Posted by: Prospector PJ16 SEP 2009
Royal Pharmaceutical Society branch meetings not stimulating enough? Want to spend time with other intelligent people engaged in intellectual discussion and debate? If you score at the 98th percentile on a standard IQ (intelligence quotient) test you could always join Mensa, the high IQ society. What better way to spend an evening than engaging in the Mensan aim of “identifying and fostering human intelligence for the benefit of humanity”?
Mensa was formed in Oxford in 1946 by Roland Berrill, an Australian barrister, and Lancelot Ware, a British scientist and lawyer. The group’s name is formed from two Latin words: mens, or “mind” and mensa, or “table”, the idea being that the group is a round-table society of minds. British Mensa now has around 24,000 members, while there are more than 105,000 Mensans around the world.
The only requirement to join Mensa is a high IQ. Age is certainly no barrier, with members’ ages ranging from two-and-a-half years to 103. Its mixed bag of famous members include C5 inventor Sir Clive Sinclair, fix-it king Sir Jimmy Saville, science fiction writer Isaac Asimov and actress Geena Davis.
If you do not qualify for Mensa now, you probably never will. But it is not too late to give your children an IQ boost, since scores have been linked to nutrition and musical training in childhood.
IQ scores generally have increased at an average rate of around three IQ points per decade in most parts of the world, in a phenomenon known as the “Flynn effect”. This has been linked to improved nutrition, smaller families, better education and greater environmental complexity.
But if you think you might qualify for an even more selective group of brainiacs, there is always the Prometheus Society, which claims fewer than 100 very clever members. To join this list your IQ must be high enough to put you in the limited company of one in 30,000 people. These people are so clever (or so good at IQ tests) that standard tests struggle to rate their brainpower. So founder member Ronald Hoeflin developed high range tests with a ceiling at the one in a million level.
The Prometheus Society was founded in 1982, named after the mythological Greek Titan who stole fire from Zeus and gave it to the mortals. He was championed by humankind for his wily intelligence. The motto of the society that bears his name is Ignis Aurum Probat, or ‘fire tests gold’