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Eleven-year-old Yusuf Shah is being hailed as a genius after he made the highest possible score, 162, on a Mensa intelligence test. His performance beats those of physicists Stephen Hawking and Albert Einstein, who were both estimated to have IQs around 160.
Mensa, an international society open to high-IQ individuals, confirmed Shah’s score to NBC News, saying he placed in the top 2% of the population and “has great potential.” Anyone who places in that 98th percentile is invited to join the organization.
According to Shah’s county newspaper, the Yorkshire Evening Post, his parents encouraged him to take the test with no specific preparation.
“Everyone at school thinks I am very smart and I have always wanted to know if I was in the top two per cent of the people who take the test,” the 11-year-old, who lives in the northern English city of Leeds, told the Post. The young mathematician is currently focused on applying to secondary schools, his family said, but in his free time he enjoys solving Rubik’s Cubes and sudokus.
“It feels special to have a certificate for me and about me,” he said. “I also never thought I would be on the news.”
Shah’s father, Irfan, told the Post that when his son was 7, he discovered a mathematical phenomenon that he couldn’t explain. The family contacted a University of Cambridge math professor who provided Shah with a reasoning, and the principle has since been known in their household as “Yusuf’s Square Rule.”
But Shah’s parents said they’re teaching him to nurture his work ethic and social life in addition to his natural abilities.
“I still tell him that ‘your dad is still smarter than you,’” Shah’s father told the Post. “We take it all lightheartedly. Even if you are talented, you have to be the hardest worker.”
Sakshi Venkatraman is a reporter for NBC Asian America.
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