Christopher Langan

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Christopher Langan
Chris and his wife, Gina Langan, in March 2006.
Born (1952-03-25) March 25, 1952 (age 65)
San Francisco, California, U.S.
Residence Princeton, Missouri, U.S.
Nationality American
Alma mater Reed College, Montana State University
Occupation Intellectual, independent researcher, scholar
Known for Man with one of the highest known IQs
Home town Bozeman, Montana, U.S.
Spouse(s) Dr. Gina Langan (m. ?)

Christopher Michael Langan (born March 25, 1952) is an American whose IQ was reportedly believed to be "between 190 and 210".[1] In Morris 2001, Langan relates that he took what was billed as "the world's most difficult IQ test" in Omni magazine, and he gives his IQ as "somewhere between 190 and 210". He has been described as "the smartest man in America" as well as "the smartest man in the world" by some journalists.[2] Langan has developed a "theory of the relationship between mind and reality" which he calls the "Cognitive-Theoretic Model of the Universe" (CTMU).[3][4][5]

Early life[edit]

Chris Langan (left) with a relative in the 1950s.

Langan was born in San Francisco, California, in 1952. He spent most of his early life in Montana, with his mother and three brothers. His mother was the daughter of a wealthy shipping executive but was cut off from her family's fortune. Christopher did not grow up with his biological father, as the man died or disappeared before Christopher was born. Because Christopher's father was absent, the family struggled to escape poverty.[6]

During elementary school, Langan was repeatedly skipped ahead and was tormented by his peers. Langan claims he was brutally beaten by his stepfather, Jack Langan. Jack Langan denies this claim. Chris Langan recalled that his "stepfather constantly asked [Chris] difficult questions, and when I'd give him correct answers to those questions, he'd bat me in the mouth or something of that nature to let me know he didn't appreciate a guy trying to be smarter than he was."[7] At the age of twelve years, Langan began weight training, and forcibly ended the abuse by throwing his stepfather out of the house when he was fourteen, and telling him never to return.[8]

Langan says he spent the last years of high school mostly in independent study, teaching himself "advanced math, physics, philosophy, Latin, and Greek".[4] He earned a perfect score on the SAT (pre-1995 scale) despite taking a nap during the test.[7] Langan attended Reed College and later Montana State University, but faced with financial and transportation problems, and believing that he could teach his professors more than they could teach him, he dropped out.[4]

Later life[edit]

Langan took a string of labor-intensive jobs for some time, and by his mid-40s had been a construction worker, cowboy, Forest Service Ranger, farmhand, and, for over twenty years, a bouncer on Long Island.

Langan was also approached and contracted by Disney Research[9] and he previously worked for Virtual Logistix, a technology company.[3] According to company records, Langan "produced original research in various fields of mathematics, including graph theory, algebra, advanced logic and model theory, abstract computation theory and the theory of computational intractability, artificial intelligence, physics and cosmology".[10]

Langan said he developed a "double-life strategy": on one side a regular guy, doing his job and exchanging pleasantries, and on the other side coming home to perform equations in his head, working in isolation on his Cognitive-Theoretic Model of the Universe (CTMU).[4]

Intellectual pursuits[edit]


In 1999, Langan and others formed a non-profit corporation called the "Mega Foundation" to "create and implement programs that aid in the development of severely gifted individuals and their ideas" (the organization's designation for those with IQs of 164 or above).[3][7]

Langan told Muscle Magazine that "you cannot describe the universe completely with any accuracy unless you're willing to admit that it's both physical and mental in nature"[11] and that the CTMU "explains the connection between mind and reality, therefore the presence of cognition and universe in the same phrase".[12] He calls his proposal "a true 'Theory of Everything', a cross between John Archibald Wheeler's 'Participatory Universe' and Stephen Hawking's 'Imaginary Time' theory of cosmology."[4] In conjunction with his ideas, Langan has claimed: "You can prove the existence of God, the soul and an afterlife, using mathematics."[7]

Robert Seitz, a former NASA Executive and Mega Foundation director, stated that "every physicist is inundated with amateurs' ‘Theories of Everything,' but Chris' CTMU is very, very different".[13] On the flip side, the CTMU theory has been criticized for its use of convoluted language. Langan's use of terms he has invented (or redefined) has made his exposition obscure. Some suggest this is deliberate.[14]

Chris Langan grooms a horse at his ranch in Missouri.

Asked about creationism, Langan has said:

"I believe in the theory of evolution, but I believe as well in the allegorical truth of creation theory. In other words, I believe that evolution, including the principle of natural selection, is one of the tools used by God to create mankind. Mankind is then a participant in the creation of the universe itself, so that we have a closed loop. I believe that there is a level on which science and religious metaphor are mutually compatible."[12]

In a 2014 radio interview, Langan said that he has worked on the P versus NP problem and thinks he can prove that P does not equal NP.[15]

In March 2017, Langan's article "An Introduction to Mathematical Metaphysics" was published in Cosmos and History: The Journal of Natural and Social Philosophy, Vol 13, No 2 (2017).[16]

Personal life[edit]

In 2004, Langan moved with his wife Gina (née LoSasso), a clinical neuropsychologist, to northern Missouri, where he owns and operates a horse ranch and undertakes activities for his Foundation.[17]

Langan does not belong to any religious denomination, explaining that he "can't afford to let [his] logical approach to theology be prejudiced by religious dogma".[12]

Chris Langan in popular culture[edit]


  1. ^ For the claimed figure of 195, see Sager 1999, McFadden 1999, Fowler 2000, Wigmore 2000, O'Connell 2001, Brabham 2001, and Quain 2001.
  2. ^ For the phrase "the smartest man in America," see Sager 1999, Fowler 2000, Wigmore 2000, and Brabham 2001. O'Connell 2001 (in the standfirst) uses "the smartest man in the world," and Quain 2001 (on the cover) uses "the Smartest Man Alive."
  3. ^ a b c Quain, John R. (October 14, 2001). "Wise Guy" (Interview with Christopher Langan and Science Works in Mysterious Ways. Popular Science.
  4. ^ a b c d e Sager, Mike (November 1999). "The Smartest Man in America". Esquire. Archived from the original on 2001-04-21. 
  5. ^ Preston, Ray (November 15, 2006).
  6. ^ Sager 1999; Brabham 2001.
  7. ^ a b c d e McFadden, Cynthia. (December 9, 1999). "The Smart Guy" and "An Official Genius". 20/20.
  8. ^ Wigmore, Barry. (February 7, 2000). "Einstein's brain, King Kong's body". The Times.
  9. ^ Muscle & Fitness, May 2001
  10. ^ From Vilox Advisory Board webpage, archived on 2001-05-03
  11. ^ O'Connell, Jeff. (May 2001). "Mister Universe". Muscle & Fitness.
  12. ^ a b c " Chat Transcript". ABC News. December 10, 1999. Archived from the original on 2000-08-16. Retrieved 2012-06-09. 
  13. ^ Brabham, Dennis (2001-08-20). "The Smart Guy / With an IQ that's off the charts and a regular-guy lifestyle, Chris Langan is not your average genius". Newsday. Retrieved 2015-09-02. 
  14. ^ "Another Crank comes to visit: The Cognitive Theoretic Model of the Universe". 
  15. ^ "World's Smartest Man Speaks Out!" The People Speak, July 15, 2014. BBS Radio.
  16. ^ Langan, Christopher (2017-03-26). "An Introduction to Mathematical Metaphysics". Cosmos and History: The Journal of Natural and Social Philosophy. 13 (2): 313–330. ISSN 1832-9101. 
  17. ^ Preston, Ray (November 15, 2006). "Meet the Smartest Man in America". Archived June 7, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  18. ^ Smartest Man In America Lives In Missouri, KMBC-TV 2007.
  19. ^[unreliable source?]
  20. ^ Morris, Errol. (August 14, 2001). "The Smartest Man in the World". First Person.
  21. ^ Preston, Ray. (November 15, 2006). "Meet the Smartest Man in America"
  22. ^[unreliable source?]
  23. ^ "BBC One - Make Me..., Make Me Smart". Retrieved 2015-09-02. 
  24. ^[unreliable source?]
  25. ^ "Popular Science | Wise Guy". Archived from the original on October 16, 2001. Retrieved 2015-09-02. 
  26. ^ "Image: MUTitle.jpg, (584 × 382 px)". Retrieved 2015-09-02. 
  27. ^ Dennis Brabham (21 August 2001). "The Smart Guy – Chris Langan is not your average genius" (PDF). Retrieved 2015-09-02. 

External links[edit]