‘The Big Bang Theory’: Is Amy Farrah Fowler Actually Smarter Than Sheldon?

Amy Farrah Fowler was obviously Sheldon Cooper’s perfect match. Love blossomed in the unlikeliest of places when Howard Wolowitz and Raj Koothrappali decided to craft an online dating profile for Sheldon. Over the years, the couple had a few ups and downs, but it is mostly agreed upon that Sheldon and Amy where The Big Bang Theory couple with the best chance of long-term survival. Amy managed to challenge Sheldon, and she may have even been smarter than him if you consider all different types of intelligence.

Sheldon was a child prodigy, but Amy was a genius, too

Sheldon was said to have an IQ of 187. For reference, Albert Einstein was believed to have an IQ of 160, according to Live Science.  So did Stephen Hawking.  Sheldon was clearly bright, but Amy was no slouch, either. While her IQ score is never stated, she is believed to be smarter than Leonard, who confirmed that he had an IQ of 173. If that’s true, then Amy’s IQ was less than one standard deviation away from Sheldon’s.

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Sheldon did have a leg up on the rest of his friends, including his wife. He claimed to have an eidetic memory. Eidetic memory is an incredibly rare ability to create a mental image of a page or photograph after a single exposure. It’s been argued that true eidetic (or photographic) memories don’t exist, although it’s hotly debated. Neither Amy nor Leonard have ever suggested they share the ability.

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When you consider raw intelligence, Sheldon has Amy beat. Amy, however, likely comes in second within the core friendship group. Raj is believed to be the third smartest, while Leonard is considered the fourth most intelligent of his friends.

Amy ran circles around Sheldon when it came to interpersonal intelligence

It’s hard to argue that Sheldon wasn’t the most intellectually gifted member of the group. After all, he was a child prodigy, a claim to fame that no one else in the core friend group has. He also graduated college at just 11, and by all accounts, possesses a mathematical and analytical mind that really can’t be competed against. That said, Sheldon was severely lacking when it came to interpersonal intelligence.

Amy Farrah Fowler (Mayim Bialik)
Amy Farrah Fowler (Mayim Bialik) | Michael Yarish/CBS via Getty Images

Sheldon was unable to read a room, understand the people around him, or empathize with others. Amy, albeit, socially-awkward at the start of her time on The Big Bang Theory, ends up proving herself to be pretty adept when it came to interpersonal relationships.

Not only did she eventually win over the group, but she managed Sheldon with expert precision. She actually managed to guide him towards good decisions. She did it so expertly he didn’t even seem to notice. The ability to do so indicates Amy has some pretty impressive interpersonal skills, although she came across as a bit odd sometimes.

In the end, the couple are smartest together

Sheldon might have the superior intellect, but it’s clear he needed someone willing to help him navigate a world he didn’t really understand. Having someone to help him was what allowed him to truly shine, and Amy was the person helping him. Not only was she instrumental in him achieve his dream, but she was more than happy to help him whenever he stumbled socially. When all was said and done, Amy taught Sheldon how to be more human, which rounded out his intelligence.

Sheldon’s superior intellect seemingly pushed Amy to excel, as well. While she wasn’t exactly competing against her love interest, it seems she was desperate to keep up with him. That type of healthy competition can motivate a brilliant mind to work even harder. It looks like Sheldon may have helped Amy unlock her true potential, too.