The Big Bang Theory: Every Character, Ranked By Intelligence

The Big Bang theory was all about a group of friends with intelligence, but who takes the top spot when it comes to smarts?

The Big Bang Theory centers itself around the incredible minds of Dr. Sheldon Cooper, Dr. Leonard Hofstadter, Dr. Rajesh Koothrappali, and Howard Wolowitz. With the foursome working in separate departments at Caltech, viewers learned more about science’s magical ways through engineering, astrophysics, String Theory, and experimental physics. Along the way, viewers met the fab four’s wives (Penny, Bernadette, and Amy) and co-workers at the university.


Penny Never Graduated College, But Don’t Count Her Out On Street Smarts

Kaley Cuoco being worried

When fans first meet Penny, she tells the guys that she’s an aspiring actress but in the meantime, she’s a waitress at the Cheesecake Factory. When she starts casually dating Leonard, viewers learn that she attempted community college but dropped out. High school was her highest form of education.

When she and Leonard get more serious, Penny starts taking classes at the local community college to try and get her degree. However, there wasn’t much talk of her classes once she quits acting, waitressing, and gets a cushy job in pharmaceutical sales. And while Penny has more common sense and street smarts than the rest of the group, her lack of education puts her last on the list.


Leslie Winkle Is The Female Counterpart To Leonard

female version of sheldon

Dr. Leslie Winkle is another co-worker of Sheldon, Leonard, Howard, and Raj’s over at Caltech. As an experimental physicist, she and Leonard had a lot in common (and even dated for a little). She pops up regularly throughout the show’s 12 seasons and has a spiteful relationship with Sheldon.

Thanks to Sheldon’s high IQ, he often thinks Leslie’s ideas are childish and dumb. Likewise, she thinks he’s a “dumbass” who’s full of himself. Leslie has a high (if not similar) IQ to the boys because they asked her to join their team to replace Sheldon in the Physics Bowl. Had it not been for Leslie, the boys wouldn’t be able to compete or win.


Howard Is The Only One Without His Doctorate (But His Skills Took Him To Space)

howard in space

Aside from Penny and Stuart, Howard is the only person in the group without his doctorate. He is constantly picked on for only having a master’s degree. Howard, however, is an engineer with a master’s degree from the prestigious MIT, so having a doctorate never intrigued him, especially after he got his job with NASA.

Howard goes head-to-head with Sheldon quite often and the two try to prove who’s smarter. When Sheldon begins teaching Howard in a class at Caltech, Howard surprisingly proved that he was just as smart as Sheldon when he wanted to be. Unfortunately, due to him not having his doctorate, he falls behind his best friends and wife, Bernadette.


Leonard Has An IQ Of 173

leonard being funny

In the pilot of The Big Bang Theory, viewers learn that Sheldon has an IQ of 187. It’s a fact that he loves to tell everyone, actually. He later says he and Leonard have a “combined IQ of 360,” which would mean Leonard’s IQ is around 173.

Regardless of his IQ, Sheldon wouldn’t live with someone who didn’t have a similar intelligence to him. He also graduated from an Ivy League university, Princeton, and has his Ph.D. He and Sheldon also put their minds together to create a new scientific theory that broke grounds in the field of science.


Raj’s Lack Of Romance Overpowered His Smarts

raj and his romance

Many believe that Leonard is smarter than Raj but Sheldon has noted time and time again how intelligent Raj can be. He was even recognized by People’s 30 under 30 in season 2. Sheldon subtly feels so strongly about the work that Raj was doing that he tried hiring him at the university so that he wouldn’t be deported back to India.

Being a graduate of Cambridge University with his doctorate in astrophysics, Raj helps the group in a different way than Sheldon, Leonard, and Howard do. He has even helped Sheldon work on Dark Matter. Raj may not get the same attention as the other three do, but he’s definitely up there in intelligence.


Amy Farrah Fowler Isn’t Far Behind Sheldon

amy being careful as always

As smart as Barry Kripke is, many believe Amy Farrah Folwer—Sheldon’s wife—is smarter. One fan even suggested that due to her position and intellect, her IQ would be between 180 and 185. Amy has her doctorate in neurobiology from Harvard, one of the world’s top universities.

She also gets the chance to work at Caltech to finish one of her studies, proving she’s an implemental and intelligence part of the science program. And let’s not forget without her help Sheldon wouldn’t have gotten that Nobel Prize he’s been gunning for since birth. Regarding her relationship with Sheldon, she seems to know him more than he knows himself. She plays small mental mind-games with him to get things to fall in favor. She’s so crafty with this that Sheldon doesn’t even know she’s doing it until it’s too late.


Sheldon Has An IQ Of 187

Sheldon the intelligent

It can’t be much of a surprise that Sheldon Cooper comes out as the smartest (intelligence-wise) in the group. He did attend college at the age of 11, after all. And although he’s missing crucial cues in understanding other human beings, he is the star protagonist in the show.

He’s a “wunderkind” who is so smart and odd that he’s the go-to person for everyone’s scientific problems, questions, and theories. The show is basically about Sheldon and his buddies which prompted a spinoff once The Big Bang Theory ended (Young Sheldon). While Sheldon can be rude and egotistical, he’ll always be “Shelly” to so many of the show’s deepest fans.

Read to find out about intelligence of the characters of The Big Bang Theory.

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