Who is Kim Ung-yong?

Learned something new about this guy from my native country. He scored a 210 on the IQ test.

From Wikipedia,

Kim Ung-Yong (born March 7, 1963) is a Korean former child prodigy. He scored a 210 IQ on the Stanford-Binet test according to the Guinness Book of World Records. He began to learn differential calculus at the age of three. He was able to read and write in Japanese, Korean, German, and English by his fourth birthday. At the age of four, on November 2, 1967, he solved complicated differential and integral calculus problems on Japanese television, demonstrated his proficiency in German, English, Japanese, and Korean, and composed poetry.

Kim was a guest student of physics at Hanyang University from the age of three until he was six.[1]. At the age of seven he was invited to the United States by NASA.[1]. He finished his university studies, eventually getting a Ph.D in physics at Colorado State University [1] before he was 15. In 1974, during his university studies, he began his research work at NASA[1] and continued this work until his return to Korea in 1978.

When he returned to Korea, he decided to switch from physics to civil engineering and eventually received a doctorate in that field. Kim was offered the chance to study at the most prestigious universities in Korea, but instead chose to attend a provincial university.

As of 2007 he also serves as adjunct faculty at Chungbuk National University.

I still wonder why Koreans tend to be smart. Four languages by his fourth birthday? Shit and that makes it no excuse for me not to learn how to read/write Korean. At least I know two languages, ASL and English. :-)


23 Comments, Comment or Ping

  1. If he’s really smart, he should be famous by inventing something that will alter the world condition or rather, show any kind of talent to entertain people which is part of being intelligent. He reached above 40 years old so why does that name seems to be not familiar to me since I was born and reached teens. Einstein who had an IQ result of 160 is more known to me due to his scientific theories and discoveries so why Kim Ung Yong can’t beat him in popularity aspect. Kim Ung Yong, prove your intelligence by doing something spectacular. He should get embarrassed in being obscured in spite of having high level of intelligence! LOL !

  2. natech

    SecretPersonality, maybe he did something that’s not published in English, thus it’s unknown to you. Intelligence has nothing to do with productivity, btw.

  3. Ojas

    He was “Invited” to the united stats by NASA at the age of what, 7? There’s a reason they call the special areas of research “Top Secret”.

  4. gareth

    MKy oldest brother had an IQ of 160 when he was 12 and works in the kitchen of a hotel. Thats a disgrace, but i think he has just given up long ago.

  5. LebaneseMan

    he thinks he is that smart ..
    smartness isnt only by education , but how you think , you escape problems and how you deal with each situation and outcome , rather than a social IQ. perhaps he is just another nerd :P

  6. Kim

    Who are you all to try to define quintessential intelligence? There is no true definition of the subject, it’s an infinite substance trying to compressed and measured by finite people. Only the willing can create
    conducive ideas for whatever reasons. Wake up, the beans are right in front of you.

  7. WILL

    To Secret:

    Intelligence comes in diffrent forms.

    To Gareth: I heard that 75% of MENSA members work as blue collar workers.

    To Lebanese: He doesn’t just think it, he knows it. Thats what makes him smart.

  8. Well

    This guy had a unhappy childhood. He lived a life that wasn’t his while he was a child. Nobody cared about his happiness or his will but only using his abilites.I read an interview from Korean Magazin. While he was working in NASA, he didn’t know why he was doing it and hated his life at that time. He had no social life. So he decided to go back to Korea and live a life he wants to live not the life other people wants him to live.That’s why he refused to enter the prestige university in Korea and chosed the University that was far from people’s attention. He wanted to live a normal life he missed. He had no friends and social life before he got into this univeristy. First thing he did in this University was joing as much club organizations he could. And this helped him to feel part of the community and make him friends. I read from an interview that he is now very happy about his life.

  9. natech

    Oh cool, thanks for the comment.

  10. Vinay

    To me, if a person is extremely creative, that is a MUCH larger factor in how intelligent they are. For example, my friend scored a 35 on his ACT hung over, but that isn’t what makes him intelligent. It’s the fact that he dropped out of his AP chemistry class because he felt it was “holding him back” (his words) and he took up a organic chemistry class at our local community college. After a month, he had mastered organic chemistry and was more proficient in organic mechanisms than the professor! He eventually was offered a TA job at the advanced organic chemistry class there, but he turned it down. Now the reason this makes him intelligent is because he is very creative. He imagines the shape of molecules as soon as he hears their names. He tells me he can imagine them hitting off of each other in reactions and combining. This is very phenomenal to me because it takes me about 2 minutes to imagine this, and my AP chemistry teacher told me I was the smartest AP chemistry student, other than my friend, that she had ever had. (I received a 100 in her class without trying very much.) But I still do not believe I am intelligent because I am not nearly as creative as my friend. Once I am able to harness this “creativity”, I will truly become intelligent. Secretpersonality is right. What’s the point of being very smart, but not having the creativity to create something worth-while? I believe we should all work to becoming more creative, rather than scoring higher on standardized tests. Then we should use this creativity to further the world: That’s intelligence.

  11. natech

    Vinay, you have a very valid point on being creative. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  12. Cap

    You can have the highest iq ever, but that doesn’t mean that you’ll be the most famous. Rich people are cleverer by ‘using’ this genius people around that make the rich become richer!!

  13. albert miller

    Maybe he switched to civil engineering in order to problem solve in practical ways. Whatever he comes up with will be controlled by business, anyway. Nicola Tesla sound familiar?


    do you know if he ever took a standardized test?
    im doing a debate case over it and i want to prove that you can be a success even if you didnt take one.

  15. natech

    I’m sure he did. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have gotten accepted into universities. Ofc, you can be a success without taking standardized tests—that’s a given but I like to think of it as a barometer of your general education/background and as an equalizer so that other students in rural towns will have a chance as much as others in “prestigious” schools to earn admission to universities and the future that lies thereafter.

  16. Return to Sender

    You realize that the IQ test is a measure of this “creativity” you write of Vinay? It basically calculates how fast one can logically deduce a pattern from a set of symbols given – it requires no previous knowledge (i.e. memorizing of information). In saying that your friend scored 35 on the ACT you showed the error in your line of thought: you assumed that all standardized tests are the same. For example, the highest IQ (190) in North America belongs to Chris Langan – a bar bouncer. Obviously he did not have the education to achieve such a score, nor did he study like a “nerd” as others on this board may suggest.
    IQ is a measure of natural ability yet people always say it means nothing because they are afraid of the limits imposed upon them or others they know if they score lowly on the test. I am not saying IQ is a predictor of future success, but to dismiss it as simply someone being a “nerd” or a bookworm is a gross misrepresentation of the facts.
    The man in the above article was speaking multiple languages by the time he was three years old. Does that sound like it could simply be done by reading books 24/7?

  17. Corey

    I just wanted to add that many commenters are mistaking “smart” for “intelligent”, where being smart indicates some practical education and intelligence is simply a function of bringing order out of apparent disorder, or assimilating information of which the terms are clearly defined. A degree of intelligence is a condition of being “smart”, but does not necessitate any outcome. As some have touched on, creativity is a greater indicator of significant breakthrough than mere intelligence. I can say from experience that having a very high level of intelligence can actually be frustrating as it becomes difficult to share with others the way your world works. As far as success in life goes, at least to the extent that we agree that success is a function of career etc., ambition and singlemindedness, or focus are far better indicators. The highly intelligent person not only has very bad study habits as school was easy as well as performance in jobs, but they are content living with their thoughts in many cases. I got a degree in philosophy and find that sitting around and contemplating our world is more gratifying and has the greater potential for challenges than other normalized activity. Granted, each person is unique and some with high intelligence have been socialized to function in the world better than others as well as the simple fact that desires for people of all iqs are varied, but I warn against making predictive assumptions of those who are very intelligent.

  18. hard to believe

    Someone forwarded me an email that said “ten most extraordinary people” and this guy was number 1. Yes, there were ten other like him, but some were like doing art at age 2 and had a singing career by age 3 etc. Call me stupid or crazy, but I just don’t buy all this. I mean all these people.. there is something else going on here.

    This guy learned calculus at age 3.. yeah, but did he understand it at that age?

    I just don’t buy claims like this: (by this guy and others)

    I mean come on.. Like one guy said above, why aren’t
    these people solving all the world’s problems and why
    are still in the mess we are in?

    I think you have to take this with a grain of salt.

    My question is, how does one go about finishing college by age
    10.. like Michael Kearney? So you’re telling me this guy took
    120 or so units which takes like 4 years to do.. so he
    started college at 6.. Which means he finished high school at 6..

  19. Chris

    He would have had the most messed up childhood in the world. How would someone that age deal with the stress, or work associated with university?

  20. IQofWhoCares

    You insecure bastards.

    Get over your narcissism and read this again. Your polemic about the significance of IQ testing is completely unnecessary. Let yourself be inspired by the prodigious childhood of this man.

  21. The IQ test measures only a very narrow slice of the abilities of a human being, and compares it to one’s age…e.g. a 5 year old who can process data like a 10 year old is said to have an IQ of 200. However, it doesn’t measure creativity, innate talents such as music, art, languages, nor does it measure drive, initiative, persistence or energy. Intelligence is like a CPU without its peripherals and drivers.

    We need better tests to measure the abilities that society needs most. A lot of it will be plain old willingness to work hard.

  22. Prudence L. Kuhn

    No one ever mentions that this young man’s parents were both born on May 23, 1934 at ll:00 a.m., Zone 9, Seoul, Korea. Isn’t that interesting?

  23. Keyonic Man

    An IQ of 210.Thats pretty impressive. Im not as smart, intelligent, or creative as this man but the way I see it is, people who are gifted like Kim Ung-yong, Einstein, Stephen Hawking, and many others you never hear about, is that there is always something to learn from them. Instead of questioning “intelligence” , or “creativity” why dont you embrace the idea that these people are amazing, and have a very cool and unique human ability. I have a really smart friend one of the smartest people I ever know, including his brother. I used to wonder how could people be so smart? Jeolous that I wasn’t. I learned that I cant think like that. That thats a very ignorant way to look at it. Instead, embrace it. I accept the idea that he is smart, and that if he becomes as famous as the three men listed before, I am honored and glad to have known him personally. (10th grader )

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