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Richard G. Rosner

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Rick Rosner
Richard G. Rosner

(1960-05-02) May 2, 1960 (age 64)
Occupation(s)Writer, aspiring reality television personality
Years active1987–present

Richard G. Rosner (born May 2, 1960) is an American television writer and reality television personality known for his alleged high intelligence test scores and his unusual career. There are alleged reports that he has achieved some of the highest scores ever recorded on IQ tests designed to measure exceptional intelligence.[1][2] He has become known for taking part in activities not usually associated with geniuses. Rosner claims that he has worked as a stripper, roller-skating waiter, bouncer, and nude model.[3][4][5][6][7][8] He has appeared in numerous documentaries and profiles about his activities and views. He has also appeared in both a Domino's Pizza commercial as well as one for Burger King and sued the quiz show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire over an allegedly flawed question he missed as a contestant in 2000.[9][10] He wrote and produced for quiz shows and several programs produced by Jimmy Kimmel, including The Man Show, Crank Yankers, and Jimmy Kimmel Live![11]

Early life and education


Rosner grew up in Boulder, Colorado.[12] He reportedly spent 10 years in high school, leaving in 1987.[13] Rosner began working on a theory of everything around age 21, and had returned to high school at age 26 in order to have "one of those desk-chair combinations" in a quiet place to think about how the theory might work, drawing a comparison in an interview to Albert Einstein's Swiss patent office.[14]

After he graduated from high school and attended University of Colorado, Boulder on and off, where he was a member of the Phi Kappa Tau Fraternity, Rosner appeared as a body builder in early choreography by Nancy Daw Kane.[15][16][17] As an aspiring media figure, he placed a number of ads with titles about physics in the entertainment trade journal Variety while attending college.[18][19] Rosner moved to New York City and wrote for MTV. When his wife accepted a job offer in California, they moved west.[12]

Although he is not practicing, Rosner identifies as Jewish.[20][21]

Intelligence tests


In 1985, he scored 44 of 48 on Ron Hoeflin's Mega Test, a test described in a history of IQ testing as "a nonstandardized test put out by an obscure group known as Mega, supposedly the world's most selective organization of geniuses."[22] A score of 44 of 48 represents an IQ of about 180. In 1991 he retook the test and achieved 47 of 48 (IQ 190). From 1991 to 1997, Rosner was editor of Noesis, the journal of the Mega Society. Rick completed Hoeflin's Titan Test and is the first individual to have answered all 48 questions correctly.[23]

No professionally designed and validated IQ test claims to distinguish test-takers at a one-in-a-million level of rarity of score. The standard score range of most currently normed IQ tests is from IQ 40 to IQ 160. A score of 160 corresponds to a rarity of about 1 person in 30,000 (leaving aside the issue of error of measurement common to all IQ tests), which falls short of the Mega Society's 1 in a million requirement.[24] IQ scores above this level are dubious (pending additional research), as there are insufficient normative cases upon which to base a statistically justified rank-ordering.[25][26] High IQ scores are less reliably reported than IQ scores nearer to the population median due to the inherently volatile assessment parameters that come from the limited data availability.[27] The Mega Test has been criticized by professional psychologists as improperly designed and scored, "nothing short of number pulverization".[28]

Taking after the clinical views and opinions of Dr. Howard Gardner, Rosner has argued that "the whole idea of IQ is a little wobbly" due to its attempt to measure linearly what he views as a property with many different aspects.[14]

Media activity and appearances


Rosner began writing for quiz shows in 1987 on the MTV series Remote Control. He then scripted a number of clip shows, countdowns, and outtake programs in the 1990s. Rosner's 2000 appearance on the quiz show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire led to a lawsuit over an allegedly flawed question he missed on the elevation of various country capitals. Rosner was asked, "What capital city is located at the highest altitude above sea level?" and given four answer choices: Mexico City, Quito, Bogota, and Kathmandu. Rosner answered Kathmandu; Quito is 8% higher.[29] Nonetheless, Rosner sued.[30][31][32][33][34][35][36] Rosner's demand letter to the show insisted that a different city, not on the list of four answer choices, was the world's highest capital. The show responded that that did not matter.

"After reading your letters and reviewing our research, we continue to believe that the answer to your $16,000 question is correct," headquarters responded. "Of the four capital cities given as answer choices, Quito is the highest and, thus, is the correct answer. As you may remember, the Official Rules for the competition, as well as the Contestant Release and Eligibility Form that you signed, provide that the decisions of the judges relating to all aspects of the game, including questions and answers, are final. Under these circumstances, we do not believe that a return trip to the show is warranted in your case.[37]

— Chotzinoff, Robin, Surrender, Regis (2000) (quoting response from Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?)

Rosner's letter-writing campaign and attempts to get brought back on the show led to his being profiled in the Errol Morris series First Person. Jimmy Kimmel later hired him as a writer, producer and occasional on-air talent.[11][38][39] In 2008, he appeared in a Domino's Pizza ad for a line of oven-baked sandwiches.[40] In April 2009 and August 2013, Rosner appeared on Bill Simmons' ESPN podcast The B.S. Report. In May 2009 Rosner was featured on an episode of A&E Television's Obsessed. The episode focused on his obsession with working out due to a fear of aging and dying.[41]


  1. ^ Morris, Errol, "One in a Million Trillion," First Person (2000)
  2. ^ Prager, Joshua Harris 'Let's See Now, Complain Is to Club As Order Takeout Is to Restaurant,' The Wall Street Journal, Wednesday, 14 May 1997
  3. ^ Morris, Scot. "Games". Omni magazine January 1986.
  4. ^ Anderson, Jack; Van Atta, Dale (28 November 1988). "Is the new Chief of Staff too smart?". The Deseret News.: "Tied with Sununu were… Solomon Golomb… and Rick Rosner, a University of Colorado physics student who made his living as a roller skating waiter and a stripper. Rosner's method of undressing was to set his clothes on fire."
  5. ^ Chotzinoff, Robin (20–26 November 1985). "Is This the Smartest Man in America?". Westword. Includes photos of Rosner stripping with paper suit on fire.
  6. ^ Rosner, Rick. When Good IQs Happen to Bad People. Noesis 57, January 1991. Retrieved on 23 December 2007.
  7. ^ Moore, Michael; Markoe, Merrill (1994). "Talk Show". TV Nation.
  8. ^ Rivera, Geraldo. "People with an X-Rated Past", Geraldo, December 1989.
  9. ^ Bronstad, Amanda (7 June 2004). "Fine Print Stymies game show writer's try in front of camera". Los Angeles Business Journal. Retrieved 13 May 2014.(subscription required)
  10. ^ Jennings, Ken. Brainiac: Adventures in the Curious, Competitive, Compulsive World of Trivia Buffs, New York: Villard, pp. 110–111. ISBN 1-4000-6445-7
  11. ^ a b Gay, Jason (15 December 2002). Kimmel Hires Jilted Contestant. New York Observer
  12. ^ a b Krier, Beth Ann (28 July 1992). "As Whiz Kids Grow Up; Do Exceptional Children Become Exceptional Adults? Not Always. Sometimes There Are A Few Bumps Along The Way". Los Angeles Times.
  13. ^ "My genius friend Rick Rosner went to high school for 10 years". 9 August 2014.
  14. ^ a b "TV Writer Podcast 088 - 2nd Smartest in the World Rick Rosner (Jimmy Kimmel)". YouTube. 2 November 2015. Archived from the original on 21 December 2021. Retrieved 5 September 2016. Rosner discusses these matters in the first half of the interview.
  15. ^ Gibson, Daryl. "'Genius' launches trial flight of scientific theory," Boulder Daily Camera, 5 April 1986.
  16. ^ Smith, L.L. "Letter to the Editor," Colorado Daily, 10 April 1986.
  17. ^ Jones, Tao. "Worse than you suspected: Boy wonder takes to skies with theory of the Bland Universe", Colorado Daily, 4 April 1986.
  18. ^ Rosner, Rick. Advertisements, Daily Variety: "Gravitation is relativistically attenuated", 22 January 1986, p. 10; "Mach's Principle applies to gravitation", 26 January 1986, p. 30; "In a universe containing only two objects, the objects wouldn't be gravitationally attracted to each other", 2 February 2007.
  19. ^ Zaslow, Jeffrey (29 May 1990). Aspiring actors place hopes in classified ads. Chicago Sun-Times
  20. ^ @dumbassgenius (14 February 2017). "Register" (Tweet). Retrieved 26 August 2023 – via Twitter.
  21. ^ "Highest IQ - Rick Rosner Part 1 - YouTube". www.youtube.com. Archived from the original on 21 December 2021. Retrieved 4 December 2020.
  22. ^ Castles, Elaine E. (6 June 2012). Inventing Intelligence. ABC-CLIO. p. 22. ISBN 978-1-4408-0338-3. Retrieved 31 August 2013. [Test taken by reported record-holder was] a nonstandardized test put out by an obscure group known as Mega, supposedly the world's most selective organization of geniuses.
  23. ^ "Rick Rosner's Science-Based Longevity - Life Extension". www.lifeextension.com. Retrieved 19 August 2021.
  24. ^ Hunt, Earl (2011). Human Intelligence. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 8. ISBN 978-0-521-70781-7.
  25. ^ Perleth, Christoph; Schatz, Tanja; Mönks, Franz J. (2000). "Early Identification of High Ability". In Heller, Kurt A.; Mönks, Franz J.; Sternberg, Robert J.; et al. (eds.). International Handbook of Giftedness and Talent (2nd ed.). Amsterdam: Pergamon. p. 301. ISBN 978-0-08-043796-5. norm tables that provide you with such extreme values are constructed on the basis of random extrapolation and smoothing but not on the basis of empirical data of representative samples.
  26. ^ Urbina, Susana (2011). "Chapter 2: Tests of Intelligence". In Sternberg, Robert J.; Kaufman, Scott Barry (eds.). The Cambridge Handbook of Intelligence. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 20–38. ISBN 978-0-521-73911-5. [Curve-fitting] is just one of the reasons to be suspicious of reported IQ scores much higher than 160
  27. ^ Lohman, David F.; Foley Nicpon, Megan (2012). "Chapter 12: Ability Testing & Talent Identification" (PDF). In Hunsaker, Scott (ed.). Identification: The Theory and Practice of Identifying Students for Gifted and Talented Education Services. Waco (TX): Prufrock. pp. 287–386. ISBN 978-1-931280-17-4. Archived from the original (PDF) on 15 March 2016. Retrieved 22 September 2013. The concerns associated with SEMs [standard errors of measurement] are actually substantially worse for scores at the extremes of the distribution, especially when scores approach the maximum possible on a test . . . when students answer most of the items correctly. In these cases, errors of measurement for scale scores will increase substantially at the extremes of the distribution. Commonly the SEM is from two to four times larger for very high scores than for scores near the mean (Lord, 1980).
  28. ^ Carlson, Roger D. (1991). Keyser, Daniel J.; Sweetland, Richard C. (eds.). Test Critique: The Mega Test (Volume VIII ed.). PRO-ED. pp. 431–435. ISBN 0-89079-254-2. Although the approach that Hoeflin takes is interesting, it violates good psychometric principles by overinterpreting the weak data of a self-selected sample.
  29. ^ The Daily Show's Moment of Zen for July 12, 2001: Rosner loses on Millionaire
  30. ^ Byrd, Veronica (30 July 2001). "Passages: Legal Matters". People magazine. p. 67.
  31. ^ Fonseca, Nicholas (27 July 2001). "Monitor: Courts". Entertainment Weekly. p. 14.
  32. ^ Costas, Bob (4 December 2001). "Richard Rosner, former contestant on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, and his attorney, Rene Tovar, discuss the reasons they are filing a lawsuit, claiming that a question was unfair". The Today Show, NBC News.. Transcript available at Lexis-Nexis (subscription required).
  33. ^ Chotzinoff, Robin (2 November 2000). "Surrender, Regis". Westword. Retrieved 23 December 2007.
  34. ^ Li, David K. (22 December 2001). "Hey Judge, Thanks a Million". New York Post.. "ABC Says Wrong Is Right on Quiz Show". New York Post. 28 November 2001.
  35. ^ Rosner, Rick. "Ex-Contestant Wants to Question the Answers", Los Angeles Times, 2 February 2001.
  36. ^ Stouffer, Linda; Vercammen, Paul. "Who Wants to Sue a Millionaire?" CNN Live at Daybreak, CNN, 12 July 2001. Transcript available at Lexis-Nexis (subscription required).
  37. ^ Chotzinoff, Robin (2 November 2000). "Surrender, Regis". Westword. Retrieved 23 December 2007.
  38. ^ Crank Yankers. "Helen Higgins has her Film Developed," Crank Yankers, episode 2.17, 28 October 2003. In this episode, photos are shown of a puppet's head on Rosner's body.
  39. ^ Jimmy Kimmel Live! "Rick Week", 2003; "Will Rick Eat It?", episode 255, 10 March 2004 (In episode 264, 23 March 2004, Rosner ate a dirty hot dog.); "So You Think You Can Dance Naked on top of a Fifth Grader, Asshole?" (Fox promo parody), episode 917, 6 September 2007.
  40. ^ Bialyk, Carl (11 March 2009). In Ads, 1 Out of 5 Stats Is Bogus* Wall Street Journal
  41. ^ Alan Prendergast (9 June 2009). "Rick Rosner's latest gig: obsessed, in treatment". Denver Westword. Archived from the original on 28 May 2010. Retrieved 15 June 2009.

Further reading