, Sheldon does make it clear several times that he believes that Raj is more intelligent than Leonard. Raj is a brilliant astrophysicist who has been celebrated for his contributions to the field, he made People Magazine's 30-Under-30 People to Watch list, he has discoveries credited to his name, and he has even worked with Sheldon. Raj has plenty of quirks on The Big Bang Theory, and he does struggle socially and is known for putting his foot in his mouth, but he is truly intelligent in a traditional way. He is one of the smartest in the series — even if that is overshadowed by his socially awkward personality.

2 Amy Farrah Fowler

IQ Score: 180

Though Amy's IQ is never explicitly stated in the show, it is possible to assume that she is one of the group's more brilliant members. Her studies and experiments in neuroscience are impressive, she understands how to communicate with Sheldon in a way that makes him feel understood and comfortable, and at the end of the series, she receives one of the highest accolades a person in her field can hope to achieve.

One wonderful thing about Amy is that, unlike the rest of the group, she has been able to master several types of intelligence; including both traditional and emotional. She knows how to communicate openly and honestly with those around her in a way that makes them feel seen and heard, and she also happens to be a Nobel Prize winner. When people ask "What's Sheldon's IQ?" they should really be asking about Amy's.

1 Sheldon Cooper

IQ Score: 187

Jim Parsons' Sheldon is one of the few characters whose IQ is directly stated on the show. He is truly a genius, and Sheldon Cooper's IQ literally proves it. He attended college at the age of 11 (as seen in Young Sheldon), is brilliant enough to avoid being fired for his inappropriate actions, and of course, is a Nobel Prize winner. The most complex/brain-busting scientific theories are nothing to him and, as a consequence, he has a rather unfortunate habit of seeing himself as above other people.

In terms of emotional intelligence, Sheldon is sadly lacking – even after 12 seasons of character development. Much of the reasons for this are shown in Young Sheldon, as his childhood was full of sad and disappointing moments. However, even as a child, Sheldon proved he was the smartest person in the room, even when matched up with kids deemed his equals. For sheer brainpower, Sheldon may well be one of the smartest men in the entire world, much less in The Big Bang Theory.

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