Kim Ung-yong

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Kim Ung-yong
Revised RomanizationGim Ung-yong
McCune–ReischauerKim Ung-yong

Kim Ung-Yong (Hangul: 김웅용; born March 8, 1962)[1] is a South Korean professor and former child prodigy, who claims to have held the Guinness World Records for the highest IQ, at 210.[2][3]


Early life[edit]

Kim Ung-yong was born on March 8, 1962, in Seoul, South Korea. His father was a physics professor and his mother was a medical professor.[1] By the time he was a year old, Kim had learned both the Korean alphabet and 1,000 Chinese characters by studying the Thousand Character Classic, a 6th-century Chinese poem.[4] At three years old, he was able to solve calculus problems, and he also published a best-selling book of his essays in English and German, as well as his calligraphy and illustrations.[1][unreliable source?] By the age of five, Kim could speak Korean, English, French, German and Japanese.[4] That year, he enrolled at Grant High School in Los Angeles after an article was published about him in Look magazine that caught the attention of the school.[5] He also audited a physics class at Hanyang University.[1]

Fuji TV appearance[edit]

At the age of five, Kim appeared on Fuji Television in Japan and shocked the audience by solving differential equations.[1] He appeared on Japanese television again on November 5, when he solved complicated differential and integral calculus problems.[citation needed]

NASA and education[edit]

A popular rumor was that when he was eight years old, Kim allegedly went to study nuclear physics at the University of Colorado, according to popular sources.[1] This, however, has been disputed and disproved from sources at the time. In the time of his college entrance exam's fitness section, where he gained much media attention, his father revealed to reporters that going to Japan to shoot the Fuji TV show was the "one and only time he went out of the country", and that the information of his Ph.D and master's degree progress in the States was "journalistic nonsense".[6] His statement that Kim did not leave at all is slightly detracted by the statement of Kim's mother, who stated that while he did "leave for a short moment to audit classes at the University of Colorado", he was returned immediately due to their facilities being "inadequate for the [Kim]'s genius", who was then homeschooled until his college entrance exam.[7] While the specifics may be blurred, it is clear that the evidence is in favor of his attendance to the University of Colorado being a misconstrued rumor.

He went to work for NASA[citation needed], where he worked for ten years. In 2010, Kim said of his years at NASA, "At that time, I led my life like a machine―I woke up, solved the daily assigned equation, ate, slept, and so forth. I really didn't know what I was doing, and I was lonely and had no friends."[8]

Upon returning to South Korea, Kim was required to formally complete South Korean schooling in order to get a job.[citation needed] He earned his elementary, middle, and high school degrees in just two years.[8] He later enrolled in Chungbuk National University where he studied civil engineering and earned a Ph.D.[1]


As of 2007, he served as adjunct faculty at Chungbuk National University. On March 14, 2014, he became associate professor in Shinhan University, and became vice president of North Kyeong-gi Development Research Center.

In 2010, Kim criticized the idea that he is a "failed genius" and additionally said, "Some think people with a high IQ can be omnipotent, but that's not true. Look at me, I don't have musical talent, nor am I excelling in sports. [...] Society should not judge anyone with unilateral standards – everyone has different learning levels, hopes, talents, and dreams and we should respect that."[9][10]


At the age of four, according to Kim's claim, he scored IQ 200 on a child IQ test normally given to seven-year-old. However, his claim has never been verified.[citation needed]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Song, Joo-hyun (2014-01-22). "IQ210 소년, 교수가 되다…김웅용 신한대학교 교양학부 교수" [Boy with 0 IQ Becomes Professor...Kim Ung-Yong, Professor of Liberal Arts at Shinhan University]. Joongboo Ilbo (in Korean). Retrieved 2018-01-10.
  2. ^ Yoon, Min-sik (2014-01-14). "Former child genius to become full-time university professor". The Korea Herald. Retrieved 2018-01-10.
  3. ^ McWhirter, Norris (1978). Guinness Book of World Records 1978. Bantam Books. pp. 49. ISBN 0553112554.
  4. ^ a b Yoon, Sa-rang (2016-08-04). "김웅용 교수 누구? '천재소년' 8세때 NASA 스카우트" [Who is Professor Kim Ung-yong? 'Genius boy' recruited by NASA at age 8]. Korea Sports Economy (in Korean). Retrieved 2018-01-10.
  5. ^ "Korean genius, 4, poses problem for high school". The Washington Post. Associated Press. 1967-04-10. p. B5: 1.
  6. ^ "The Appearance of Child Prodigy Kim Ung Yong as Entrance Examinee". Kyong Yang News. 1979-09-06. Retrieved 2019-06-19.
  7. ^ "Ordinary Child Prodigy Ung-Yong appears as Examinee for College Physical Entrance Exam". Dong-a Ilbo. 1979-06-09. Retrieved 2019-06-19.
  8. ^ a b Hwang, Jurie (2010-10-06). "Record IQ is just another talent". The Korea Herald. Retrieved 2018-01-10.
  9. ^ Hussaini, Ambreen Shehzad (September 28, 2013). "Intelligence quotient: The world's smartest people". Dawn. Retrieved September 10, 2017.
  10. ^ Jurie, Hwang (October 10, 2010). "Life in the high IQ lane". The Star. Retrieved September 10, 2017.