‘The Big Bang Theory’: Leonard Hofstadter’s IQ Was Subtly Revealed

Most fans know that Sheldon Cooper was a genius and that his friends were incredibly smart, too, but the writing team only seemed to go out of their way to share Sheldon’s IQ on The Big Bang Theory. Sheldon’s pathological need to remind his friends about his intellect made it pretty easy to forget how smart everyone else was. If you look closely, though, the writers revealed Leonard Hofstadter’s IQ in a subtly way early on, and let’s say he’s almost as smart as Sheldon.

Leonard was accomplished just like Sheldon

While fans largely think of Sheldon as the smartest member of his friend group, he wasn’t the only one who accomplished a lot at a young age. Leonard was accomplished, too. Sure, he didn’t graduate from college at 14, like Sheldon, but he did earn his Ph.D. at an exceptionally young age. Leonard once mentioned that he completed his Ph.D. at 24. It may not sound young, but Leonard was years ahead of his peers.

Johnny Galecki as Leoanrd Hofstadter and Jim Parsons as Sheldon Cooper in ‘The Big Bang Theory’ | Cliff Lipson/CBS via Getty Images

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According to CBS News, it takes the average person just over eight years to complete a Ph.D. If one were to graduate from an undergraduate program at 22, that means they would be at least 30 when they finished their Ph.D. Leonard was also received plenty of acclaim for his work.

Sheldon revealed Leonard’s IQ in relation to his own in the pilot of The Big Bang Theory

While Leonard’s intellect was proven repeatedly during the show’s 12 seasons, his actual IQ was revealed in the pilot episode. During the pilot, Sheldon and Leonard attempt to retrieve Penny’s TV from her ex-boyfriend. They thwarted when he refused to buzz them in. Sheldon remarked that the pair had a combined IQ of 360, thus should be able to figure out a simple door.

Sheldon Cooper with Beverly Hofstadter
Sheldon Cooper with Beverly Hofstadter | Sonja Flemming/CBS via Getty Images

In later episodes, Sheldon mentioned that he had an IQ of 187, although he insisted his intellect couldnt be accurately measured. Reddit users point out that if Sheldon’s IQ is 187, then Leonard must tout an IQ of 173. An IQ of 173 is considered genius level.

Where Raj Koothrappali and Howard Wolowitz just as smart as Leonard?

Leonard may not have been as smart as Sheldon when you consider IQs, but he would be regarded as more intelligent than 99% of the population. According to Business Insider, the average IQ score is about 100. Only one in 1.7 million people have an IQ of 173. Leonard and Sheldon’s intellect is incredibly rare, so were Howard Wolowitz and Raj Koothrappali were just as smart? 

Raj was just as educated as Leonard and Sheldon. Based on the acclaim of his work in astrophysics, he was likely just as smart as Leonard. His ability to showcase his intelligence was greatly diminished by his social anxiety and inability to speak to women, though.

Leonard, Howard and Raj stand in the hallway in 'The Big Bang Theory'
Leonard Hofstadter, Howard Wolowitz and Raj Koothrappali | Sonja Flemming/CBS via Getty Images

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Howard was routinely mocked because he lacked a doctorate. Instead of earning a Ph.D., Howard held a master’s degree in engineering. Sheldon considered Howard’s education subpar, but did that mean he was less intelligent than his friends? The fact that he didn’t hold a doctorate didn’t mean he wasn’t as smart. His propensity to make mistakes on the job did, though. Still, Howard likely had a genius-level IQ when you considered his admission to MIT and his work with NASA.