Greatest female geniuses

Descartes teaching Christina (1649)
A photo of Rene Descartes teaching Christina Alexandra (1649), Queen of Sweden, aka "Minerva of the North", as she was known, about mechanical philosophy.
In genius studies, greatest female geniuses refer to the smartest woman, retrospectively gauged, of all time. [N1]

Female geniuses, as a rule, are rarer then male geniuses. Statistically, about 3.8% of geniuses are female, based on th the fact that among the top 1000 geniuses, at the c.720 geniuses ranked level (Jan 2019), only 28 are female (see: version 8). This trend, generally, has to do with the fact that, in evolutionary psychology terms, the mate selection trait "intelligence" is selected for in men, just as "beauty" is selected for in women, both of which are characteristic traits produced by the sexual selection mechanisms, and that beauty and brains tend to be found, on average, inversely proportional to each other (see: Beckhap's law).
“It is enough to make the general statement that there is not a single woman in the history of thought, not even the most manlike, who can be truthfully compared with men of fifth or sixth-rate genius, for instance with Ruckert as a poet, Van Dyck as a painter, or Schleiermacher as a philosopher.”
Otto Weininger (1903), Sex and Character (pg. 69)

This, moreover, to the consternation of many, is not a "sexist" or "misogynistic" rule, but rather a repercussion that humans exist in an air-based system environment, wherein eggs are raised intrauterine.

In aquatic systems, e.g. rivers, lakes, and oceans, the rolls are reversed: females are more intelligent and larger, per reason that because of the liquid environment, eggs can be laid on the ocean floor and males can sit on them and hatch them. Whatever the case, historically, there have been notable female geniuses.
The following is a work-in-progress ranking of the greatest female geniuses of all time, generally being the female subset of the top 1000 geniuses page: [N1]

IQ estimatesDescription



 IQ_O \,=180-200
IQ SS=195
 IQ_O \,=170-210
 IQ_O \,=170
Hypatia (astrolabe)[RGM:123|1,500+] (GFG:1) (CR:38) Greek philosopher, physicist, and astronomer;

“Fables should be taught as fables, myths as myths, and miracles as poetic fancies. To teach superstitions as truth is a most terrible thing. The child mind accepts and believes them, and only through great pain and perhaps tragedy can he or she be in after years relieved of them. The reason for this is that a superstition is so intangible a thing that you cannot get at it to refute it.”

one of fabled "last persons to know everything"; only known female universal genius; noted early irreligionist; credited with the invention of the astrolabe (adjacent); is rumored that to explain the seasonal variations of the apparent size of the sun, and conceived of elliptical orbit heliocentrism; Kepler; Bertrand Russel and Voltaire praised her; stoned to death; IQ:170 (Ѻ).

Emilie Chatelet 75Emilie Chatelet

[RGM:649|1,500+] (CR:20) French philosopher and physicist; eponym: "smartest woman ever"; combined Isaac Newton’s definition of energy (E=mv) with Gottfried Leibniz’ definition of energy (E=mv²) with Willem Gravesande’s brass balls clay surface impact experiments to synthesize the first version of the conservation of energy (vis viva into vis mortua); mistress of Voltaire (IQ=195); had immense library comparable to the Paris academy of science; ran the biggest research lab in France; very highly ranked "magnitude genius" (prolific output in short time); downgrade from 190|#41 to 185|#48 (Feb 2018) per reason that intuition deems her less of a genius than Hypatia; downgrade to 180|#119 after reading Julien la Mettrie's summary of her physics (Apr 2018).

CurieMarie Curie
(1867-1934) ↓
IQ SS=205
 IQ_O \,=200
 IQ_B \,=180
[RGM:13|1,500+] (Murray 4000:14|P) (CR:29) Polish-born French physicist and chemist; noted for work in radioactivity; downgraded ↓ from 185|#76 to 180|#120 (Feb 2018) per reason (a) she seems to be more of a “over-rated genius”, e.g. her husband Pierre Curie, a pioneer in crystallography, magnetism, piezoelectricity and radioactivity, has a higher Murray ranking (Murray 4000:10|P), but is hardly famous in genius ranking circles [RGM:N/N|1,330+]; if it was a man who did the same work she did, namely: help develop the theory of radioactivity (with another researcher) and discover two elements (polonium and radium), he would likely not get so-easily ranked in top 100 genius level, nor get ranked with purported IQ 200+ range estimates (e.g. it was Henri Becquerel who ACTUALLY discovered radioactivity) and (b) she is not known (compare: Hypatia) as a big question addressing genius.

Eliot 75George Eliot
 IQ_B \,=185
 IQ_O \,=160
[RGM:212|1,500+] (GFG:4) (SWE:3) (CR:34) English realism philosopher and novelist; noted, in human chemistry, for her 1872 novel Middlemarch, described by those including Martin Amis and Julian Barnes as the “greatest novel” in the English language, a novel based on Johann Goethe’s 1809 physical chemistry based novella Elective Affinities (Die Wahlverwandtschaften); first-slating: 180|#108 (c.2016).

Margaret Fuller 75Margaret Fuller

American forced prodigy turned journalist, editor, critic, women’s rights advocate, and transcendentalism and Goethean philosopher;

“Romantic attractions result from unalterable chemical affinities and should be obeyed regardless of marital ties.”
— Margaret Fuller (c.1835), paraphrase of her view, by Megan Marshall, following her 1832 reading of Goethe’s Elective Affinities

“I now know all the people worth knowing in America, and I find no intellect comparable to my own.”
— Margaret Fuller (c.1840), Publication (Ѻ)

Praised by Edgar Poe and Ralph Emerson as being an intellect among intellects.

Mary Shelley 75Mary Shelley

[RGM:N/A|1,500+] (EPD:0M) (GFG:6) (CR:47) English philosopher and novelist; noted for her 1818 fictional character “Vicktor Frankenstein”, who discovers the “principle of life” (see: life principle), and thereby reanimates, revives, or brings to life a dead corpse with electricity, i.e. creates laboratory produced life; for her 1839 discussions of the atheist-based "Church of Elective Affinities", in which she alluded to have married her husband Percy Shelley; top “female genius” (Ѻ); an top 100 (#49) Women of History (Ѻ); first-slating: #225 (below Paine) (Jun 2017).

Elizabeth I 75Elizabeth I
 IQ_B \,=180 (Cattell 1000:116) [RGM:488|1,500+] Queen of England (reign: 1558 to 1603); educated by renowned scholar, Roger Ascham; as a student, she studied Greek, Latin, rhetoric, and philosophy; she mastered all of these subjects; when she came to power, she transformed the English court into a center for poets, writers, musicians, and scholars; connections to literary figures such as William Shakespeare, Edmund Spenser, and Christopher Marlowe; Brought England into her zenith as a world power; down-grade from 175|#292 to 170|#354 per RGM ranking and via comparison to leaders such as Marcus Aurelius, Alexander the Great, and Frederick the Great (Jan 2019).

Emmy Noether 75Emmy Noether

[RGM:542|1,500+] (Siegfried 10:1) German mathematical physicist;

“In the judgement of the most competent living mathematicians, Fraulein Noether was the most significant creative mathematical genius thus far produced since the higher education of women began.”
Albert Einstein (1935), “Letter to New York Times” (Ѻ)

Noted for her 1918 “Noether’s theorem”, which showed, based on group theory, that every invariance or symmetry property of a physical law corresponds a conservation principle; developed in her effort to help Einstein and David Hilbert understand how the conservation of energy integrates into a general theory of relativity; Hmolpedia ranked (2011) as top 7 smartest women ever; first slating: 170|#416 (Jan 2019).

Mary Somerville 75Mary Somerville

[RGM:911|1,500+] Scottish mathematician, astronomer, and science writer, aka “queen of 19th-century science” (Ѻ); mathematics tutor to Ada Lovelace; first-slating: 180|#143 (c.2017); downgraded to: 165|#441 (Jan 2019).

Germaine Stael 75Germaine Stael
 IQ_C \,=180 (Cattell 1000:164) [RGM:N/A|1,500+] (CR:5) French-born German writer; only child of Swiss-born French statesman and financier Jacques Necker (1732-1804) (IQ:155|#553) (Cattell 1000:235) and Swiss-born Suzanne Curchod (Suzanne Necker), noted for her who hostessing of Rue de la Chaussée-d'Antin one of the most popular salons of Paris; her mother, at an early age, tried to make her into a prodigy of sorts, piling the books on her; in 1803, she was banned from France by Napoleon, for publishing her controversial novel Delphine; after which she went to German and became part of Goethe’s circle and an Elective Affinities admirer; down-graded from 175|#239 to 165|#442 (Jan 2019).

Sofia KovalevskayaSofia Kovalevskaya
 IQ_R  \,=170
 IQ_D  \,=156
Russian mathematician; noted for contributions to analysis, partial differential equations, and mechanics; as an infant, owing to a wallpaper shortage, her nursery had been covered with pages from her father’s old calculus text, supposedly she “gazed for hours at those pages, craving to understand them”, reports John Lienhard; at age 19, she entered University of Heidelberg, studying mathematics under Hermann Helmholtz, Gustav Kirchoff, and Robert Bunsen; by age 25, finished her doctorate on partial differential equations, along with a paper on the dynamics of Saturn's rings, and one on elliptic integrals, at the University of Göttingen, graduating summa c*m laude; she thereby became the first woman in Europe to hold that degree (Ѻ) (Ѻ); Dduring an invite to one of George Elliot’s Sunday salons, she met Herbert Spencer and was led into a debate, at Eliot's instigation, on "woman's capacity for abstract thought".

Charlotte Bronte 75Charlotte Bronte
 IQ_C \,=165 (Cattell 1000:721) [RGM:N/A|1,500+] English novelist and poet; at age 7, when asked by her father to name “the best book in the world”, answered “the Bible”, and in response to the followup query: “and the next best?” replied “the Book of Nature” (Ѻ); oft-ranked “greatest literary author ever” (next to Ayn Rand) according to 2012 street poll; noted for genius quotes (Ѻ).

Lise Meitner 75Lise Meitner

(Cropper 30:3/NP) Austrian-born Swedish physicist; noted for her 1938 solution to the mystery of uranium fission; first female physics professor in Germany; the second women ever to get a PhD; she was dubbed by Einstein “our Marie Curie” or the "German Marie Curie" (Ѻ); in 2012, she was speculatively ranked on the “smartest woman ever” page as #15 with an IQ of 175; first-slated in top 1000 genius rankings at 165|#475 (Nov 2018).

Mary Wollstonecraft 75Mary Wollstonecraft

(Cattell 1000:851) [RGM:528|1,320+] (Murray 4000:N/A) (Stokes 100:75) English philosopher, wife of William Godwin, mother of Mary Shelley (wife of Percy Shelley); best known for: A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792), wherein she argues that women are not naturally inferior to men, but appear to be only because they lack education, that both men and women should be treated as rational beings, and imagines a social order founded on reason; first-slating: 160|#433 (Feb 2018).

Virginia Woolf 75Virginia Woolf


Ada Lovelace 75Ada Lovelace

[RGM:434|1,500+] English mathematician, writer, and computer programmer; daughter of George Byron; from an early age, owing to her mother’s idea that education would root out any insanity associated with her father’s side, she was taught mathematics and science from some of the world’s leading scholars, including Mary Somerville; in 1842, wrote the world’s first computer program, an algorithm for calculating a sequence of Bernoulli numbers with Charles Baggage’s analytical engine; possibly [?] an over-sold genius ↓ or overrated genius, per reason that Babbage, supposedly, already had did the programming 6 to 7 years before Lovelace (Ѻ); first-draft gauged at 145-165 (c.2015).

Dorothy Murdock 75Dorothy Murdock

[RGM:N/A|1,320+] American religio-mythologist, with specialty in astrotheology; from 1999 to 2009, her books on Christ myth theory and Moses myth theory, etc., were intellectual staples, in viral films, such as Zeitgeist, in bring about a 21st century awakening on the long latent “Jesus = Osiris-Horus” connection; first-slating: 160|#435 (Feb 2018).

Ayn Rand 75Ayn Rand

[RGM:456|1,500+] (CR:32) Russian-born American “vulgar philosopher” (Solomon, 1981), extreme atheist and activist;

“If devotion to truth is the hallmark of morality, then there is no greater, nobler, more heroic form of devotion than the act of a man who assumes the responsibility of thinking. The alleged short-cut to knowledge, which is faith, is only a short-circuit destroying the mind.”
— Ayn Rand (1957), Atlas Shrugged (Ѻ)

noted for her applied atheism philosophy of objectivism, which argues that because each of us is born into a godless world “alone”, each of us therefore is “justified in pursuing our own self-interests”, much of which is outlined in her 1957 magnum opus Atlas Shrugged; downgrade (↓) for her so-called proof of the existence of free will and possible downgrade for her fierce criticisms of David Hume, Immanuel Kant, and Friedrich Nietzsche (Ѻ); see also: her 1972 “Letter to Boris Spassky” (Ѻ) on Bobby Fischer; first-draft gauged at 140-175 (c.2015).

Hildegard von Bingen 75Hildegard Bingen
(1098-1179) ↑↑

[RGM:209|1,500+] [GMG:14] German Benedictine abbess, writer, composer, philosopher, Christian mystic, visionary, and polymath; a smartest woman ever (Ѻ) (IQ:150+) candidate; first-slating: IQ:160 (c.2015).

Harriet MartineauHarriet Martineau

(Cattell 1000:893) [RGM:N/A|1,310+] (Murray 4000:N/A) (Scott 50:22) (FA:99) British sociologist; Made of the first calls for a secular children's bible (see: children's atheism bible).

Cleopatra 75 newCleopatra

[RGM:413|1,500+] Egyptian diplomat, naval commander, linguist, and medical author; Into her teens, she became fluent in Greek, Hebrew, Arabic, Persian, and Egyptian, and was the only queen in 300 years to learn the local tongue; last active ruler of the Ptolemaic Kingdom of Egypt; colloquially ranked as 2nd ranked smartest woman of all time” (Thims, c.2011); Marc Anthony gave over 200,000 scrolls to her for inclusion in the Alexandrian library (Ѻ); was compared to George Sand as “another woman of royal soul (Howe, 1861) (Ѻ); IQ crudely gauged at 180 (c.2011) (Ѻ)(Ѻ); first-slating: 160|#572 (Jun 2019).

George Sand 75George Sand
 IQ_C \,=160
 IQ_O \,=150
(Cattell 1000:173) [RGM:N/A|1,310+] French novelist, memoirist, and socialist;

“We cannot tear out a single page of our life, but we can throw the whole book in the fire.”

Before 17, she had read Plutarch, Livy, Herodotus, Tacitus, and Rousseau, whose philosophy she was particularly devoted; influential to: Victor Hugo, Fyodor Dostoevsky, and Walt Whitman; IQ:150 (Ѻ).

Madame Sevigne 75Madame Sevigne
 IQ_C \,=160 (Cattell 1000:222) [RGM:N/A|1,310+] French epistolary writer; gained posthumous fame for her 1,120 letters, addressed to her daughter over the course of 30 years, note for their wit and vividness; influential to Voltaire (Ѻ).

Maria Montessori 75Maria Montessori
 IQ_B \,=157 [RGM:N/A|1,500+] Italian physician and educator; best known for the philosophy of education, aka Montessori school, that bears her name, and her writing on scientific pedagogy.

Elizabeth Gaskell 75Elizabeth Gaskell
 IQ_C \,=160 (Cattell 1000:N/A) [RGM:N/A|1,310+] English novelist, biographer, and short story writer; down-graded from: 160|#550 to 155|#602 per relative non-notability, as compared to other GFG (Jan 2019).

Martha Graham 75Martha Graham
 IQ_B \,=148[RGM:834|1,500+] American dance choreographer; inspiration to Madonna, who stated upon meeting her: “she absolutely lived up to all my expectations with her wit, intelligence, and nerve-wracking imperiousness”.

Hannah Arendt 75Hannah Arendt

[RGM:1,015|1,330+] (HCR:25) (Perry 80:7|Li) German-born American political theorist and philosopher; student of Martin Heidegger, who was deeply influenced by Nietzsche; first-slating: 140|#620 (Mar 2018).

Sylvia Plath 75Sylvia Plath
 IQ_O \,=140+[RGM:1,220|1,500+] American poet, novelist, and short-story writer; quote on: “In her last three years of high school, the overachieving Sylvia continued to outclass everyone (IQ test scores ranked her as a genius).”


The following are newly-found potential top 100 female geniuses candidates, not yet ranked, such as above, per se:

IQ estimates

Margaret Cavendish 75Margaret Cavendish

● Battigelli, Anna. (2015). Margaret Cavendish and the Exiles of the Mind. University of Kentucky Press.

Christina Alexandra 75Christina Alexandra

Katharine Hepburn

American film actress;

“I’m an atheist, and that’s it. I believe there’s nothing we can know except that we should be kind to each other and do what we can for each other.”
— Katherine Hepburn (1991), “Interview”, Ladies Home Journal, Oct [1]

IMDb ranked #1 actress of all time (Ѻ); ranked at #3 best actress in film history (Ѻ).


The following are related quotes:

“Every woman is worth more when she learns to read.”
— Ramon Llull (c.1300) (Ѻ)

“My dear boy, no woman is a genius. Women are a decorative sex. They never have anything to say, but they say it charmingly. Women represent the triumph of matter over mind, just as men represent the triumph of mind over morals.”
— Oscar Wilde (1890), The Picture of Dorian Gray (Ѻ)

“A life spent in the routine of science need not destroy the attractive human element of a woman’s nature.”
— Annie Cannon (c.1910)

N1. This page is an upgrade to the now-archived IQ:150+ | Smartest woman ever (2011) page [itself was a spinoff of the female portion of the IQ: 200+ page], which began to have inconsistency issues, in respect to the tendency to over-rank female geniuses, when on an isolated page, as compared to the gender-blind ranking method in the top 1000 geniuses article.

1. Hecht, Jennifer M. (2003). Doubt: A History: The Great Doubters and Their Legacy of Innovation from Socrates and Jesus to Thomas (pgs. 483). HarperOne.

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