What Was Galileo’s IQ, Was He the Smartest Person Ever?

What was Galileo's IQ and was he smart?

What Was Galileo’s IQ, Was He the Smartest Person Ever?

Key Points

  • Galileo is often considered the father of modern astronomy and a leader of the scientific revolution.
  • Experts believe that Galileo had an IQ score of about 185, although it has never been proven.
  • Galileo’s observant nature, love for learning, curiosity, and dedication to his craft contributed to his success.
  • The Vatican had a problem with Galileo because he argued that the solar system didn’t revolve around Earth, but he had supporters who defended him.

Galileo is often considered the father of modern astronomy. He was a mathematician, engineer, and astronomer, and is best associated as a leader of the scientific revolution. He’s been considered one of the smartest people of all time, but what was Galileo’s IQ? And was he truly a genius?

What Was Galileo’s IQ
Galileo Galilei was a famous mathematician, engineer, philosopher, and astronomer.

©Michael Avory/Shutterstock.com

What Was Galileo’s IQ?

So, what was Galileo’s IQ? Experts believe that Galileo had an IQ score of about 185. This has never been proven because there were no IQ tests during the time that he was alive. However, it’s safe to say that he was incredibly smart and an important person and leader during the scientific revolution.

Quick Facts

Full Name
Galileo di Vincenzo Bonaiuti de’ Galilei
February 15, 1564
January 8, 1642
Net Worth
Estimated to be between $1 million and $5 million at the time of his death.
Vincenzo Gamba, Maria Celeste, Livia Galilei
Place of Birth
Pisa, Italy
Fields of Expertise
Astronomy, Physics, Philosophy, Mathematics
University of Pisa, Florentine Academy, University of Padua
He discovered the laws of free fall and projectile motion. He discovered Jupiter’s largest moons Callisto, Europa, Ganymede, and Io, and the rings of Saturn.

What Made Galileo So Smart?

How was Galileo so smart, and how was he able to accomplish all that he did during his lifetime? Based on our research, here’s what made him so successful.

He Was Observant

Galileo looked up to many different philosophers and scientists, including Plato. Even so, he was quick to notice flaws in some of their statements and was constantly trying to improve science and prove theories correct or incorrect. Through his work, he created the scientific method, helped prove that the solar system centered on the Sun, and improved what is now considered the modern-day telescope. He accomplished all of these things simply because he noticed what needed improvement.

He Loved Learning New Skills

Galileo’s father was a famous musician who felt it was essential that his son be well-educated and a part of many extracurriculars. During Galileo’s childhood, he focused on science, math, and philosophy — but he also loved art and music.

He worked with many private tutors during his childhood and went to college to study medicine. However, his love for mathematics and science made him drop out of college, much to the dismay of his father.

Even though he never finished his college degree, he never stopped learning. He consistently worked on new skills, like learning to keep and tell time, and paint. But his main love was always for mathematics and philosophy, which he studied until his death.

He Stayed Curious

Galileo had many achievements, including being the creator of the scientific method. These achievements were because Galileo was incredibly curious, and he always wanted answers to his questions.

One of his biggest questions was how motion worked, and he pursued that curiosity for two decades. He used the scientific method and mathematics to show that Aristotle’s theories on motion were incorrect. Part of his experiment included dropping objects of different weights off of the Leaning Tower of Pisa. He determined what we now know as the law of falling bodies and turned the scientific world upside down simply because of his curiosity.

He Practiced His Craft

Galileo wasn’t afraid to learn more about his favorite subjects. In fact, he dropped out of college simply because he wasn’t learning about what he genuinely enjoyed. However, that didn’t stop him from learning more about his favorite topics and practicing his craft. Many experts note that he was always tinkering with something, including when he created the thermoscope (a predecessor of the modern thermometer).

Galileo spent his entire life perfecting and practicing his craft, and he wasn’t afraid to spend years on a question before he solved it. This is evident when you look at his work, including his discovery of Jupiter’s largest moons, his support and research on the Copernican system, and his creation of the thermoscope. That’s just to name a few!

how many moons does jupiter have
Galileo found four of Jupiter’s moons — Callisto, Europa, Ganymede, and Io


©Dotted Yeti/Shutterstock.com

What to Know About Galileo

Galileo was certainly a bright and perceptive astronomer and mathematician, and he lived a life filled with accomplishments.

  • Galileo was convicted of heresy because he supported the Copernican system, which stated that the solar system revolved around the sun. He was sentenced to house arrest until his death at the age of 77.
  • He worked with pendulums to try and improve accurate timekeeping. Near the end of his life, he created what’s known as the first pendulum clock.
  • After Galileo died, three of his fingers and one of his teeth were removed to be kept by one of his admirers. The body parts were lost over time and were found again in 2009. A private collector purchased them and they are now in various museums.
  • Some experts have noted that he may have become blind because he’d look directly into the sun with his telescope. Once he became blind, he hired an apprentice to be his eyes so he could continue to study his favorite topics.

Galileo in the News

The astronomer and mathematician was a popular name in the news during his time, and not for a good reason. The Vatican had a huge problem with him, mainly because he argued that the solar system didn’t revolve around Earth, which was a popular belief during his lifetime. He was correct, but the Church didn’t like being doubted.

However, Galileo had his own followers and admirers. In fact, when he was arrested and sentenced to life in prison, many of his supporters spoke up in his defense. Due to their support, he was able to get house arrest instead.

What Was Galileo’s IQ Conclusion

Even if he was a college dropout, Galileo was, simply put, a genius. We have quite a bit to thank him for, including how we currently practice experiments (using the scientific method) and how we view our solar system. While Galileo may not have been incredibly popular during his lifetime, he made significant discoveries that changed the course of science forever.

Summary Table

Key PointsDetails
Galileo’s IQEstimated to be around 185, although there were no IQ tests during his time.
What Made Galileo SmartHe was observant, loved learning new skills, stayed curious, and practiced his craft.
Galileo’s AchievementsCreated the scientific method, proved the solar system centered on the Sun, improved the modern-day telescope, discovered Jupiter’s largest moons, supported and researched the Copernican system, and created the thermoscope.
Galileo in the NewsGalileo was controversial during his time due to his belief that the solar system didn’t revolve around Earth. He was arrested and sentenced to life in prison, but due to his supporters, he was able to get house arrest instead.
ConclusionDespite being a college dropout, Galileo was a genius who made significant discoveries that changed the course of science forever.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Galileo Galilei IQ level?

With an IQ score thought to be at least 185, Galileo was considered a genius.

How high is a genius IQ?

If you have a score of at least 135, you are considered a genius.

What are signs of high IQ?

Some signs of a higher IQ include a great memory, knowledge that is easily obtained, reliability, easy decision-making, high creativity levels, and decent thinking skills, to name a few.

Does IQ increase with age?

Not necessarily. While you’ll continue to gain knowledge, your IQ will remain relatively the same across your lifespan.

Which scientist had the highest IQ?

As it stands, Evangelos Katsioulis, MD, is said to have the highest score that’s been tracked at 198. 

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