When Croats make international headlines, in most cases we’re talking about athletes or entrepreneurs. There’s nothing wrong with that and our sports stars and businessmen always make us proud, but it’s nice to see some appreciation for knowledge and education every once in while. That’s why it’s a delightful surprise seeing three Croats in a select crowd of 30 smartest people in the world, according to a list from SuperScholar.
The list includes only the brilliant minds, scientists and academics of the present day, featuring geniuses like Stephen Hawking and renowned chess masters such as Garry Kasparov and Judit Polgár. The three Croats on the list have an impressive background in natural sciences, and include two mathematicians and one physicist.
No.23 on the list is Mislav Predavec, a mathematics professor from Zagreb. Born in 1967, he has a reported IQ of 190 and teaches mathematics at the Zagreb Health School, a secondary school for applied health sciences. He’s been running the trading company Preminis since 1989, and founded an IQ society called GenerIQ in 2002. The World Genius Directory ranked him as the third smartest person in the world in 2012.
A couple of places higher on the list, at no.18 there’s Ivan Ivec, another mathematician with an IQ of 174. After obtaining a Ph.D. in mathematics, he went on to work at A. G. Matoš Gymnasium in Samobor. Ivec is also an IQ test specialist and runs a website dedicated to high IQ testing, covering the range from 120 to 190. He collaborates with Predavec on designing tests, as he considers the existing IQ tests created by psychologists to be too rigid and time-restricted.
Finally, at no.14, there’s Nikola Poljak, a Croatian physicist with an IQ of 183. His impressive resume includes a Ph.D. from the University of Zagreb and working as assistant professor and research fellow at three international institutions: Department of Physics at the Faculty of Science in Zagreb, CERN in Geneva and the Brookhaven National Laboratory in New York. Poljak has also worked on scientific projects for the Ministry of Science and the Agency for Mobility and EU Programmes.
It’s not clear what criteria was used to rank the best minds of today, as their achievements are often comparable in significance and they’re not ranked according to their IQ scores. Nevertheless, a particular order doesn’t seem that important once you see fellow Croats make up 10% of a list of the smartest people alive.